The Citroën C6 has always intrigued us at CAR. We’re the sort to see merit in unusual choices and in the C6 we see character in spades. You have to look past numerous shortcomings – and there are plenty – but its very idiosyncrasy, the sense of other, is what makes it stand out in our view.
Not many Brits are convinced of our argument, sadly, Citroën selling just 134 last year. Now a newly fettled engine line-up is a good excuse to reappraise the C6 range, and here we drive the new top-dog V6. In line with its Jaguar Land Rover siblings, the turbodiesel has swollen from 2.7 to 3.0 litres in capacity with a healthy jump in power and torque with around a 13% decrease in emissions and consumption. Neat.
So what’s new on the C6?
Not much else, to be honest. The old C6 2.7 V6 was always a nearly car – I ran CAR’s long-termer back in 2006 and it tickled our fancy while never quite sealing class honours. Can the new 3.0 V6 improve matters?
Performance is certainly sprightly, and it feels as quick as the 8.9sec 0-62mph claim. But the C6 has never been about neck-snapping acceleration. This is a car in which to waft, and this is a discipline in which the C6 excels. Plentiful torque keeps the big Citroën saloon lively and the six-speed auto ‘box slurs the gearchanges well.
In line with its relaxed character, the C6 maintains a soft, pillowy ride. This exec rolls and pitches like a dinghy in a swell, but it’s all part of the experience. I’ve never approved of the Sport button in the C6 and its intervention just ruins the pliant ride. And don’t go expecting any feel whatsoever from the strangely disconnected steering.
A Citroën exec… is the interior taken from the C4?
Tsk, tsk. Not at all. The C6 features all sorts of niceties you won’t find on the C4, including a head-up display and some really lovely slidey-up-and-down door cupboards. No button-enabled static steering wheel boss, though.
But the interior of the C6 remains its biggest letdown. While the outside design delights with its pleasingly long nose, distinctive forms and lovely concave rear window, the cabin just can’t match that drama. Materials are ok, but the centre console in particular is betraying its age now; it’s like they loaded up the button blunderbluss and just fired it at the centre stack. Those used to Audi/BMW/Merc quality will be disappointed.
So who’s going to buy the Citroën C6?
Good question. The V6 tested here is pricey at nearly £38k, but don’t forget you can pick the smaller 2.2 diesel (there are no petrols) for a more reasonable £34,795. It might be a cliché to say it, but the best C6 might be one that’s already been ravaged by depreciation and you can pick up any number of three-year-old cars for £13k.
I’m glad the C6 exists and remember it as the first of the modern Citroëns to turn the corner. It marked the start of the French firm’s resurgence, in my view. But I’m left wondering if it wouldn’t work better rebranded as a DS6? After all, the C6 is positively bristling with the genes of the modern DS sub-brand and that badge might help place it more accurately.