What the Papers Say: The New Citroen C6

Before I get to my handy compendium of other people’s opinions, I’ll offer my own.

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It’s not a Citroen C6 but something going by the same name. A proper Citroen C6 would be a vehicle for the French market which shared more than a badge with its illustrious* predecessor. Now that raises a problem relating to Eurocentricity. Quite fairly our Chinese cousins could ask why a car sold in their rather huge market doesn’t count. Would a hydropneumatic study in French elegance that sold one copy in Europe be more properly the bearer of the name even if 215,000 of these rebodied Peugeot 308s found customers.

As with the peculiar situation of Buick (a million units sold in China, about 300,000 sold in the US), Citroen has become unmoored from its home-market. The new “C6” is what Citroen sells in China and the name is coincidental. It’s annoying for worshippers at the altar of Andre Citroen (that might include me). The Chinese don’t mind and PSA love anything to do with selling cars, any cars under any name and with any shape acceptable to the customer.

2016 Citroen C6 interior: source
2016 Citroen C6 interior: source

This is Jalopnik´s view: “Good news: Citroën, the French maker of forbidden fruit for us Americans, has revived the C6 nameplate for a new sedan. Bad news: unlike the last C6, which was weird and magical and smooth as hell to drive, this new car approaches Passat levels of boring.” I would take issue with calling the Passat boring. It does precisely what every Passat has done and customers love it. It’s meant to be that way while Citroens are meant to be something else.

Top Gear can’t help titling their article as if the C6 was something European customers might want. They then go on to say “We were big fans of the old C6, which is why we’re a bit disappointed Citroen has chosen to revive the name for something we a) don’t get in this country and b) probably wouldn’t want anyway. Revealed at this week’s Beijing motor show, the new C6 is a China-only luxo-barge. And that’s pretty much all we know. We know not what’s under the bonnet, not how much it costs or how quick (or not) it is. Sorry. We do know that we don’t particularly like the looks. The old C6 wasn’t a thing of beauty, but it was bold, interesting and pretty unique. This thing is a bit generic, and for Citroen, who in Europe can make even an MPV look quite stylish, that simply won’t do.”

I don’t think Top Gear were really big fans of the car. Sure, they ran some articles such as the one where Paul Horrell compared it to a Land Rover and drove it to Paris to check this contention. They also called it one of the car of the year (2004?). Despite that the C6 was always painted as a choice for the deranged

Car Scoops doesn’t go with the 508-theory. They see it as a derivative of the Peugeot 308 platform. I think that’s even worse than basing it on the 508. “The French brand wasn’t alone on the project, as it was given a hand from its local partner, Dongfeng. In fact, the new C6 is basically a rebadged version of the Dongfeng Fengshen A9 with a slightly updated exterior and a more premium cabin.  Riding on the PSA’s EMP2 platform, just like its smaller sibling, the Peugeot 308 Sedan, the Citroen C6 is more than 5 meters (197 in) long and has a 2.9 (114 in) meters wheelbase. Inside, it has a 12.3-inch LCD full-color digital instrument cluster, a large touchscreen display, leather and Nappa upholstery, wood trim, panoramic sunroof, four-zone automatic air conditioning and new driver assistance systems.” The Car Scoops photo gallery is quite comprehensive. The Dongfeng Fengshen A9 is a Passat clone. Ain’t that ironic, Jalopnik.

AutoExpress ran the story that alerted us. You can get a press-releasy wodge of verbiage here. There are some statistics and a note that the C6 is a D-Segment car. Can you base a D-segment car on a C-segment car and call it a D-segment car?

[Image source: Peugeot 508 and 2017 Citroen C6]

*It wasn’t illustrious, was it?

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

21 thoughts on “What the Papers Say: The New Citroen C6”

  1. “Can you base a D-segment car on a C-segment car and call it a D-segment car?”

    Apparently PSA can. They already tried to take a 3008 and position it above the C5 with added chrome. It was called DS5. The targeted clientele seems to define luxury by the amount of leather and wood, so why bother with sophisticated underpinnings?

    “*It wasn´t illustrious, was it?”

