The Definition of Obsession? 10 years with a Citroën C6 (part 1)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

In case you were thinking … the ‘plate was a Christmas present from my family (source – author’s photo)

On deciding that I would put something on record to mark a decade of C6 ownership via this most informative and thoughtful of automotive websites, the above quote involuntarily entered my mind and won’t now take its leave.

Maybe it’s because it reflects the roller-coaster ride of the experience? Maybe it’s because the quote also relates to the French Revolution in as much as the C6 was Citroën’s final attempt to usurp the norms of what we used to call (well, I did) the Executive car market, before it became so multi-dimensional that it could now mean anything from a Skoda Superb to a BMW X7. Maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, as it so often does as hindsight warps and discards memories of what actually was at the time.

I came into C6 ownership on a bit of a rebound. It was a car on the outskirts of my radar from the outset – I had been very taken by the Lignage concept and then was pleased to see that it had made it, of sorts, to production in 2005 (arriving in the UK in spring 2006) with at least the essence of that design intact.

I remember asking a guy from the local dealership – which sold both Citroëns and Subarus and from which I was in the process of buying a Legacy – around that time what it was like. The answer I got was that it was a bit of a barge with a small boot; hardly a compelling sales pitch, but then he was focused on getting me into the Subaru.

Didn’t turn out too bad – C6 Lignage Concept and, six years later (!) the production C6 (source: Curbside Classics)

I also remember sitting in one at a motor-show at London’s Excel centre in 2008. I was more interested in trying the new C5 at the time, but there was a C6 on display and I spent a goodly period of time playing with the sliding door-pocket covers and admiring its rather compelling looks; as someone has often advised me, it’s quite a clumsy design when looked at through rational eyes, but it’s also hard to argue that it lacks presence. It certainly made more of an impression than the more conventionally handsome but rather un-Citroën C5.

The rebound was from buying a DS. I had finished working for one of the large banks, a job that required me to travel from home to Bristol 2-3 times a week in all weathers – a round trip of about 250 miles in a day. The Subaru had been purchased as a safe, stable and comfortable means of getting me there and back, which it did wonderfully, but then unfortunately took on the stigma of association with that job, the latter which literally drove me to close to burn-out. Hence, in the three months I gave myself before starting a new, City-bound role, I decided to sell the Subaru and buy something else.

Thinking that I wouldn’t really need a car for work, I wondered instead about fulfilling a long-term fantasy about owning a classic DS instead. My lovely and patient wife indulged me and so a brief and frantic internet search was kicked-off to find a suitable car. As if by serendipity, a candidate emerged in Berkhamsted, about 10 miles away from home and, after a call to the owner, a time was set on a bright, crisp December morning to inspect the rather whimsical object of my desire.

C6’s Lineage (source: Classic and Sports Car)

To cut a long story short, the DS, a Spécial, was in a heated garage, spotless, resprayed in a rather striking hue of metallic blue (original to a special edition Saxo, so the owner told me) and too pristine for the guy to want to risk taking me out in the car onto gritted roads. Fair enough. However, by the time he had demonstrated the extended and rather extraordinary procedure required to start the car (he knew precisely the number of times the car would need to turn-over, followed by a 20 second pause, followed by more turns before it would catch and start), I was totally in the mindset that, if I bought the heavenly thing, I would kill it (no garage, see) and it would probably kill me (stress being a constant companion in my life – yeah, I know, like owning a C6 would be any easier on the nerves).

And so, I ran away, a bit crest-fallen, and sat in a café in Berko with a latte and my iPad. I was still pumped to buy something though (shallow, you see) and an update call to my wife left me with license to think again – ‘is there not anything more modern that would interest you?’ I recall her asking.  And there you have it – bingo, or should that be, kismet; in its excited state, my brain did the maths: ‘more modern’ + ‘DS’ = Citroën C6.

Another rapid search of the internet located a target example (I had a thing about needing SatNav in my cars at the time (again, shallow)) at a dealership in Wokingham, and off I went, in that instant. Boy, was it Adam’s lucky day when I walked into that showroom. I reckon wild-horses would not have deterred me from leaving it without having bagged that C6. I really don’t recommend such actions to anyone reading at home.

