And now, nearly 80 years later, the name is back, once again gracing a luxury GT which comes with a fair share of panache as standard.
This market is a well-travelled road for the French manufacturer, with models such as the legendary DS and SM, and the CX and XM.
And while some of these cars have made their way into the hearts of aficionados for their blend of style and technology, they haven’t all sold in big numbers in the UK.
And the same will be true of the new C6, on sale in UK next March. It is fair to say that Citroen doesn’t have high hopes for the car here, not because it lacks confidence in the C6, but more because it realises that this model has a very niche appeal.
Look in company car parks up and down the country and the majority of executive cars will be wearing a ‘Made in Germany’ sticker. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz between them have this sector sewn up thanks to their high brand appeal and the resulting strong residual values which ensure their models make a viable fleet buy.
Citroen knows it cannot compete with these offerings, so instead it is being realistic. Just a few hundred examples will find their way to the UK in 2006, with guide prices between £29,500 and £38,000.
Yes, you did read that right. Citroen is hoping that somewhere out there will be people willing to part with the thick end of £40,000 for a C6.
So what do you get for that amount of money? Obviously, you get a very stylish car, blending avantgarde lines which challenge convention in the sector. If your drivers want to stand out, then little can touch the C6 for impact.
Inside is a wealth of clever features, all designed to reinforce the C6’s position as a luxury and technical tour de force. Making its debut on a Citroen is a head-up display which projects various details such as speed and satellite navigation details into a space on the windscreen, meaning drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road to check information.
There’s also Citroen’s lane departure warning system, nine airbags (including an airbag for the driver’s knees), active suspension which can adjust the springs and dampers at the touch of a button and directional headlamps.
Another key safety feature is the active bonnet, which pops the bonnet up in front of the windscreen in the event of an impact to reduce injuries to pedestrians.
Naturally, leather, wood trim and heated electrically-adjustable seats are standard, as are laminated side windows, colour screen sat-nav, 10-speaker stereo and dual-zone air conditioning.
Top-spec cars will also be available with the option of a ‘Lounge Pack’ which includes air-conditioning controls and heated electrically-adjustable seats in the rear, as well as the ability to control the front passenger seat from the rear, making it ideal for businessmen who want to stretch their legs in the back.
Under the bonnet there’s a choice of two engines: either a 3.0-litre petrol V6 or the twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 diesel developed between PSA Peugeot Citroen and Ford.
Behind the wheel
FOR all its design and technical advancements, the C6 has relatively humble underpinnings. Its chassis is a stretched C5, mated to two engines which have already appeared elsewhere in the PSA Peugeot Citroen empire.
But the interior is far from humble, swathed in wood and leather and with enough gadgets to keep James Bond busy. There is a real quality feel too.
On the road the C6 makes effortless progress, especially in diesel guise. The V6 is a paragon of smoothness and delivers substantial mid-range acceleration. But it’s the lack of engine noise in the cabin which really impresses.
The ride is good, too. Even in comfort mode, the suspension doesn’t feel too wallowy, whereas in sport mode it firms things up just enough to make it feel sharp. Only the over-assisted steering spoils things, with little feel coming from the wheel.
SMOOTH, refined and well built – Citroen has delivered a convincing executive express. It is just a shame more drivers won’t get to experience it.
|Model:||3.0 V6||2.7 V6 HDi|
|Max power (bhp/rpm):||215/6,000||208/4,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):||214/3,750||325/1,900|
|Max speed (mph):||143||143|
|Fuel consumption (mpg):||25.2||32.5|
|CO2 emissions (g/km):||266||230|