WHILE its outlandish avant-garde looks are undoubtedly a huge talking point, there’s something else about Citroën’s new flagship C6 that is just as outstanding – it costs £37,000.
Yes, that’s right, nearly £40,000 for a car from a volume brand.
For all of Citroën’s marketing speak about how the car will be sold in small numbers to retain exclusivity and provide a ‘stand-out’ choice in the executive sector, there’s no getting away from the fact that the C6, especially here in top-spec diesel guise, represents a large wad of cash.
But, argues Citroën, to equip rivals from Audi, BMW et al to the same level as the C6 would cost many thousands of pounds.
Fair point, but at this price level you can choose from top-spec German models that have all the kit drivers really need.
Despite the extra toys in the C6 – such as head-up display, active suspension, separate climate control in the rear, sat-nav and lane departure warning system – you have to wonder if this is enough to outweigh the brand snobbery that is so prevalent in the UK.
Ultimately, it isn’t, and just a few hundred C6s will find their way across La Manche each year. For those drivers who do take the plunge, there is much to recommend in Citroën’s flagship – luxury, eye-catching looks and an extremely refined diesel engine (it’s the same 208bhp 2.7-litre twin-turbo V6 unit as found under the bonnet of the Jaguar XJ and S-type).
For the purpose of wafting businesspeople around in utter comfort, it ticks every box.
While the steering is over-assisted and feels vague – much like that in the Audi A6 – the six-speed automatic gearbox and engine make a great combination, giving seamless acceleration, a healthy dose of mid-range torque and low noise intrusion into the cabin.
The ride is supple in comfort mode but becomes bumpier when sport is selected, although this does firm up the dampers to keep the car flatter during cornering.
It makes for effortless driving, allowing drivers to cover huge distances in a relaxed manner – all the while cocooned in a sumptuous cabin featuring swathes of leather, wood and chrome.
With the C6, Citroën set out to offer executives ‘a luxury car that would provide excellent value for money compared to its German rivals’.
I’m not sure if this statement lost something in translation from the French, or if the finance department got a little confised in converting euros to pounds, but the simple fact remains that at this price level the C6 is outclassed in brand appeal.
Lovely car it may be, but it will be a car chosen only by the most extrovert of executives – that’s if fleet managers will consider it in the first place due to its wholelife costs performance (see right).
P11D value: £37,592
CO2 emissions (g/km): 230
BIK % of P11D in 2006: 28%
Graduated VED rate: £215
Insurance group: 18
Combined mpg: 32.5
CAP RV (3yr/60k): £12,050/32%
Monthly lease (3yr/60k): £787
We don’t like:
THREE RIVALS TO CONSIDER
THESE top-of-the-range executive saloons are evenly matched on price and spec, although the Audi looks very good value, undercutting the Mercedes-Benz by £1,500. The C6 is the most expensive Citroën by a huge margin and is ambitiously priced against its prestige rivals.
EMISSIONS AND TAX RATES
THE E-class offers drivers the lowest benefit-in-kind tax bills, costing a 40% taxpayer £371 a month. Close behind is the BMW on £376. It’s then a big jump to the Audi, which costs £415 – its four-wheel drive weight hurts emissions. The C6 is the most expensive at £438.
LOWER labour rates at Citroën dealerships help the C6 to the win here – costing a fleet 4.95 pence per mile, or £2,970, in service, maintenance and repair bills over three years/60,000 miles. The prestige three cost more due to their higher labour rates.
C6: 4.95 (ppm) £2,970 (60,000 miles total)
A6: 5.10 £3,060
530d: 5.76 £3,456
E320: 6.32 £3,792
THE E-class is the most fuel efficient car here, with Mercedes-Benz claiming it will return 38.7mpg on the combined cycle for a diesel spend of just over £7,000 over 60,000 miles. The C6 is last, returning an average of 32.5mpg for a fuel bill of nearly £8,400.
E320: 11.73 £7,038
530d: 12.04 £7,224
A6: 13.51 £8,106
C6: 13.97 £8,382
THIS is the C6’s biggest problem area – Citroën as a brand just cannot compete with its prestige rivals. CAP predicts that the C6 will retain 32% of its cost new after three years/ 60,000 miles, compared with 38% for the Audi and Mercedes-Benz and 41% for the BMW.
A6: 36.46 £21,876
530d: 36.87 £22,122
E320: 37.89 £22,734
C6: 42.27 £25,362
THE C6 is more than 6ppm off the pace of the leader here and nearly all of the running costs damage was in the depreciation sector. With a high front-end price and low RV, the Citroën can’t compete. There is just over a penny per mile between the Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
530d: 54.67 £32,802
A6: 55.07 £33,042
E320: 55.94 £33,564
C6 61.19 £36,714
THE Citroën is out of its depth here and comes a distant fourth on wholelife costs, which leaves the usual suspects. All three are close in financial terms, and all three will make an excellent choice for executives.
They appeal in different ways, though – the A6 looks great and the interior styling and quality is top-notch, the 5-series is fantastic to drive and looks menacing in M Sport trim. But thanks to the recent revisions, the E-class is massively improved and to me now represents the best all-rounder in the sector.
C6 video - good walkaround footage, but afraid narration is in German