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Citroen C6- The last great French luxury classic?

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patcrean406   
Sat May 07 2016, 01:37pm
Joined: Oct 12 2014
Member No: #1894
Location: laois
Citroen C6- The last great French luxury classic?

There is something mysterious about the big French executive saloon. The CX, XM, 604, 605, 607, Renault 25, Safrane and the Vel Satis. Not the car your likely see filling up in your local Topaz or parked in the Tesco Supermarket. Every so often I flick through the classifieds looking up these mysterious French chariots. Though tempted at the luxurious specs and bargain prices; I always talk some sense into myself before making that decisive phone call. Increasingly I’ve been drawn towards Citroen. The DS, CX and XM were all so individual and charismatic in their own ways. I often wonder what would it be like to own and run the 21st century version, the C6?

A 2008 2.7 HDI Exclusive has caught my eye on the Irish classified site donedeal.ie for €8500. Less than 10 grand, for a car that once retailed at a staggering €85,000 is a bargain in anyone’s language. I begin to think to myself at that price, it’s worth a punt. Thankfully some bit of common sense kicks in. This car is a 6 cylinder diesel, with a tax bill of €1400 per annum. The running costs and maintenance on such an expensive beast would cause me to file for bankruptcy. In other words it is a stupid idea.

In spite of this, I continually keep checking to make sure the car is still there. On Saturday morning I nearly choke on my cereal as I check my smartphone. The car has dropped to €6500. Now my heart really is overruling my head. I ring and offer €5000 and the owner doesn’t hang up. This is madness. I’m going to end up with this enormous, eccentric Citroen with a complicated, peculiar hydraulic suspension and as many sensors and expensive gadgets as a Boeing 747. I couldn’t hope to afford to fix it if something drastic breaks. At the end of the day, I’m a school teacher not the president of France. I should be buying something sensible like a Clio or Fiesta.

Strangely however my biggest concern is about the style of the car and the presence of the car. Big Citroens have always been so left field, so alternative and above all else comfortable. Even the XM, despite being conceived after big brother Peugeot had taken over was still one of the most distinctive cars in the world. What about the C6? This may be a comfortable car, a lavish car, a car alive with technology. But will it be a future classic?

Despite the odd appearance here and there, I must confess to never actually seeing a C6 up close and in the flesh. The first thing that hits me as the seller arrives in our meet up point is the presence of the car. In 2015 Ireland with a road network of German dominance and forgettable styling, the C6 stands out. As the seller pulls up there is already a sense of occasion.

I give the car a thorough inspection for dents, scratches and accident damage. I do the usual checks of engine oil, coolant and all the other fluids (including the famous hydraulic fluid, which I learn is now called LDS and is pink rather than the older green LHM fluid of older Citroens). The car is dirty and the wheels have been curbed quite badly. The cruise control and air conditioning aren’t working and there is the odd flash from the engines particle filter light. I take a quick test drive around the carpark and decide that I’m in love. At a sale price of €5000 there should be plenty in the kitty to sort these niggling problems (At least that’s I keep telling myself). Worryingly though the seller takes the money and runs.

Before departing I take some more time to study and admire my new purchase. That CX inspired concave rear windshield is something few other automakers would have the courage to try today. In the flesh, the whole car with its long bonnet and flowing lines looks elegant, graceful and pleasing to the eye. With its four pillarless doors taken from the DS and the fancy head up display, the C6 screams out exotica. In fact I’d like to think of as being closer to the Maserati Quadrapporti rather than a BMW 5 Series or Audi A6. Of course I’m being a little bias here. But in my head in terms of style and design that is needed to make it a classic, the C6 has it in abundance.

I’ve been reading up on the Suspension of the car. It comes with the same double wishbone suspension of the Peugeot 407. Sure enough there is also the traditional hydralic suspension but is this merely for show? Is this a glorified Peugeot that has been tuned for handling rather than comfort? There is only one way to find out. I travel back on the R408, a stretch of road between Maynooth and Naas, it’s as close to the Mille Miglia as I’ll find today.

On the move the car feels tight and sticks to the twisty bends well. Even on the tightest corner at high speed, the car stays flat and controllable. This is encouraging particularly as the car has covered over 100,000 miles. But where the C6 excels is over the rough stuff. I hit a section of potholes and poor surface on the entry to a tight corner. The car graces over it with ease. The car has a perfect blend of firmness and comfort. As a car for the poorly maintained Irish road network, it’s as close to perfect as you can get.

