Citroen C6 Review

9 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Citroen C6 Review
Citroen C6

Citroen’s Flagship Scores On Impact, Content, Comfort

But So Does BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus

Residuals Spell Death

“arguably, the safest car in the world”

“The back end lets the design down losing itself in a mess of uncertainty”

The Citroen C6 is a magnificent conglomeration of technology, luxury, comfort and cutting edge styling.

The Citroen C6 is yet another example of a manufacturer of mass market cars wasting billions of euros on egocentric attempts to sell cars in a sector where it is bound to fail.

Which of these categories will the C6 fall in?

On the plus side, Citroen can point to a history of involvement with magnificent, desirable cars which set new heights of technological attainment, and made buyers go weak at the knees with desire.

Think of the fabulous Citroen Light 15 Traction Avant in the 1930s which pioneered a monocoque body (no chassis) and front-wheel drive. Then there’s the DS, which in 1955 was aerodynamically way ahead of its time and gave us hydropneumatic suspension, disc brakes and swivelling headlights. The SM, a supercar joint venture with Italy’s Maserati, introduced speed sensitive steering, and the XM in the 1990s, just looked great.

Where’s the élan, quirkiness?

But since being taken over by Peugeot in 1975, after overreaching itself financially in the pursuit of perfection, Citroen has lost its reputation for the avant-garde. Most of its models now are, not surprisingly, derivatives of Peugeots. The élan and quirkiness has gone in the name of financial responsibility. Only the small-selling top of the range models still use the hydraulic, now called hydractive suspension.

Sales are hampered by a reputation for unreliability.

The C6 has a huge mountain to climb to match its rich heritage, not to mention the current competition.

The C6 grabs your attention. Its looks hit you right between the eyes. It is big. It is sleek, at least most of it is. The back end lets the design down as it seems to lose itself in a mess of uncertainty.

Inside it is huge and comfortable for all the passengers. You could get five in there and they’d be happy.

TGV seats

The rear seats are called TGVs because of their ability to slide back and forth electrically, like the famous French train’s seats. The rear passengers have a veto over the front passenger; you can push a button to make the front passenger seat move forward. Presumably, Jacques Chirac insisted on this when Citroen designers consulted him. (Cynics will say that the only willing buyer of a C6 will be whoever’s President of France.).

The rimless doors shut with more of a rattle than the expected, satisfying kerthunk.

The quality of the interior is good without being up to the standards of the cars to beat in this sector #150; BMW, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes and Jaguar. The fake wood on the facia was atrocious. The dials were not particularly easy to read, but that doesn’t matter because of the Head Up Display, which projects all the main information you need into a hologram at eye level.

This works splendidly, particularly in areas with many speed cameras and changing speed limits which normally necessitate much looking down and away from where you’re going. However in the short time with the car, I couldn’t find out how to check the amount of fuel remaining.

Wrong button

The C6’s ride promises much. When you turn on the ignition you feel the self-levelling suspension firm slightly, and settle back down when you turn it off. But on the road, the ride seemed floaty and thumpy, far from the magic carpet ride you would have expected from the hydractive suspension. This was probably because a button for a harsher, higher setting had been selected.

The sophistication and extent of technology can lead to unintended consequences. The suspension lowers as the car gathers speed to improve stability, and cut wind resistance and therefore fuel use. The steering was sharp and easy, belying the bigness of the car.

Citroen makes a big deal about the high specification included in the price. There are dual function Xenon directional headlights, a speed sensitive rear spoiler, electric parking brake, automatic windscreen wipers and lights, cruise control with speed limiter, and automatic dual zone air conditioning, all standard.

High specification

“Buyers of other similarly priced cars will struggle to match the C6’s standard equipment list without picking items from their options list and delving several thousand pounds further into the budget,” says Citroen.

According to Citroen, it will take almost £3,000 for an Audi A6 2.7 TDi S Multitronic to match the C6’s specification, about £6,500 for a BMW 530D SE, and £5,000 for a Mercedes E320 CDi Avantgarde.`

And this is where the battle for sales will take place.

Looks will play an important role, and according to Jason King, Forecasting Editor at residual value guru EurotaxGlass, the C6 scores well here.

Citroen C6

“The C6 is a fine car and a thing of beauty, a work of art almost. It shows that Citroen has returned to its roots and that design is passionate and at the forefront of their thinking. Is it enough in a car for this sector in the U.K.

Probably not at the price that Citroen has decided upon. A great spec and great looks still seems insufficient to overcome the baggage that the brand still carries with it,” said King.

Residual estimates spell doom

Sadly, in this price bracket, the chances don’t look great, according to King, and he estimates that the C6 Exclusive HDi, will be worth only 28 per cent of its purchase price after 3 years and 60,000 miles.

When you consider that EurotaxGlass estimates the residual value of a BMW 5 2.5 TD SE at 44 per cent, an Audi 2.7 TDi SE at 41 per cent, and a Mercedes E-class 3.0 E320 Elegance at 40 per cent after 3 years, you can see that the big Citroen is fighting a losing battle.

But if you do take the plunge, at least you will be safe.

Safety is a big bragging area for Citroen as it labels the C6 “arguably, the safest car in the world” because of its 5-star Euro NCAP rating for passenger protection and 4-star score for pedestrian safety.

Warning ripples

Other standard stuff includes the complete range of acronyms for computerised safety, tyre pressure warning, and active head restraints. The Lane Departure Warning System, which sends ripples of er warning through your rear, has been inherited from the C4, although on the C6 I drove, the ripples sometimes came on without apparent reason. The computer was just trying to please me, perhaps.

There are three trim levels – the C6, C6 Lignage and C6 Exclusive – and two engines #150; a 3.0i litre V6 petrol and a 2.7 HDi V6 diesel which also performs in the Range Rover Sport, Jaguar S and XJ, and Volvo S80. (Parent company Peugeot has a diesel engine joint venture with Ford, which owns Range Rover, Jaguar and Volvo).

The base model includes automatic dual zone air conditioning. Lignage adds HUD, electric seats with 5 options, dual-function Xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors. The Exclusive includes the Lane Departure thing, NavDrive, voice activation, and you can pay for the TGV seats.

Prices

Prices start at £29,545 (€43,400) and top out at £37,845 (€55,500) for the Exclusive.

Citroen says that it is not competing with the Germans because of the small numbers it will be selling #150; hundreds in Britain (1,200 a year apparently), not the thousands moved by Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. Citroen only expects to sell 20,000 C6s globally in a year. These few buyers will be won over by the C6’s “looks, its class leading levels of comfort and refinement and the company’s enviable reputation for creating iconic large cars,” said Citroen.

It will be helped by buyers’ boredom with the Teutonic product, says Citroen, a claim also echoed recently by Cadillac in its own uphill struggle to sell against the Germans.

Citroen C6
Citroen C6
Citroen C6
Citroen C6
Citroen C6
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