A flagship Citroën C6 saloon will go on sale in spring 2005, marking the return of a big Citroën after the demise of the XM in 2000.
The luxury four-door is further evidence of the revival of Citroën and Peugeot, who will launch 26 new models by the end of 2006, by when Citroën’s entire range will have been replaced.
At 4.92m long, the new C6 will make an impressive top of the range model. In size it will be close to luxury saloons like the Jaguar XJ and Merc S-Class, but will feature more futuristic styling and an advanced digital dashboard to distinguish itself from established luxury marques.
Under the skin the C6 will be more familiar, employing a stretched version of the C5’s PF3 platform, the largest of the PSA Group’s three common platforms. Up to 60 per cent of the parts will be common, the percentage targeted by PSA to keep costs under control.
The C5’s Hydractive suspension, engines and gearboxes will also be adapted from the C5. In its fourth-generation, the smooth-riding gas/fluid suspension is expected to get further refinements to its electronic control to improve the ride/handling compromise.
But the C6’s dramatic styling, interior and digital instrument panel will all be unique.
The shape and architecture is closely based on the C6 Lignage concept (shown right) from Geneva 1999 and the work of advanced design chief Mark Lloyd.
But the design details, such as the distinctive new ‘twin-Chevron’ nose decoration and ‘boomerang’ headlights were created under Jean-Pierre Plouie, Citroën’s new design boss. These were previewed on the C-Airlounge concept (shown in gallery). The smoothly-curved nose and low-set air intake bring an aerodynamic theme to the C6, a feature of both the XM and the1970s flagship, the CX. Also unusual will be frameless doors, a detail on the DS.
The rear of the C6 is distinctive, too, and very close in design to the Lignage concept. Each rear pillar is a ‘flying buttress’, raked at a sharper angle than the rear screen.
The rear glass features intriguing design with a convex rear glass instead of the more usual concave. Because the convex glass curves towards the front of the C6, it creates a bigger boot lid, easing access to the boot. A similar detail featured on the CX.
The interior will also make a reference to the GS and CX with a digital dashboard that sweeps across the full width of the cabin. Featuring a head-up display that projects key information like road speed, engine revs, and fuel level onto the windscreen at the same level as the driver’s eye, it is a road safety item that keeps driver distraction to a minimum.
The engine line-up for the C6 will be headed by a 200bhp-plus version of the British-built 2.7-litre V6 turbo-diesel co-developed with Jaguar and Ford and built in Britain at Dagenham.
Mated to an automatic six-speed gearbox it should make the C6 an effortless cruiser with a strong touring range thanks to near 40mpg cruising consumption.
The V6 TD will be fitted with a particulate trap as standard, which will virtually eliminate tailpipe emissions of soot.
Citroën is expected to offer two four-cylinder diesel engines — a 2.2HDi with around 150bhp and a 2.0HDi with 136bhp, each featuring a particulate filter. While the petrol line-up will include a 210bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol and 140bhp 2.0-litre four cylinder.
The C6 will keep a sense of exclusivity missing from some of its competitors with maximum production of 24,000 a year. In its best year, the XM sold 6500 in the UK. It’s more likely that just a third of that number will be a comfortable level of C6 sales this time around.