I saw the C6 Lignage concept car in 1999, it has been the most eagerly
awaited Citroen in my mind. Don't understand why the French car maker
took 6 long years to realize it, but the wait is worthwhile. Like a
stream in desert, the C6 refreshes our eyes. It is an interpretation of
both retro and futuristic. Retro is because it draws inspiration from
the traditional big Citroens, most obviously the CX (do you remember?).
The streamline shape, the ultra-long wheelbase, the hatchback-like
short tail, the convex rear window… all were the trademarks of CX. On
the other hand, the C6 looks every bit like a car of the future. Every
detail is interesting and elegantly executed. Look at those headlamps:
their shape look like irregular, but the position and angle of every
edge are actually thoughtfully designed to align with the
characteristic belt line, the bonnet edge and an additional line
towards the wheelarch. Incorporating with the headlamps are
jewel-effect indicator lamps which are no less elegant in design. Every
small detail contains big ideas behind. The more you examine the car,
the more you will be amazed. Trust me, this design will be a future
masterpiece. I am wondering which car could beat it to win next year's
AutoZine Design of the Year award….
In my opinion, the most beautiful part of
C6 is the tail. The way the short trunk lid recesses between the
wrap-around taillights and curves smoothly towards the bumper is so
delicious to eyes. Great idea, but execution is equally important -
Citroen uses chromed bumper top edge, large quarter windows, thin
C-pillars and a distinctive hook-shape taillights to enhance the
elegant feel. Turn to the side profile… I can go on praising it for
hours, but words can never express my wonder. How many times in your
life can see the birth of such a design masterpiece?
In the sea of German
cars, the C6 can easily stand out. We used to think Audi lead the
design field. Now beside the big Citroen, Audi A6 suddenly becomes
ordinary, almost raw. But you can also see the C6 is purely an
interpretation of luxury, while Audi, BMW and Mercedes also take care
of the sporty side.
Open the door, drop onto the soft leather
seats, you immediately realize the vast difference between French
luxury and German luxury. The French seats are big, soft and very
comfortable, in contrast to the hard and supportive German seats. The
cabin feels extraordinarily airy, thanks to large frameless windows and
low waist line. It is also very spacious, with plenty of headroom and a
limousine-like rear legroom, thanks to a 2900 mm wheelbase. Like its
predecessors CX and XM, C6 pushed its rear axle towards the tail to
enable an ultra-long wheelbase. This benefits cabin space as well as
Compare to exterior, the interior design is rather
disappointing, almost bland. The C6 does not employ the fixed hub
steering wheel as found in C4 because its design was already freeze.
However, it employs a simple digital speedometer like many old
Citroens, plus a new HUD (head up display) which project data at the
windscreen. Additionally, a navigator LCD locates on the top of the
center console, so ergonomics is excellent. If you have money, you can
equip the C6 very luxuriously, including independent rear climate
control and a multi-adjustable reclining
rear seat ("boss seat"). No doubt it will be a default choice for the
French president, government officials and businessmen. C6 won't be
cheap - it is not a poor man's Mercedes. If you don't have deep wallet,
PSA would persuade you to choose Peugeot 607 instead, which is the
economy class choice.
Mechanically, C6 is built on the 407
platform - not the rather old 607 platform. It shares the former's
sophisticated double-wishbones front and multi-link rear suspensions.
Nevertheless, Citroen did not forget its own hydropneumatic suspension
technology which has been famous for half a century. It replaced the
407's conventional coil springs and dampers with the C5's Hydractive 3
system, which uses spheres containing gas and liquid to vary the rate
of springing and damping to suit surfaces and driving style. On the
road, the big Citroen rides like a traditional French luxurious car.
The suspensions feel very very soft and supple. Although it rolls more
than the stiffly sprung German machines, the clever suspensions keep
the body motion tidy. Switch to Sport mode and you obtain markedly
improved body control without ruining the refined ride. The long
wheelbase also enhances that supple ride. This car has the most
comfortable ride of the class.
C6 is purely a luxurious car. Unlike many
Japanese and American executive cars, it does not pretend to be sporty.
That's why its steering is light, its 6-speed automatic transmission
lacks manual mode, its chassis tends to understeer gently at the
limit... with a very long wheelbase and a kerb weight in excess of 1.8
ton, the way it corners is smooth rather than agile.
Performance also suffers. PSA group does
not have very powerful engines on the shelf. It can only provide a 211
hp 3-litre petrol V6 and a 208 hp 2.7-litre twin-turbo diesel V6.
Between them I would choose the latter. Basically, the petrol V6 is
short of torque to haul the big Citroen, and its refinement was never
remarkable. In contrast, the diesel V6 is the most advanced of its kind
– it is a joint development between PSA and Ford and has been used in
Jaguar S-Type and XJ. Constructed in all-alloy, with 24 valves,
common-rail injection and a pair of low inertia VTG turbochargers, you
can see how advanced it is. In reality, its 324 lbft of maximum torque,
available at 1900 rpm, is found very useful to move the 1875 kg C6. It
takes 8.7 seconds to do 0-60, compare with the petrol engine's 9.4
seconds. Moreover, may I declare it the most refined diesel V6 in the
world ? It runs so smooth and quiet that you can hardly tell whether it
is a diesel or a petrol. In fact, it is quieter than the petrol V6.
If luxury is what it cares about, then C6 is undoubtedly a success. The
huge space, the comfy seats, the quiet interior (thanks to the
laminated glass windows), the cosseting ride and the artistic design
work in harmony to give you the best French luxury. Cars lacking driver
appeal usually scores bad in AutoZine, but C6 is undoubtedly an