We have a chance here to examine the implications and otherwise of Citroën’s announcement about a forthcoming large saloon.
Our good friends at Autocropley reported this the day before yesterday but the message only turned up in my in-box yesterday. I opened the link with trembling fingers. First, there will be a new flagship saloon which Citroën would like us to see as “distinctive”. In line with Citroën’s current self-identity, the car should be laden with technology and be a design that is comfort led. Making this possible is the Chinese market where saloons still thrive.
We should see the car in 2019 or 2020 which means they are working on it now. And should someone from Citroën chance upon this article, please ensure the car has a decent ashtray and manual transmission plus a properly large boot. Linda Jackson, reports Autocropley, says the car will bring “something different” to the class. Now different can be good and different can be bad – ask Renault who had their beret burned with the Avantime and Vel Satis. And indeed Citroën themselves have had a tough time attracting customer for cars lacking a propeller, a star or four rings.
Jackson also says the car will not be burdened with chrome, leather or wood. I am particularly happy about the deletion of leather. So, Citroën, make sure the fabrics are really lush. The wood is no loss. I am not sure about the chrome. How about making it optional? Some people like it and some don’t. I don’t think a one-size fits all approach to brightwork is anything other than a form of rigidity.
The reference car is the C-xperience, a low and long -nosed car – not uniquely Citroën and not unlike the formula for any kind of a dramatic saloon. One hopes the car will not have a mock-rear-wheel-drive appearance for it is a certainty it’ll be front-wheel-drive. Although it’s Citroën’s intended range topper its targets are middle market cars from Ford, Opel and VW: the Mondeo, Insignia and Passat.
In one way, that makes sense as these cars are plenty large and similar in their approach. On the other hand, it shows Citroën doesn’t expect prospective buyers of the Munich, Ingolstadt and Stuttgart alternatives will give it much consideration.
While the report notes that Citroën will be applying their Advanced Comfort philosophy it says nothing about the drivetrain. I would contend that it would make sense to dump internal combustion engines at this point and make it electric: that would gel well with notions of quiet refinement and perhaps give the car something of a USP that is in line with trends and Citroën’s historical taste for innovation. Yes, electric motors are not new but they are a bit more advanced than a smelly lump burning refined oil.
Lastly, steering: this is a chance for Citroën to give their car precise, accurate and sharp steering. If Citroën can ensure the car is a delight to drive and looks convincingly thought through, it might be a vehicle worthy of the double melted chevrons. Of some concern is the extent to which the car will be affected by Chinese-market preferences. Will it look busy or calm? Will be be available in something other than black or grey?
Driven to Write has a go at reimagining the big Citroën