The C6 in question was an Exclusive (= SatNav) in ‘Ganache’. Ganache, in that bright, crisp December light, looked wonderfully, deeply, enigmatic. It was brown, yes, but with red and gold and slightly purply glints which have it a deep, burgundy hue from certain angles in that lovely sunlight. Adam took me out for a test drive around Wokingham. The C6 was quite disconcerting to drive.

I know it’s nothing like as idiosyncratic as a DS, or CX, or XM, but, stepping out of a Subaru Legacy, it was like how I imagined driving a Silver Shadow might be like – all a bit remote, isolated from the road, momentary delays between inputs and responses, super-light (if accurate) steering, a slow-witted automatic gearbox … a bit of a barge, then, at first flush in any case.

Just as I was becoming a bit put off, we stopped to take on some fuel (diesel – it’s a 2.7l V6), and I did the honours (I was also in need of paracetamol thanks to all that adrenalin pumping around my system). Waiting to pay, looking out the window of the shop back at the car parked by the pump … I was totally hooked.

It looked utterly fabulous, magnificent even, and quite otherworldly in the context of the busy forecourt cluttered by other cars. It may as well have been a Silver Shadow, actually (well, almost), for all the stately presence it exuded, even dressed in brown. On the drive back to the showroom, I put everything into context – this is a very different sort of car to the Subaru and I would learn to love it in a very different, more relaxed, calming driving experience kind of way.

C6 in Ganache (definitely NOT Black) – source: author’s photo.

The C6 was, indeed, super-quiet, huge, had an impressive – if rather naff in places – dashboard, and felt very well built. The car in question had done 18,000 miles in 15 months courtesy of having been registered and used (abused?) until that point by Citroën UK in nearby Slough – many C6s came to the UK market via that route. I liked the charcoal interior (the cream alternative is very light and shows every shade of dirt) and was only slightly disappointed when I later discovered they could also be found in Alezan, an orangey chestnut brown, which was much warmer, more striking and yet still practical.

Back at the showroom, Adam was very professional (aka, gentle with me) in finding an agent who would give me a very good price for my Legacy, so that I added only £2k in cash to pay £18.5k for the C6 – the list price at the time was over £38k – so I felt it was a decent deal, even though I fully expected depreciation to be eye-watering over the 3-4 years during which I expected to own the car.

And so, we now find ourselves at the starting line for what has been 10 years of a kind of mania.

Continued.

Author: S.V. Robinson

Life long interest in cars and the industry

53 thoughts on “The Definition of Obsession? 10 years with a Citroën C6 (part 1)”

  1. I’m hooked – looking forward to the next instalment. I think you got a marvellous deal, despite the expected further depreciation. I guess it’s a keeper?

  2. Excellent automotive autobiography, SVR, thank you. Looking forward to the journey unfolding here

  3. When the C6 first appeared the rear lamp design rendered me apoplectic. These days I am less liable to be affronted by shapes. And also as the years pass the C6 looks nicer and nicer which is in part due to the way car design has moved since then. Despite being rather quiet in comparison to newer designs, it´s also rather baroque or expressive. It´s also long and low and maybe only Audi´s A7 has similar proportions (and I reckong it´s inspired by the CX). So, I have warmed to the C6 now on its own terms. What my head says though is that it´s still a bulky, large car when its predecessors were light and spacious. Is that Citroen´s fault? Not really but only if you expect them not to be a leader.

    1. I agree that the C6 is clearly inspired by the CX, and suffers from comparison. It’s also true that it looks heavy (and there are islands that weigh less) and should be more spacious. I recall from another article written by one of the DTW contributors (maybe Christopher), that the styling team took the basics of the Lineage concept but then decided to add an art-deco theme to the details, hence the less slimline lights and confusion of styles inside. I like the details in isolation, but would have actually preferred the production car to have been more like the concept.

    2. The interior space is perhaps where I feel it could be better. That said, as my experience in old Alfas shows, the quality of the seating means a lot too. I think old Jaguar XJs are not spacious but like the 70s Alfas, the seating is brilliantly handled. I would assume the C6 is like that.
      I regret griping about the C6 when it came out – like the Lancia Thesis, Saab 9-5 and Renault VelSatis it was the last of a long line of delightful alternatives to big Ford and Opels on one side and BMW/Audi/Mercedes on the other. There´s still Subaru

  4. A compelling account of a fantastic car, thank you S.V. I’m already looking to the next instalment. In my rural backwater, exotic and unusual cars are a rare sight, but I recently saw a C6 in the same colour as yours parked in town. It was dirty, with a cracked rear light lens, but it still looked marvellous, and the light coloured interior looked a so much nicer place to be than the black and greyscale norm these days.

