Although it says 'by Loeb' under the door mirrors, I doubt Monsieur Leob had much to do with this C4 beyond agreeing the use of his name and depositing a large cheque in the Banque du France. If Loeb has his way, I'm sure the C4 by Loeb would be a full-bore Evo-muncher, with 300hp, 4WD and a sequential 7-speed transmission, just like the three-time, WRC-winning Citroen Xsara that this car commemorates. Instead, the marketing department did the development work and so all we get are some white wheels, a spoiler and some natty 'by Loeb' badges. The rest of the stickers you see in the pics were attached by the good folk at Citroen Ireland to help promote Rally Ireland, the possible location for Loeb's fourth WRC victory and the first for the new WRC C4 (although he tends to wrap things up earlier on account of his unflappable coolness).
The other point is, of course, that had Citroen actually built a fire-breathing supercar it could have 60 grand whereas this 1.6-litre C4 Coupe is priced rather attractively at €24,000 and includes a whole heap of toy including cruise control, climate control, a leather steering wheel, automatic wipers and lights, white 17-inch VTS-style alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and sports half-leather seats. It's also likely to be relatively insurable given that it's only got 110hp and needs a relaxed 10.3 seconds to reach 100km/h and without any other sporting modifications (no sports suspension, no fruity exhaust) it's rather civilised, too. Indeed, ignore the by Loeb stickers and the slightly shouty paint scheme and what you have here is an extremely good value, well-appointed and utterly pleasant three-door hatchback. It handles reasonably well (although a little less steering kickback would be nice), rides maturely, cruises quietly and is utterly practical, too.
Who knows, maybe the C4 was Loeb's idea after all? I know that away from the race car most competitive drivers like to do very dreary things grow corn and knit. Perhaps a calm, comfy, climate controlled ride home is all Loeb really craves after a hard day at the office.
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinde, 110 hp, 147 Nm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Acceleration: 0–100 km/h: 10.6 seconds
Top speed: 194 km/h
Economy: 7.1 L/100 km
CO2: 169 g/km
Boot Capacity: 320 litres
Weight: 1200 kg
Base Price: €23,995
Price as tested: €23,995
Verdict: Stickers aside, it's a thoroughly likeable package and great value, too. It's a tame way to commemorate three consecutive WRC wins but we like it.