Citroen has stepped up a gear with the introduction of a new six-speed electronic gearbox system on 1.6HDi 110hp models of the popular C4. Combining the convenience of an automatic with the driver involvement of a manual, this practical system has impressive green credentials, which are further enhanced by the fitment on these models of the Company’s acclaimed Diesel Particulate Filter System.

This high-tech system does away with the need for a clutch pedal, and gives the driver the flexibility to choose between a manual mode, with paddleshift or lever gearchange, or an automatic mode. A Sport function is also available, while a hill-start assist feature contributes to improved safety and ease-of-use.

Thanks to the automated gear changes and clutch control, the electronic gearbox system returns fuel savings of up to 6% in comparison to the current models, ensuring a frugal 63mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of just 120g/km. In addition, these new 1.6HDi 110hp models are now fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter System (DPFS), helping reduce particle emissions to virtually immeasurable levels.

Using new electro-hydraulic actuators to ensure gentle and smooth gear shifts, the system can also recognise and automatically adapt to individual driving styles. In manual mode, the driver maintains full control of the gear change by using either the chrome plated, rally-style paddles that are set behind the steering wheel, or the sequential gear lever, which can be flicked forwards or backwards to change up or down.

For a more responsive driving style, a Sport function is available in both manual and automatic modes. Engaged by pressing the S button next to the gear lever, the Sport function speeds up the gear changes, from 0.8 to 0.4 seconds in manual mode and from 1.2 to 0.5 seconds in automatic mode – far quicker than a normal gear change process.

The hill-start assist makes it easier to start on slopes by preventing the car from rolling and giving the driver time to accelerate away safely and confidently. Activated on both uphill and downhill slopes with a gradient of 3% or higher, the control holds the car steady for two seconds when the brake is released.

Yet despite all the benefits offered by this advanced new electronic gearbox system, it costs just a few hundred pounds more than equivalent models with a conventional gearbox, whilst also adding the DPFS. Cashback-inclusive prices (valid throughout the month of July) start from just £14,390 for the 1.6HDi 110hp SX hatchback.