    In a parallel universe, the C6 would be a DS, since it is far closer in spirit and execution to the 1955 Diesse than anything that has carried that moniker in the past decade.

    1. I should have added that there’s absolutely no need to explain or apologise for your ‘personal’ number plate. Yours (like mine) is perfectly legal in its script and spacing, is not misspelling your surname, and is not in any way offensive.

      I am perplexed by the antagonism that personal plates seem to provoke in some quarters. I do think that the ones that are illegally altered are a bit stupid, but I would never seek to dictate how other people choose to spend their money.

  5. You should consider yourself lucky that you didn’t buy the DS/DSpéciale you mentioned. These cars are incredibly robust and can take an enormous lot of neglect and battering but they should always start easily and quickly without any tricks – provided that you mastered the handling of the choke button. Using a DS as an everyday car is a mixed blessing today. You travel in style and comfort not available anywhere today but DS accident sites typically looked like an aircraft crash.

    From what I heard from people with a C6 one major reason (if not THE reason) for the C6’s lack of success was the dealer network which clearly wasn’t up to the task of selling a car in that class and meeting expections of customers buying in that class. Here the situation was much the same as with Alfa with comparable results. This and the lack of really good engine except for the V6 diesel can’t have done sales numbers any favour.

    1. If S.V.’s experience at the joint Citroën/Subaru dealership was in any representative, then it’s little wonder that the C6 sold poorly. Joint dealerships send out an equivocal message to buyers. Presumably, the sales guy was pushing the Subaru, either because his cut was bigger (unlikely?) or because it would trouble his after-sales people less than the C6.

    2. Many Citroen dealers are idiots. An XM owner I know wanted to buy a Saxo as a birthday present for his daughter and we went to the double chevron dealer in the next village. The salesman wanted to make the XM owner pay for photocopies of the Saxo sales brochure. A whole brochure? What do you think – he has to buy them from Citroen himself and he therefore has only two of them!

    3. On an early visit to the same Citroën-Subaru dealer, for reasons that will be covered in the next installment, the senior service chap quipped some rather throw-away dark noises about the C6. When he saw my face drop further than it had already fallen due to the issue with the car at the time, he recovered somewhat by saying that it was a nice car,though(!). Given that the dealer in question has been a much longer-term Citroën franchise (and has now dropped the Subaru side) you’d have expected a bit more professionalism, enthusiasm and support for the car and marque, but I always had the impression from all the franchised Citroën dealer staff (bar Adam, who was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the car – and still emails me on the anniversary of having bought the car to see whether I still have it and how it is going) that they would rather that the car had never been foisted upon them.

    4. From the early Eighties my parents owned a string of Peugeots. Most of them were bought from a small dealer who sold Pugs alongside John Deere tractors and was a bit rustic but always willing to help. When this dealer closed the nearest (and only one left) was a pure Peugeot dealer that was legendary for his bad service even against the well known hard nosed character of the typical Peugeot dealer.
      We had all kinds of hassle with them until he told my parents that Peugeot tried to press him to a truly large investment into his premises that he couldn’t afford. Then Peugeot told him he would become degraded to ‘Tier 2 dealer’ and would have to become a Citroen dealer. What does this say about PSA’s perception of service in general and Citroen in particular…

    5. Regarding DS crash safety – for reasons I now forget, I was reading, recently, an article about the life of the French singer, Edith Piaf (absolutely fascinating). She had loads of serious crashes in large Citroëns, and it didn’t do her much good. I also learned that her maid of honor at her wedding was Marlene Dietrich, which is the coolest thing I have ever heard.

  6. Great article and I look forward to future instalments. I feel I should admit to doing something similar to you over a metallic light blue BMW E39 530i some years ago. Saw it online, went to look and was smitten, paid a deposit then got home and thought further about the colour. Decided I had chosen wrongly so cancelled the purchase and lost my deposit. Never again!

    1. As a previous owner of an E39 530i, the colour is the least of your problems. Failing ECU, suspension woes, varied electrical gremlins… these are the things to look for!

