Citroen revives the luxury C6 sedan for the Chinese market

Like most automakers nowadays, Citroen is looking to grab a big chunk of the Chinese automobile market, currently the world’s biggest. And, the French are planning to do so using the luxury DS brand and its cooperation with China-based company Dongfeng. The latest results of the Dongfeng-Citroen joint venture have been unveiled at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show and the C6 is one of them.

If the C6 moniker sounds familiar is because Citroen has used it in the past for a full-size executive car. Launched in 2005 as a replacement for the Citroen XM, the C6 was one of the most innovative vehicles of its time, featuring a head-up display, a lane departure warning system, xenon directional headlamps, Hydractive suspension with electronically controlled springing and damping, and a rear spoiler which automatically adjusted to speed and braking. Its design was also bold and unique with a tall, fastback-like glasshouse and a concave rear window.

Although the C6 didn’t catch on commercially — only 23,400 units were built until 2012 — it became an emblematic vehicle of the mid-2000s and is often regarded as Citroen’s last bold attempt in terms of production cars. The new C6 has nothing in common with its predecessor and according to Citroen it will only be sold in China as the company’s range-topping sedan. More on that and what it brings to the table in our full review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Citroen C6.

  • 2016 Citroen C6
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    197
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7/10

Exterior

2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674051

Unfortunately for fans of bold Citroen designs, the new C6 is a massive departure from its predecessor styling-wise, and it looks rather mundane next to the executive built between 2005 and 2012. The C6’s design is in line with recent Citroen products, featuring clean and smooth surfaces and a wide stance, typical to vehicles conceived for the premium market.

As far as dimensions go, the new C6 is nearly five meters (196.8 inches) long, 1,840 mm (72.4 inches) wide, and 1,470 mm (57.8 inches) tall.

Although far from impressive, the C6’s styling sports a few interesting features worth mentioning. First up is the large chrome grille and the "Citroen" crest that runs above and stretches into the headlamps. The latter are pushed as close as possible to the front wheels, as are the fog lamps and the C-shaped DRLs, giving the sedan a wide stance. The rear section is less striking to look it, but the taillight cluster configuration, the chrome strip, and the concave window, a Citroen trademark since the 1980s, makes it look pretty fancy for a French vehicle.

As far as dimensions go, the new C6 is nearly five meters (196.8 inches) long, 1,840 mm (72.4 inches) wide, and 1,470 mm (57.8 inches) tall. Its wheelbase measures 2,900 mm (114.1 inches), an impressive figure given the overall length.

While I can’t deny Citroen’s claim that the C6 has a premium appearance, I can’t help but notice that the C6 looks like a bloated Volkswagen Passat when seen from the side. It’s probably because the profile is very generic, but it may also have to do with the fact that the front grille, headlamps, and taillights are also very similar to the German sedan’s. I’m not saying that the C6 is a Passat knock off, but I think that this sedan is a subpar Citroen in terms of exterior design. And, as a fan of the original C6, I definitely think that this four-door isn’t worthy of the name.

Side-by-side comparison

2016 Citroen C6
- image 674167

Interior

2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Interior
- image 674044
2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Interior
- image 674046
2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Interior
- image 674047

While the C6’s exterior is far from impressive, the interior deserves a lot of praise. Not only does it look as good as any premium offering from the likes of BMW and Audi, but it also features Citroen’s latest technology and a massive amount of luxury features.

The design of the dashboard is clean and simple, but the brown, perforated leather and the brushed aluminum trim gives it a classy feel. Both the dash and the door panels incorporate quite a bit of plastic, but the added leather, aluminum, contrast stitching, and piano black inserts saves them from looking cheap. The center console is highlighted by a large chunck of real wood (with a nice, rich grain), while the seats are wrapped in Nappa leather.

More goodies on the list include a panoramic sunroof with additional ambient lighting, and large storage areas in the center console.

The instrument cluster is simple yet modern, and the blue light in the background gives it a sporty appearance. Speaking of sportiness, the steering wheel comes with a flat bottom, but it’s not overly aggressive.

