Driving in city centres can be pretty hellish. This isn’t something that’s lost on the world’s car manufacturers, which see painfully slow average speeds, a lack of parking and limited space on the road as a business opportunity, hence the arrival of cars like the Citroen Ami and its Opel Rocks-E cousin.
They’re ‘quadricycles’ rather than cars, but how they’re made and how they work is conventional enough. The ‘City Transformer’, however, is an exception, as it has a neat trick up its sleeve. Built by a company from Tel Aviv, Israel with the same name as the ‘car’, the City Transformer is just one metre wide. This makes the dinky vehicle nearly half a metre narrower than the Ami and even thinner than a Renault Twizy, but it can also widen its front and rear tracks by a whopping 40cm.
The wheel arches and sill sections push out from the sides of the car along with the wheels when the car is set to ‘handling’ mode. This gives a more stable-feeling, traditional car-like driving experience, while also still keeping the dimensions nice and compact.
If you’re only going to be doing very low speeds or are about to park, ‘city’ mode keeps the car in its narrowest form. Arranged thusly, you can fit four of these things in a single conventional car parking space, and it’s also possible to comfortably fit one in a motorbike space.
Inside there’s tandem-style seating for two accessed via scissor doors, so you can pretend to be in either a fighter jet and a Lamborghini. Or both - we won’t judge.
Propulsion comes from a pair of 7.5kW motors, which might not sound like much, but they do have under 500kg of car to punt along. As such, 0-31mph takes a respectably brief five seconds, while the top speed is 28mph in city mode and 56mph in handling mode. It has a range of up to 111 miles and once depleted, the battery can be juiced to 80 per cent in half an hour if using a fast charger.
You do pay handsomely for that clever design - even with an early pre-order discount, it’s €12,500 (£10,700), which is double what you pay for the Ami. Miss the boat, and you’re expected to shell out €16,000.