Citroen C5 unveiled

Published: 18 October 2007

Citroen C5: the new one

Very nice indeed. When we first got the pictures of this, the new Citroen C5, most in the CAR office were very impressed. And we’re still impressed. The previous-generation C5 was so forgettable that even we had trouble remembering what it looked like. Perhaps we'd tried to blot its bloated shape from our minds; it might have been a cashback bargain in the UK and it wafted with the best, but it never, ever looked anything less than dull. This car shouldn’t suffer the same fault, and we’ll find out if the car drives as good as it looks when we get behind the wheel in spring 2008. Highlights on the new C5 including a fixed-hub steering wheel, Hydractive 3 Plus suspension, and of course those looks.

It looks just like the C5 Airscape concept…

It does, and in fact the production C5, which we scooped earlier this month, and the concept are all but identical from the A-pillars forward, including those large, chromed double chevrons on the chin. And that C6-esque, gloriously concave rear window is a winner, a real design flourish. The side has a rising crease line (BMW, anyone?) and at the back there are large, prominent rear lights on both the saloon and estate. At 4780mm long, 1860mm wide and 1450mm tall, the new C5 saloon is bigger but lower than the current car. It should be roomier inside, as its wheelbase is stretched out by 70mm.

The outside looks good but what about inside?

The C5 features the second-generation fixed-hub steering wheel, which has so far only been seen on the C4. The fixed hub allows the airbag to remain fixed and provide maximum protection for the driver. Controls for the radio, telephone, and speed limiter/cruise control (standard on all models) are all on the wheel. Seven airbags are standard. Not that the dash is exactly relieved of switchgear as a result though... there seem to be plenty of fiddly buttons still. One of the big questions is the quality of the interior - the C5 suffered legion electrical gremlins and never felt as well built as its mainstream competition. But Citroen's latest efforts have really moved the game on, and the C4 Picasso and its ilk are much better finished. Here's hoping for the C5.

And I can still get that crazy suspension, right?

You can, but conventional springs are fitted to basic models. It’s double wishbones at the front and multilink at the rear. The Hydractive 3 Plus maintains the vehicle at a constant height, whatever the road or load, and it also has a Sport mode. Should be handy on the stylish estate version (above). Three petrol engines and four diesel engines will be available. The petrols are a 1.8 (123bhp), a 2.0 (138bhp), and a 3.0 V6 (208bhp). The four diesels, all with a particulate filter as standard, will range from 107 to 201bhp. Hydractive suspension versions get an electronic parking brake and hill-start assist. A lane departure warning system and a parking gap sensor are also available, as are swivelling headlights and a new-generation sat-nav system with a 10Gb hard disk for your music. Citroen will no doubt claim it's culling its cashback policy, at least initially with the new C5, but still look for discounts, and look for it to be decently cheaper than the Mondeo. Sales kick off from £15,500 in May 2008, the estate following in August.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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