It’s sad to think that a whole generation will have grown up without the foggiest notion of how great Citroën once was.
If that sounds damning to the latest cars, note that I don’t mean great as in great for novices to buy and run on a budget or cheap enough for family men anxious to get a large and trendy new SUV to lease or buy. No, I mean great as in innovative, radical, revolutionary, intelligent, stylish, charming and just a little dashing, appealing to the intellect as well as to the heart, just as most of those post-war Citroëns were.
Alas, Brits have always flocked to big Citroëns like a politician to a lie-detector test, largely due to the questions over their complexity and the reliability and depreciation issues attached therein.
So hats off to those brave few who took the plunge and bought a Citroen C6 when they were new. In fact, in the land of the UK, despite it being on sale from 2005 to 2012, fewer than 1000 people did, which makes it something of a rarity and technically now a collector’s car.
But those who have knowledge of it – or better still bought one – can hug themselves in self-congratulatory glee, knowing that this sleek beauty can, thanks to its self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension (the latest Hydractive 3+ version with three automatic position modes), waft with the very best of them.
There’s a soft, pillowy ride with plenty of pitch and roll and a sybaritic interior of leathery goodness, with just enough of the traditional Citroën idiosyncrasies to keep it interesting and set it apart from German rivals.
Those sleek lines only echo those marvellous Citroëns of old, so well that you could almost make a case for buying this C6 just to park up in your drawing room to stare at. It’s an undeniably beautiful thing, long and low and, if you squint, it’s the natural successor to the iconoclastic DS and CX. It even has a concave rear screen like the CX to keep rain off at speed.