Moving over to creature comfort, the C6 is equipped with four-zone climate control, ventilated seats, and massage functions for all four seats. Citroen doesn’t say whether the latter is standard and I have a hunch customers will need to check an options box for that, but it’s downright impressive for a vehicle in this class to have a feature reserved for Rolls-Royces and Maybachs.

More goodies on the list include a panoramic sunroof with additional ambient lighting, and large storage areas in the center console. Also, Citroen brags that the C6’s interior volume and trunk space are "among the best in the market." No actual figures are provided, but given the 2.9-meter wheelbase, the statement is likely to be more than just PR talk.

The French didn’t have much to say about the technology behind the sedan, but did mention that the C6 is equipped with adaptive cruise control, stop/start, Active Safety Brake Vision, 360-degree camera, and a road sign reading system. More details are set to be unveiled closer to the car’s market launch.

Drivetrain

2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674052

Citroen had nothing to say about the C6’s drivetrain, but it’s safe to assume, given that it was specifically developed for the Chinese market, that it will use a couple of four-cylinder engines. My best guess is that the C6 will get the 1.6-liter gasoline unit from the DS5 LS, most likely the one with 197 horsepower, but other powerplants are also on the table. I wouldn’t bet on the C6 getting the 3.0-liter V-6, which is available in both gasoline and diesel forms in the C5, though. I’ll be back to update this section as soon as Citroen spills the beans.

Prices

Pricing information is obviously not available at this point, but as the range-topping sedan in Citroen’s Chinese lineup, it should cost more than the C5, which is priced from CNY192,900 (about $29,715). Actually, the executive is likely to become the most expensive Citroen in China and outgun the Grand C4 Picasso, currently the most expensive model in the country, which a sticker set at CNY229,800 (around $35,390).

Competition

Volkswagen Phideon

2017 Volkswagen Phideon
- image 667568

About the same size as the C6, the Phideon is slated to become Volkswagen’s range-topping sedan in China for the 2017 model year. Designed to match Volkswagen’s current styling language, the Phideon brings together design cues seen on both the new Passat and the C Coupe GTE concept. It can seat up to five people and offers generous legroom for rear passengers, along with ventilated and heated seats that also have a massage function. The sedan gets its juice from a turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 296 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, but a 2.0-liter turbo-four and a hybrid drivetrain will be offered later on. Pricing information is not yet available.

Find out more about the Volkswagen Phideon here.

Audi A6L

2016 - 2018 Audi A6 High Resolution Exterior
- image 577164
Audi is already moving to the 2016 model year, as it will unveil the slightly revised 2016 A6 at the 2015 LA Auto Show.

Citroen will also be looking to steal customers from Audi and its A6L. Featuring a slightly longer wheelbase than the standard model, the A6L is available with four engines. The range begins with the 1.8-liter turbo-four rated at 138 horsepower. Next up is the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter V-6, which cranks out 148 horses. More power comes from the 3.0-liter V-6 which can be had with either 197 or 242 horsepower. Pricing for the A6L starts from CNY415,300 (about $63,960), which is significantly more than what the C6 is expected to cost, but the Audi features the nicer luxury features, the sportier underpinnings, and Quattro all-wheel drive.

Read more about the Audi A6L here.

Conclusion

2016 Citroen C6 High Resolution Exterior
- image 674050

While spectacular on the inside, with features you don’t normally expect from a mainstream Citroen, the C6 is somewhat disappointing on the outside. Not just because it wears the name of a car that became famous for its bold styling, but also because the overall design is rather mundane for an executive car. Sure, I do get the fact that most automakers are gunning for the inconspicuous look nowadays, but a range-topping Citroen deserves more than that given the company’s tradition with unusual yet innovative designs. However, the biggest disappointment here is that the C6 is a China-only vehicle and won’t be sold in Europe. Likewise, we won’t see it in the U.S., where Citroen has yet to return despite recent rumors. Details surrounding the C6 are still scant, but Citroen’s new sedan sounds promising and it looks like it might have what it takes to give the new Volkswagen Phideon a run for its money.

  • Leave it
    • Disappointing exterior design
    • Not sold outside China
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