11 October 2004

Citroën’s attempts to regain its reputation for individual styling have moved to the fore with the dramatic new C6. These sneak pictures reveal the range-topper in its final production form and show a close similarity to the Lignage concept, first seen at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show – the concept that was a clear attempt to create a successor for the 1955 Citroën DS.

Based on Citroën’s PF3 platform, the C6 will become the company’s flagship, occupying a market position between Peugeot’s 607 and larger four-doors such as Jaguar’s XJ8. Autocar’s sources have suggested that the car will be offered in V6 form only; because the car shares so many underpiinings with the C5/407, Citroen reckons it does not need to offer cheaper, four-cylinder models to subsidise cars further up the range. But with plans to build fewer than 25,000 C6s each year, maximum component-sharing is vital to make the economics of the C6 work.

The Lignage’s pillarless construction, and rear-hinged back doors, have been changed for a more conventional B-pillar with front-hinged rear doors, and the 3.0m wheelbase has been reduced. The glasshouse is also taller, but although the fundamentals of the original design remain, the end result is less pleasing.

The C6 will get the pick of Citroën’s current technical innovations, such as a head-up display, adaptive headlights, intelligent cruise control and a lane departure warning system. However, the stop-start fuel saving technology Citroën recently introduced on the C3 will remain the preserve of the marque’s smaller models. And Citroën’s trademark hydro-pneumatic suspension is thought to have been further refined to provide class-leading refinement and ride.

Underneath the bonnet, there will be a choice of either a 3.0-litre 210bhp petrol V6 or the 2.7-litre 200bhp twin-turbo diesel V6 used in the Jaguar S-type. Rumours of bespoke transmissions have been quashed by Citroën sources: neither Sensodrive, nor a version of the forthcoming clutchless manual gearbox will be available. Instead, a development of the six-speed sequential auto from the C5 V6 will be the sole offering.

Sales will start in the second half of 2005, with as few as 1500 cars allocated to the UK each year. Prices haven’t been confirmed, but will be lower than rival premium exectuive saloons.

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