    2. Noted however I subsequently purchased an E39 523i which never missed a beat. I did have 3 “no fault” accidents in it when, on each occasion, I was stationary but that is another story completely!

    3. Metallic light blue is not a bad colour. Sometimes I see a car (in Denmark) in something other than black, or metallic grey and see the car in a new light. I might not have seen a recent BMW 5 in any colour other than black. A bordeaux metallic Zafira 2 appeared recently and I liked it even more than usual. It made the car seem more human. The same goes for the C6 here. If I owned one I´d paint it an old Citroen colour. The bordeaux coating looks good too though.

  7. The C6 is a car I have always wanted to buy, but (unusually) is one where I have in the final analysis given priority to the head over the heart (ditto the Silver Shadow, thus far). As a former GS, DS and CX owner, why so? The debit column reads: never quite cheap enough (I have a stone hard £3,000 limit for moderns, I fear), effectively all diesel (the Devil’s fuel to this biker), over complicated and yet lacking Diravi and (I think) high pressure brakes, scary parts prices (£1,200 headlamps?).

    The only time I have been in one was as a taxi in the south of France. The longitudinal ride was superb, but it induced a lateral head rock that irritated. Was there something wrong with that car? Maybe, but I will probably never know.

    I used to encounter one in the vicinity of Reading on my commute and, while I gazed at it wistfully, in the end I knew that I wasn’t going to abandon my Jaguar X300 for it. A car that can make a £1,500 Jag look sensible has set itself a few obstacles, I fear. But I await the next instalment to see if I was wrong!

    1. Just on the lateral head rock, with the suspension set to ‘normal’ (i.e. not ‘sport’), over a badly uneven and undulating road surface the C6 can come over all ‘hobbledy-hoy’ – there’s narrow country road which accesses Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire which evidences this to perfect (or should that be imperfect) effect. Some parts are expensive – the headlamps you mention and if I was to experience terminal damage to the rear bumper, I know the insurer would want to write-off the car as the fix would be more costly than the value of the car (fingers crossed it never happens!).

      I won’t spoil what’s to come in terms of your last point – maybe we can share thoughts when we get to the last installment (part 4)?

    2. May I say something about insurance? It really irks me that that insurers write off cars when the repair is worth more than the car and at the same time less than cost of a whole other car in running order. Like the fact there are more reds than blacks on a roulette wheel, it is a kind of scam. The real comparison is between repairing the car or replacing the car. This idea that every buyer is selling their car tomorrow is what leads to the comparison repair cost/sales value.
      And mystically the value of the car if sold is never as much as the cost of buying another one just like it.

  8. A cracking read about a car that I have been tempted by in the past – previous form being CX saloon and estate, GSA hatch, BX, a couple of Visas and an XM estate. Oh and a Berlingo which was very handy but shouldn’t really be mentioned in the same breath as the others – is close but the Visa does just about make the cut as a proper Citroen for me.

    Someone mentioned that the C6 has never been cheap enough, that resonates, especially since I believe all the C6 line get hit hard in road tax.

    As a fan of estate cars perhaps a Safari or Familiale version might have tipped the scales but I’m finding it hard to visualise the car. One for Daniel perhaps.

    Meanwhile thank you SVR for a very enjoyable recap of your ownership and looking forward to the next installment.

    1. All but the very earliest of C6’s imported before April 2006 carry the highest of Road Tax bands (I mention it in a future episode). All I will say is that it is NOT a cheap car to own and run in my experience.

    2. The C6 2.2 HDI manual falls into cheaper VED tax bracket if you can find one as I nearly bought one last year. I’m not 100% sure but the later 3.0 HDI may be lower VED band too. I also tried to find a C6 3.0 V6 petrol but to no avail.

    3. The BX was built on the same platform as the 405, but it did have the oleopneumatic suspension and, in original guise, the splendidly PRN Lunules dashboard, so I would agree it’s a bit more of a Cit than the Visa – I really like them both.

  9. Out of curiosity, I took a look at AutoTrader UK for Citroën C6. There are three available, from £1,250 to £3,795. The cheapest one is the newest, a 2009 car, but it has 303k miles on it! Yes, 303k! The fact that it looks pretty good and not like a complete shed at that mileage and has an MOT until December is pretty encouraging.