What about the power? Despite having 210bhp, this is no supercar. The car is too heavy and is loaded with an endless supply of luxury gadgets and safety equipment. My favourite of all is the ‘head up display’ which makes me feel like I’m in Top Gun. The torquey six cylinder allows you to waft along rather than set the world alight. In essence the C6 is the ultimate mile muncher. There is no wind noise at all and the car is so well sound proofed that I want to take the longer way home, just to spend more time in it. Really the C6 is the type of car, where you finish your business meeting in Paris at on a Friday at 6pm, arriving in St Tropez at Midnight, fresh and relaxed. The power delivery from the V6 is effortless and sustained, while the gear changes are silky smooth. My only criticism is that there is a hint of turbo lag when initially starting off and pulling out from a side road. Perhaps an engine remap at some stage might sort this?

I have to pull over to have another look at it. Once parked up I can’t help lowering the suspension to give the mean look. If this was parked up at a Max Power festival it would make any boy racer with a lowered Civic envious with jealousy. I keep getting out toexplore the outside. But is this because I’m avoiding the cabin?

Sure the inside is comfortable and packed with goodies such as voice control, electric heated seats front and rear, head up display, sports buttons etc. All the gadgets that will make the C6 a challenging car to run as a classic in years to come. However there is no avoiding it. The cabin doesn’t live up to expectations that the outside portrays. I have a dislike towards the fake timber that surrounds the dash. It actually looks worse than the inside of a 1970’s fishing boat. The radio control and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel are also worn and look very second hand. But these are minor details. The seats are super comfortable and arm chair like. If I wasn’t buying the cheapest C6 that I could find, I would opt for the cream leather and dash option. From studying pictures and reviewing videos, it appears to be a much more aesthetically pleasing cabin to be in.

Certainly the C6 is much more main stream than the DS and CX. Gone is the one prong steering, the soft seats, the quirky indicator switches, the green LHM operated brakes and self- centred steering to name a few. However in the 21st century where manufacturers are afraid to stand out and build something individual, the C6 is a breath of fresh air. Love it or hate it, it’s got presence, grace and exclusivity. Only 23,384 were built in its 8 year lifespan. This is miniscule when compared to the production numbers of the DS (1.5 million), the CX (1.2 million) and the Xm (333,775). Nowadays there is no Saab 95, no Lancia Thema, no Alfa 166, no Rover 75. If you want something as an alternative to a German luxury car, your options are very limited.

I’m glad that I have finally managed to get one of the 1,200 right hand drives C6 ever built. With the creation of the new DS brand by PSA this will most likely go down as the last great big Citroen. Indeed with Peugeot dropping the 607 and Renault the Vel Satis this could perhaps be the last great big luxury French car. From a country that was responsible for Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye and Facel Vega, the C6 could be the final classic. Like all luxury complex cars, buying it is the easy part, running it and living with it on a daily basis may prove to be a different story.
10 User said Thank You to patcrean406 for this Post :
 gmerry (07 May 2016) , Trainman (07 May 2016) , cruiserphil (07 May 2016) , CitroenMan (07 May 2016) , Tjensen (08 May 2016) , Hattershaun (08 May 2016) , eke (08 May 2016) , Leo (10 May 2016) , C6 DEN (04 June 2016) , karpis (11 November 2018)
Trainman   
Sat May 07 2016, 02:46pm

Joined: Apr 12 2010
Member No: #86
Location: Penwortham
I ask any C6 owner 3 questions:

1. How many times do you catch yourself looking back at it when you walk away?

2. How many times do you catch yourself slowing down to look at it a plate glass window as you drive by?

3. (which I suspect your doing now) Does it give you the "smile factor"?
cruiserphil   
Sat May 07 2016, 03:20pm

Joined: Jan 24 2010
Member No: #38
Location: Celbridge
Congrats on your purchase Pat!

Best regards,

Phil C.
C6Chester   
Sat May 07 2016, 08:09pm
Joined: Aug 10 2015
Member No: #2287
Location: Chester
Love this review! And also, to Trainman, I always do all 3 of those things with my C6!

Also, I don't think the C6 necessarily 'bankrupts' people. Perhaps I'm talking a little too soon, but I'm a student on minimum wage and am doing okay with mine. Yeah, it's had quite a few problems and every single penny I earn is spent on fixing those and saving up for the £500 a year tax, but 8 months after buying it, I still think its worth all of it!
kfairgray   
Sat May 07 2016, 09:25pm
Joined: Mar 14 2016
Member No: #2555
Location: South Pacific
Hello: A great post Pat. I especially like the part where you say:

...and as many sensors and expensive gadgets as a Boeing 747. I couldn’t hope to afford to fix it if something drastic breaks. At the end of the day, I’m a school teacher not the president of France. I should be buying something sensible like a Clio or Fiesta.

