Citroën will launch its C4 BioFlex, the French car maker's first 'flexfuel' vehicle in Europe, and capable of running on petrol/bio ethanol blends of up to 85% (E85) , at next month's Frankfurt motor show.

The new variant, with an engine based on the standard 1.6i 16V petrol unit, emits 5% less CO2 on the EC combined test cycle and further reduces fuel consumption by using renewable energy. From field to wheel, emissions are reduced by up to 40%, the automaker claimed.

Though the new C4 is Citroën's first flexfuel model for sale on this side of the world, the automaker has already enjoyed success with the technology in South America where 65% of its sales in 2006 were alcohol-compatible vehicles, rising to 80% in the first half of 2007.

The car will be offered initially in Sweden and France, where more than 500 refuelling stations will be equipped to sell the E85 mix by the end of the year.

"Combined with the existing range of diesel Citroens and the company's commitment to launch hybrid models, the C4 BioFlex is further evidence of Citroën's commitment to reduce emissions," said a spokesman, noting that launch in the company's many other export markets world wide depends on local availability and pricing of ethanol fuel in each.

Right-hand drive models are not available immediately but are expected in production later.