    I think it’s a bit longer ago since a Citroën was called so. Although, the C6 in France was still the presidential limousine, and sometimes I get jokes about this. I doubt that any French president will ever be seen in this car here (without a paper bag over his head).

  2. Richard, you write so much sense and I find myself nodding in agreement with your commentary. My reflex responses are as Simon’s, and I immediately took Top Gear’s ‘illustrious’ adjective as a tongue in cheek reference to the C6’s Presidential/ senior civil service use in France (last I saw Sarko on the news last year, he was still being driven in a C6). I do love the car and admire the French’s would-be elite’s stubborn refusal to adopt a more up to date, reliable and conservative German alternative, but ‘illustrious’ would not be high up on my own list of descriptions for the last grande dame of France’s waning but once proud automobile industry.

    1. In my little mind, “illustrious” is a quality that comes from without. Fine a car as it was, the C6 never accumulated prestige. Its peers didn’t either, funnily enough. Perhpas the most recent car to garner the dew of glamour, impact and import might be the second last Quattroporte.

      Taking a mid-size car and talking it up a class and a half has a precedent: the Chrysler K-car. This C6 is a modern day 1990 Chrysler Imperial.

    2. Well, relatively speaking, it’s illustrious.

      One question. Is the Chinese auto market really inherently and irredeemably conservative? Do Western manufacturers check this out themselves, or do they listen to their local partners? Or do they just decide it’s conservative so that they can get away with knocking out the lowest common denominator at the highest profiit? In many other areas, the Chinese seem highly responsive to new ideas.

    3. On my only visit to China so far, the carscape there made a rather conservative impression on me. The bulk of cars are saloons in neutral colours (apart from the colourful VW Santana taxis, of course). There is a share of minivans, but hardly any estates. But which car market isn’t conservative nowadays? Norway probably… Everywhere I see people uninterested and playing safe, which hardly leaves any room for deviating concepts or looks.

      Regarding upsizing: haven’t we seen similar things elsewhere? The Opel Senator may be an example (although here it’s rather half a class than one and a half), or VW’s attempts to stretch the beetle concept to mid-size cars.

    4. “the French’s would-be elite’s stubborn refusal to adopt a more up to date, reliable and conservative German alternative”

      That isn’t an alternative i.e. it’s is simply not going to happen in any country with its own car manufacturers, even if those are foreign-owned. And rightly so.

    5. Laurent, I know what you mean – so, here’s a question, when the last C6 draws its last for M Hollande or his successor, what will replace it? A 508? An Espace? A DS5? A Talisman?

    6. My money is on the Espace. Ministers will have to make do with the rest.

    7. Actually I was just about to write that a SM Opera with hybrid or all-electric powertrain would do quite nicely too.

  3. The doors of the 508 and C6 aren’t identical but very similar up to the waistline. The volume of the bonnet and wings are very similar too.

    The 508 is such a potato.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, the 508 is awful. Really awful. And you’re probably right that the C6 is a derivative of this car – I can’t see how you can base a 5 metre long saloon on the platform of the 308.

    2. If the 308 platform is scalable, it’s within the bounds of possibility. As an aside, If this was the new 508, I wonder if we’d be quite as scathing…?

    1. You don’t find it a bit slab-like? Somehow it looked rather not quite 70’s retro.

    2. At least it’s consistent, unlike those daft DS cockpits. I genuinely like the colours, and the materials appear to be pleasing (at least in the photos, that is).

      It’s not a masterpiece, this, but especially for a brand that hasn’t delivered a truly excellent cabin in quite a while, it’s a noteworthy effort.

      By the way, I always liked the original C6’s door storage bins. Back in the day, I wished the entire cabin had been designed with similar care.

    3. Kris, that’s very fair, and the earlier C6’s interior was not exactly a masterpiece either, door bins aside which, are easily my favourite aspect (indeed, it’s as if they blew most of the budget on that element alone).

  4. If VW can make that massive three row upcoming SUV for America (which is just under 5m in length) based on a humble Golf MQB platform, I’m sure PSA can stretch the 308 “kit of parts” (the world platform is very misleading) to make this anonymous blob. I rather wish they hadn’t.

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