Hey, There’s a Cool Car: Citroën C6
By Charles Krome
The photos aren’t that great, and I didn’t have a lot of room in which to work, or a lot of time to actually take the pictures, but still: How often do you see a Citroën C6 in a Motor City parking structure, even/especially if it’s attached to the tony Detroit Athletic Club? In fact, with limited availability being a key selling point of the C6, seeing one anywhere in the States—or even in Europe, I suppose—isn’t an everyday occurrence. Which is really too bad, because the C6, like many Citroën vehicles, is certainly worth seeing. Which, in turn, is why I’ve also added a few pictures from the Citroën media site.
I put an emphasis on the visual with the car because avant-garde styling has been a cornerstone of Citroën’s positioning at least since the introduction of the iconic DS in the mid-1950s. “The Goddess” was a landmark in automotive design (and engineering), and is routinely hailed as one of the most influential vehicles ever produced. But the downside of all this acclaim is that the DS has cast a very long shadow over the Citroën products that came after it, with the automaker sometimes struggling to strike the right combination of forward-thinking style and cartoonish-ness.
On the C6, we see that kind of influence in touches like the car’s concave rear glass and the positioning and shape of its rear lights, as well as the large semi-circular “door panels” and streamlined dashboard on the interior. That’s concept-car kind of stuff. (As an aside: I wonder how many other production vehicles have featured glass that made such a dramatic impact on their design. Oddly, I can only think of two GM products off the top of my head: The early ’70s Buick Riviera and the split-window Corvette.)
Back to the C6: In another nod to the DS—a pioneer in the area of self-levelling hydraulic suspensions—the C6 boasts Citroën’s latest “hydro-pneumatic” suspension, which can vary both spring rates and damping for optimum performance/fuel efficiency in differing driving conditions. If you take the time to watch the inimitable Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear review on YouTube, you’ll get an excellent demonstration of the system in action, along with much more info on the C6 from someone who’s certainly had more seat time in the car than I have.
On the other hand, if I’m understanding the chronology right, the C6 has seen somewhat of a change to its powertrain since Clarkson did his thing. At this point, the sole motivation for the C6 is an advanced 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel—developed with help from Ford—that leverages high-pressure direct injection and other technology to develop about 237 hp, 331 lb.-ft. of torque and mileage ratings of 23.5 mpg city/40.5 mpg highway/32 mpg combined. That being said, I’m frankly not sure what year this model is from, and a few different engines have been available since the car debuted in 2005.
In terms of pricing, the C6 listed at €50,450 on the Citroën France website, and that works out to roughly $72,143. It may seem like an awful lot of money for a car the size of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class—both are essentially 193 inches long, and you can get into an M-B E350 BlueTEC for $50,900—but this reflects the general higher pricing in Europe. That same Mercedes goes for €59,700 in France, which translates into a healthy $85,591. Yet it’s also important to point out that four-cylinder diesel models are available in the E-Class (and the BMW 5 Series), and these are much less expensive than the C6.
So what you’ve got here is a luxury sedan that has a higher price of admission than its peers, wears wacky French styling and features a diesel-only powertrain. It seems like an ideal recipe for scaring away U.S. buyers—with maybe the one exception of the brave soul taking a Gallic gallop through Detroit a few days ago.