Art On Wheels
The Citroen C6 Exclusive HDi will never sell in huge numbers but will delight most of those discerning people who choose it over more conventional cars. Some of these may worry that the cheaper C5 now incorporates many of the same features including the twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 diesel engine, six-speed automatic transmission, Euro-NCAP five-star safety, and the latest version of the marque’s famous hydro-pneumatic suspension. They needn’t, because the flagship is far superior to the elegant but flawed mid-sizer.
Elegant may be the word for the C5 but the C6 is nothing short of beautiful, art on wheels. Even those 18-inch items are superbly designed, although vulnerable to ‘kerbing’. This biggest Citroen has something of the timelessness of the 1955 DS19 ‘Goddess’ but with a new sporty aesthetic. The styling owes more to the 1970s CX than to either the DS or the 1990s XM. It is rakish, futuristic, unique. The interior, too, is a work of beauty, although perhaps a little understated in terms of dashboard design for a car costing $108,750 plus on-roads. Rich materials abound and there are delightful details such as the huge, expanding door pockets. And there is sprawling room for five occupants backed by a big boot. Anyone who buys a C6 makes a statement many may not understand but c’est la vie.
The C6 weighs much more than a C5 and this might explain why it rides so much better at all speeds. There is also better feel to the steering and the whole car feels more balanced, perhaps because of those extra kilograms. No, it’s still not a BMW but that is not what the C6 buyer is looking for. A totally serene wafting experience with effortless torque and rewarding fuel economy as well as that subtle statement of style are all qualities delivered in spades. It also has magnificent braking.
The sheer mass of the car means the engine has to work to get it off the line and for the first few metres the C6 is disappointingly slow to gather up its skirts. On the highway, however, overtaking is easy, thanks to 440 Nm of torque. Overall economy is in the order of nine litres per 100 kilometres but on interstate trips the figure is less than seven.
Citroen is unlikely ever to build another flagship to sell in the same territory as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series and Jaguar XF. But rather than deter prospective customers this should be an encouragement. Here is a current luxury car that might eventually become collectible. Meanwhile, expect steep depreciation. That is the biggest single negative and buyers intending to keep their C6 for more than half a dozen or so years may disregard it.
The C6 represents a unique answer to the question: what is a luxury car? Anyone considering an Audi A6 or Jaguar XF would do well to consider this compellingly beautiful device. But don’t buy the petrol version which is underpowered; anyone who wants a used C6 will likely insist on the HDi.
The 'individualism' that made the brand rides again in the C6 - avante garde styling; supremely comfortable seats; impressive turbo-diesel
Interior not as cutting-edge as exterior; getting expensive