    Here’s the listing:

    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-search?postcode=nr349nd&make=CITROEN&year-to=2021&model=C6&include-delivery-option=on&onesearchad=Used&onesearchad=Nearly New&onesearchad=New&advertising-location=at_cars&page=1

    1. I had a quick look at the 303k miler. It’s the same vintage and origin as my car (the original plate on mine was GJ59 URL) and does looks remarkably acceptable given the mileage (the detail states it has just passed its MOT!). It will either be very close to its 3rd belt change service (£1k+) or, it you are lucky, will have just had it done (I doubt). No pictures of the interior … Maybe the bills become less onerous beyond 150k?

    2. Daniel, if the headlamps are indeed £1,200 to replace and the rear bumper something similar, your man Robinson should beat a path to the cheapest pronto as a parts car!

      When I was last looking 4 or 5 years ago they were around £4,000 for quite leggy examples and £6,000+ for less used types. However, my X300 was £1,500 for a 42,000 mile two owner car with history…and I am nothing if not cheap.

    3. Hi S.V. There are actually five pictures of the interior (nos. 6 to 10). It’s black leather and the driver’s seat looks remarkably good for the “to the moon and a quarter way back” mileage.

    4. Daniel – how right you are! It does look remarkably OK.

      The thought about buying it as a parts car is a very good one, although my workshop support team (AKA BL Autos & Sons – more to come on them) seem to buy a car that would otherwise be scrapped for the same purpose on occasion to help their numerous C6 customers.

      Maybe values are taking a slight turn upwards – not so sure if I am honest, but I am not for selling now in any case.

    5. The plastic headlamp covers of that car are blind and yellow – it needs two new headlights which is easily more than the car is worth. The leather looks like parchment and is badly cracked, partly due to the low quality of the heavily plastified leather and partly (mostly) due to lack of leather care. The car has done a lot of miles and shows it – not necessarily a bad thing but in a modern car with loads of electronics and particularly in a Citroen with their typical dealer support this is a sure recipe for disaster.
      I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, not even at £1,250.

  10. There’s a C6 local to me that I used to see on a fairly regular basis during the times BC (Before Covid). It always looked good.

    I always found it fascinating that Citroën returned to the general CX styling theme following the departure of Bertone’s angular XM. I like both designs.

    I never got the impression that the various Hydroactive suspension setups ever bettered the DS’s ride quality.

    1. John – although the series is short (three cars) and then the C6, I´d be inclined to want to suggest an argument along the lines that the DS, CX and XM are all quite different from one another and the common theme is difference with some shared details. In that light the C6 is, I would hint, a repeat of the gross form of the CX with new details (and that´s the reverse of the common theme). How does that sound?

  11. That registration number means the 303k car was registered by the same supplying dealer on the same day as yours. That’s some coincidence! The mileage and apparent condition of the 303k car augurs well for the potential longevity of yours.

    It’s really great to see such an interesting and characterful car being properly looked after. Very environmentally-conscious too.

    1. I just checked, I got carried away, my car was originally GJ59 UZL, not URL.

  12. I never thought Citroen expected the C6 to be a big sales success – I thought they just wanted to make one last proper model before the marque became synonymous with re-skinned Peugeots. Not that I have sympathy for Citroen, since they buried Panhard.

    1. In one way the car did what was expected, sell in small numbers and stay quite expensive. In theory this is the step to increased sales as people gain confidence in the model (it works for BMW etc). The problem was PSA didn´t keep up the momentum. That process takes 20 years.
      The C6 bowed out in 2012 which means that if Citroen had been stiff-of-spine the C6 replacement would be nearing replacement now.

      Car´s GBU (imagined): Citroen C6 (2012-to date)
      Citroen´s latest large barge. Stands in overshadowed by DS and CX and forgettable XM and C6.
      For: comfy (conventional) ride, almost acceptable depreciation
      Against: 508 costs less, looks better.

      Newcomers (p.34).
      Gavin Baumhaul welcomes Citroen´s C6 replacement, the, eh, C6-2.

      We all know the story with big Citroens, big on comfort, big on style, big on bugs and and big on depreciation. The only way to lose cash faster than buying a big Cit is buy a luxury yacht and throw money overboard.

      Still, Citroen is determined not to take a towel and throw it anywhere. Hence the new C6 which carries on the styling theme of the outgoing car, sort of establishing the CX shape as the template for the haute de game. The front grille looks smart, big and aggressive.

