One sunny morning during the Easter period I spied this with my little eye.
There was not much time to stand and really take the car in. I had a six-year old waiting exasperatedly in my car. What I did notice was that the interior was better than I remembered it. Journalists wrote disparagingly about the centre console carried over from the Peugeot 407 but as I can never recall that car’s interior, the duplication does not strike me. It would have mattered if it had been a 406 as I have that interior engraved on my mental screen. This 2007 car had the beige leather and so looked nicely spacious and, indeed, seemed to be bearing up well which is unusual for cars in Dublin. The climate, the roads, the indifference of Irish owners to tidiness all grind cars to scrap in a way one seldom sees in more civilised corners of this wonderful continent of ours.
Despite all that follows, I have warmed to the car and I know we have a few happy owners of a similar vehicles among our little community at DTW. In today’s world of over-design and conformity, the C6 is now decidedly a more interesting proposition, much like the Lancia Thesis with which it has much in common. That said, when it came out the C6 disappointed me and some of those grounds for disappointment still remain.
The rear lamps are original, yes. However, in the process of balancing form and production convenience I feel the latter is all too apparent. The rear bumper is simply huge, surely the biggest single lump of plastic ever attached to a car. I love clever efficiency that looks good. This is clever efficiency that doesn’t. I think we are supposed to see a subtle formal shift (in Bill Porter’s immortal phrasing) from the angle of the bumper-to-body panel gap to the trailing edge of the rear door to the leading edge of the rear door. I don’t buy it. Then again, on the street you don’t notice. You notice the baroque richness of the car.
Yes, still unhappy with the lamps. It’s the same as the rear. The bumper-to-body panel gap is driving the form and the lower outboard line looks hokey as it goes around to the front. The lamps look okay from the side but in three-quarter view they are ill-resolved. They needed to be more horizontal or more vertical.
The rear works best, mostly because it’s so unlike anything else. The licence plate surround is pure Audi A6 from 1999.
After all this time, the C6 now feels right. There aren’t any cars that major on comfort. Design has moved on so what looked like a derivative mix of Audi and 70’s Citroen now looks more clearly, idiosyncratically itself. I can fully understand why people might want one and it’s a bit sad more people did not want one.
Simultaneously, I think Citroen got this car wrong in the same way Lancia did. They needed this car to be more about Citroen’s suspension and less about trying to match the luxuries offered by Mercedes and Audi. It was too big and too costly. We won’t see its like again.