Sleek Citroen concept really will be turned into the new Mondeo rival
11 September 2007

From Richard Bremner in Frankfurt

Citroen might yet make a big cabriolet like this, as it once did with old DS, but the C5 Airscape is a big clue to what the next C5, on sale next year, will look like.

In fact, exterior designer Domagoj Dukel revealed that from the waist down, this car is pretty much how the real thing will look, except that it will have four doors rather than this cabrio's pair, and the wheels won't look quite as polished. And it will, of course, have a fixed roof.

Conscious of the old C5's unfortunate looks from many angles (most, actually), Dukel says that this new car has been designed to look handsome from every view, and have the upmarket aura of premium German models.

Quite heavily sculpted panels – which are more expensive to press, apparently – a good stance and the now obligatory splashes of chrome help its case here. This is a relatively conservatively styled Citroen, says Dukel, because that's the nature of this market, but the Airscape features the long front and short rear overhangs that are an unusual feature of the bigger C6, and it will also have a concave rear window like that car.

Inside the emphasis is on quality of materials and finish, the architecture of this concept being identical to the production car, though this version is extensively leather-covered.

The fixed hub steering wheel of the C4 features, but the buttons have been rearranged for easier reach, and they are covered with single-skin membrane that makes the button packs look tidier.

A quite heavily sculpted dashboard, and similarly three-dimensional door trims, should make this C5's interior a considerably more pleasant place to be than the outgoing model's, though it's not as revolutionary as the C4's cabin, doing without that models central instrument pack. Instead, it has conventional dials incorporating message windows.

Citroen isn't saying whether the new C5 will be hatchback, like the last, but we suspect yes, though with styling to make it resemble a saloon. And the likelihood is that though Hydractive fluid suspension will be a feature, as before, lesser versions will be steel sprung.

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