      No surprises but the costly, unreliable and troublesome hydraulics are gone, replaced by struts all-around. It´s comfy enough but don´t show it a corner unless you´ve written to Citroen first to warn them. Otherwise, it´s all understeer and mal-de-mer wallow. If you like comfort that´s fine but Peugeot do comfort and handling at the same time. Not as good as Audi or BMW, but not bad (or not very bad).

      The engine range is standard PSA fare. The larger petrols (the 1.4 and 1.6 four cylinders) have been tuned for torque and not top end. That makes the C6 a bit like, of all things, a European Cadillac (who´s idea was that?). It makes some kind of sense if you remember the car´s for pensioners in a hurry although the promo video shows the usual glossy 40 somethings driving in the Alps.

      Inside, it´s PSA switchgear and some nice touches such as the ebonite gear bezel and velvet-lined cubbies. The dashboard is a bit BMW-aggressive and the seats too unsupportive. Stung by critiques of the tiny boot, Citroen have gone overboard with the biggest boot in the class but have sacrificed rear leg room which is a bad idea if M. Le President is supposed to be driven around in the car (but better than Hollande´s DS5!).

      All in all, another not-quite-there not-quite luxury car from a brand nobody was expecting this from. When it´s a year old it´ll make a fine taxi or retirement car for the terminally insane.

    2. Hi Richard, your imagined alternative universe Car write-up is highly plausible. It’s amusing and, at the same time, depressing. Perhaps the spirit of the Diesse is best left at rest.

    3. The text is largely a rehash of the kinds of things Car has banged out for two decades. In the end Car has got stuck in its own rut and that includes reporting not what it thinks but what it thinks others think: “the biggest problem with this car is the badge” means “we think others won´t think much of this car, fine though it is”. Just as it was wrong for car magazines to suck up to car makers (“Mr Issigonis kindly let us borrow their wonderful new 1100 for a short tour”) it is wrong for them to present their guess at market perceptions in assessments of the car, which is what they routinely do. The C6 they ran was “left-field” and they called the C4 “odd-ball” (or something). By the same token I don´t recall anything from the other marques as ever called “mainstream”.

  13. A great opening to an exciting article. Looking forward to the next chapters.

    Without prejudice to the C6 significance, I never did well in neglecting the highly probable marketing aspects of its existence. To me it was always a tad too inclined towards a scenario, that PSA wanted 50+ aged gentlemen (who fondly remembered the CX from back when they were in their 20s, and Johan Cruyff could afford one), to make an emotional-based decision and afford
    a ‘modern-day CX’ instead of their usual premium-branded transportation.

    Which is a shame, as the C6’s (and especially the source one, Lignage) styling has much more to it than its vague, yet undeniable resemblance to the Opron masterpiece.

    I recall being especially in awe by the extent to which the C6’s Vorderwagen was almost a blueprint of the Lignage’s. The sharp visual forward surge of
    the Lignage, though (performed by its radically inclined B- and C- pillars),
    was completely omitted from the C6, which was not too bad as it gave it
    a visual heft of a cruiser anchor – a feature that many find appealing,
    and it somehow added cred to its segment ambition.

    Always was a fan of the C6 interior, just a remarkably balanced act
    of modernism without being rough on its edges, so to speak.

    1. The Lignage’s B and C pillars had to be changed for production because it would have been impossible to slide the windows down into the doors, particularly in the rear. Flip-up 2CV-style windows would not have been acceptable on a car in that class.

  14. Great article, looking forward to the next installments! For me the C6 got things right, at least for a citroen enthusiast, it just seems there were not enough of them those days.

  15. Great article on a lovely car. I’ve driven one when pretty soon after it hit the market, a black 2.7 hdi with black interior. Can’t remember the equipment level, but I’m sure it was the top of the line specs as this car had all the bells and whistles, including electric rear seats.

    I like this car up to this day, the C6 had a lot going for it: style, excellent safety ratings and a driving experience that was unique. However, there are a few things that have always bothered me about it. First of all it feels heavy. I read a journalist who said it felt a bit like a C5 chassis that has too much weight to carry and therefore the C5 actually had the better driving experience. Can’t comment on that as I’ve never driven a C5.