As for me, I've never owned a sensible car in my life... I've just turned 50 and I told every one that I am not about to start now [purchasing sensible cars] fortunately my wife understands

Enjoy your new vehicle Pat. When you are behind the wheel you can be whoever you want to be: King, President, Rock Star or Billionaire - it is up to you!
Norman   
Sun May 08 2016, 07:04am
Joined: Feb 06 2011
Member No: #364
Location: Huddersfield
You will find that you will always take the long way round no matter where you go just for the immense pleasure you get from the driving experience, enjoy!,
FraserG   
Mon May 09 2016, 12:37am
Joined: Jan 05 2015
Member No: #2011
Location: Auckland
Excellent Pat,

I hadn't realised that there were only 1200 right hand drive C6's - is that correct? We are very exclusive!

I agree with your observations regarding the cream leather which I really like even though the seats aren't as comfortable and soft as my CX's and DS were. The cream leather also has the advantage of not burning your backside when you climb aboard in summer. A problem in New Zealand at least! The wood look doesn't bother me too much but it certainly isn't a Mark 2 Jaguar.

Trainman's three questions sum it up for me. Once again he is bang on!

Enjoy, Fraser
1 User said Thank You to FraserG for this Post :
 pattersonoxford (09 May 2016)
pattersonoxford   
Mon May 09 2016, 09:38am
Joined: Feb 09 2010
Member No: #48
Location: Oxford
I bought my C6 in 2008, a 2006 ex-Citroen UK management car with 6,700 on the clock. 31,000 miles later, I've had 8 years of enjoyment with only a couple of minor issues (leaking front right shock and squeaking alternator pulley replaced) and "consumables" (tyres/brakes). And a new battery (the original lasted 10 years). Always passes MOT, always serviced at Citroen dealer (Hartwells Abingdon). Still enjoy seeing people staring at the car as I drive through Oxford (and lip reading them saying "W T F was that?"
keithc   
Mon May 09 2016, 10:03am
Joined: Apr 03 2016
Member No: #2584
Location: Kildare
Fantastic post Pat! I too have just bought a 2008 C6 2.7 Hdi Exclusive, have it three weeks now. Only problem is I have only driven it home the day I bought it as it had no tax etc. I am planning to transfer insurance this Friday and will be doing a 320 mile trip in it over the weekend. I cannot wait! I keep looking out the window at it and keep hopping into it (front and back!) to feel the comfy seats! Oh and washing it so as its not dirty! (even though its not being driven!!)

I too am slightly worried about running costs but its a car I've always wanted, you only live once, and I know I'll always regret it if I never had one. So I've taken the plunge!
321dave   
Mon May 09 2016, 06:29pm
Joined: Sep 09 2011
Member No: #614
Location: Dublin
keithc wrote ...

Fantastic post Pat! I too have just bought a 2008 C6 2.7 Hdi Exclusive, have it three weeks now. Only problem is I have only driven it home the day I bought it as it had no tax etc. I am planning to transfer insurance this Friday and will be doing a 320 mile trip in it over the weekend. I cannot wait! I keep looking out the window at it and keep hopping into it (front and back!) to feel the comfy seats! Oh and washing it so as its not dirty! (even though its not being driven!!)

I too am slightly worried about running costs but its a car I've always wanted, you only live once, and I know I'll always regret it if I never had one. So I've taken the plunge!


Well done Pat & Keith,
I was a bit nervous myself but like everybody who buys a large luxury car with a good few mile under it, it's initially going to be potentially a little bit upsetting. But if the car is eventually well cared for and all the weaknesses are inspected by idir yourself or a good mechanic all will be very good in the end.

The only issue is how much work needs to be done until it's become one or indeed a great C6.
My own experience is of a mechanically ok car that needed a fair bit of servicing to get it driving well, but a good car electrically. All working well (touch wood), but also a car that needs a fair bit still to be done aesthetically, new parts for the interior and exterior (plastic chrome) all over and new ends for the 4 doors etc.
But two years after purchasing the car it is slowly being restored in every way. Another year or two to go, before its overhauled fully. That's the general plan, but we know what happens to them. Hope you both enjoy the cars this summer. Congratulations again.

321dave.





1 User said Thank You to 321dave for this Post :
 keithc (11 May 2016)
Leo   
Wed May 11 2016, 03:55pm
Joined: Apr 20 2010
Member No: #94
Location: Belfast
Well said Pat.

Enjoy the car - I have just completed my 7th year with mine. I have never kept a car for as long which must mean something good. Every time I consider a change, I realise that there is simply nothing else out there quite like it.

Leo
2 User said Thank You to Leo for this Post :
 keithc (11 May 2016) , cruiserphil (13 May 2016)
 

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