    It’s not a performance car, objectively it’s fast enough, but it felt to me the performance wasn’t effortless enough, probably again because of the weight. With two occupants and half a tank of Diesel it’s about two tonnes that has to be moved. If I remember correctly the 2.7 hdi was the fastest accelerating one of all the models available at launch. The later 3.0 hdi is more torquey I’ve heard, so maybe that would solve it.

    The interior is a bit of disappointment as well. Too many buttons, the plastics are not that great, same applies to the digital instruments and HUD. Not the end of the world, but one experiences this all the time when driving and the competition did a better job here.

    Back in the days there were road imperfections that looked a bit like a washboard. As great as the C6 is over large bumps, as fidgety and, dare I say it, uncomfortable it is over small road imperfections.

    I also think this cars wasn’t properly marketed. Citroën had been absent from this market segment for a couple of years to begin with. There were few engine options, even the base models were (too) well equipped which didn’t help the high starting price of this car, their was no estate model, too little options for personalizing the interior, the buying experience wasn’t helped by the way the Citroën showrooms looked, same for waiting area when the car was in for service. That’s a real shame. The C6 might have lost against the benchmark competition on every measurable aspect. It’s charm is in the unmeasurable, which is a hard sale, but for those who looked passed all that I can very well understand the obsession aspect of it. Looking forward to the next installment in this series and hope you get a lot more years and miles of ownership out of your C6.

  16. A bit late to the party, but I still want to thank you for this article and I’m looking forward to the next parts.

    My personal C6 relationship is soon going into its 9th year, and this is much more than the two to five years I’ve kept all my former cars. One reason might be that all my cars before were much older when I acquired them, usually between 10 and 20 years, and not all of them were quite in good shape. This also influenced my service mentality, so they tended to be worn out soon.

    But that’s not the main reason. My feeling is that I will have a very hard time to even remotely replace the C6 by anything contemporary. Yes, many things happen much more effortlessly in new cars, and they have some useful electronic helpers (among the loads of completely superfluous or even dangerous ones), and almost any of them will relieve my fuel and service budget significantly. But something will be missing. I have never experienced a car that offers such an unique driving experience – at least this side of a CX or DS. Being unique also means that it will put off a lot of potential owners. And I even found myself often hating the car – for its impracticality, its sometimes strange movements on certain roads, and also for its heaviness and lethargy (it’s a petrol). Although, driven with the accelerator down and in sports mode, it can be astonishingly curve-hungry and sporting – in sound as in performance. This has to be paid, though, in sweat and fuel, so I usually refrain from it. Anyway I feel that the car has extremely calmed down my driving and made me much more appreciative of relaxation while driving. Even in Germany, I much more enjoy rolling along with cruise control at 145 than trying to reach 200 all the time now.

    Schizophrenic as it is in driving, I also have similar feelings about its interior. The excellent seats (although a bit short on adjustment options, compared to newer cars) and the almost perfect door-pocket covers are in crass contrast to the cheap switches, centre armrest mechanism and steering wheel. But as in old Citroëns, I think you can never have one without the other. Perfection and roundness is not their goal, and that’s what makes them so lovely.

    By the way, Ganache would have been one of my favourites as well. What I got is another non-colour, Suroît. This is a very dark green tending to the olive, and showing forestal highlights or even brownish tints depending on the lighting (and the cleanliness – it’s quite sensitive to that, not ideal for someone who doesn’t count weekly car wash among his hobbies). The interior is Alezan, clearly the nicest option in my eyes, as you mention. Not as boring as black, but much more practical than the complete beige package, which also optically is over the top.

    Let’s see if we can make the 10 years as you did, SV. The C6 would then be over 14 years old. Not impossible, but I have experienced in the past year that some things can fail when the car gets older. But that’s a different story…

    1. Hi Simon. Thanks for sharing your experience of the C6 with us. I think it says something about the independence of mind of DTW’s commentariat that we have two C6 owners amongst them. I hope it continues to perform well for you. The 303k miles example an AutoTrader augurs well for yours (assuming its mileage is not quite as astronomical!)

    2. Hello Simon, I’ve been very aware of your ownership of a C6 for a while now, both here and on the UK’s C6 Owners forum. Your car is a very rare colour, from recollection, and I knew you had owned it a long time too (in fact I had assumed that your tenure was longer than mine).

      The summary of your views and experiences with your car sound spookily similar (I’m just going to bore everyone with mine over a 4 part series!). I am also in exactly the same mind about having no idea with what I would replace it – but then, the reality is that I don’t really have to as I am in the lucky position of it being a ‘3rd car’ in my family, and our Škoda does all the real family car donkey work (the other car is a ‘Tychy ‘FIAT 500).

      I envy your Alezan interior – much the most warm and luxurious hue, and, actually the 3.0 petrol engine too; I am not sure what the fuel economy on that is like, but, unless it’s a 65-70 MPH motorway cruise, the 2.7 diesel can’t be that much more thirsty, as it will quickly drop into the low-to-mid twenty MPG levels if driven around town.

      Anyway, always a pleasure to swap notes with other owners/ enthusiasts of the car.

    3. Daniel: 303k miles is a nice goal. Mine is just approaching 200k km (125k miles). Continuing with my annual mileage, I expect the 303k to be reached around 2039. Yes, I don’t drive a lot nowadays, commuting mainly happens by train and bike (or not at all, in these days). But I do use the car roughly once a week, and mostly for steady highway driving. Doing low, but regular mileage with little city traffic seems to be a good base for another 18 years…

      SV: I was amused to read ‘economy’ in context with the C6… Fuel consumption is really bad on the petrol version. My long-term average is around 10.5 litres (27 mpg), but mind you, 90% of my driving is at 122 km/h with cruise control. If I choose to hit town or the mountains, I’m up to 13–14 litres (20–21 mpg). On a few trips I actually managed under 10 litres (over 28 mpg), but only when traffic didn’t come into my way.

    4. I had the pleasure and pain of a C6 relationship for about 5 years. A work of sculpture and a thing of beauty it certainly was – dark blue with cream leather- but it soon became clear that corners had been cut in the suspension department and the electrical systems. Although much better built than the ’85 CX I owned concurrently, the C6 never liked speed humps or London potholes and always felt fragile, as if the suspension would come apart at any moment, unlike the CX which simply floated over them. Apparently they adapted the Peugeot 407 set up and seemed to forget everything learned from 70 years of building heavy front wheel drive cars. The radio failed, taking with it half the electronic controls on the dash. At least I was able to source an exchange item from Spain for £350 instead of the £2800 Citroen wanted to charge. But I loved the controllability of the car- it had a great presence and ate up long journeys.

    5. Iain: a company that wants nearly 3000 pounds for such a repair has a death wish. Every signal sent back about the pain of future ownership affects the number of cars sold, the price of first sale and every transaction thereafter. Imagine that over time the number of future owners and resale value drops with each generation of a model: one day people won´t even buy the new one in the showroom and that´s the end. The C6 marked the point nobody much wanted even a new car of that type. I´d dearly like to know why Citroen didn´t take it on the chin and sell the radio bits for a nominal price such as labour only? They never made the sale and you won´t ever buy a car like that again and the information is public: look, but don´t touch this car.

  17. Thank you S.V. Robinson for starting this series. I can understand your obsession since I have a similar situation with my C5s, having owned one for 7 years for and the second for 7 years also. But in a total span of 10 years.

    I think the colour is beautiful. Citroen always had nice browns. And since most of the cars today are black, grey or silver, a brown one is a welcome sight. Especially if its a C6.

    My father in law had a very early ’06 C6 3.0i, for almost 12 years. So I know the car very well. A great car, very distinctive, I would dare to say timeless. Since not many cars appear that way today.

    The seats are one of the best I have ever experienced. But I didn’t like the suspension characteristic below 70km/h. I could feel the AMVAR suspension letting the body move too much vertically. The wheels were on the road but the body kept moving up and down vertically. Unnatural for a hydraulic Citroen. Things would improve when putting more load. Like it was tuned to carry a rear passenger all the time.

    As simonstahel mentioned, I can only confirm the dual nature of the car. Sort of a Jekyll and Hyde. When put into sport mode, the car would achieve astonishing curve speeds. But it was unnatural. It was something this car could do, but not the primary reason of its existence. I recall reading a comparison test in Auto motor und sport where it beat BMW e60 in absolute handling speed.

    Since my father in law had a cream interior, the reflection on windscreen was terrible. Also, wind noise could be a little better.

    But never the less, a very fine motorcar.
    Looking forward to next installments.

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