Citroën’s latest C5 has gained itself a strong reputation for top refinement, and now the French maker is going one better with the installation of a new 3.0-litre V6 HDi engine, developing 237bhp. It can already be found under the snout of the Jaguar XF and Peugeot 407 Coupé, and has been born out of a joint venture between Ford and PSA Peugeot- Citroën. It’s a development of the previous 2.7-litre unit, but it now pumps out another 32bhp, and 7lb ft of extra torque.
Kitted out in top-of-the-range Exclusive trim, you really want for nothing, with a full compliment of safety and luxury equipment. The design of the dashboard is pleasing, with plenty of soft touch plastics and a quality feel. It’s easy to get a comfortable driving position, thanks to seemingly endless adjustment from the electric and heated leather seats. On a 1,000 mile dash across to the Frankfurt motor show and back, the armchair-like pews proved comfortable and supportive, with both driver and passenger emerging fresh after an almost non-stop seven hour journey. As you would expect from a large family saloon, there’s plenty of room everywhere you look, with generous amounts of leg, shoulder and headroom. Boot space is class competitive, although the fourdoor layout limits versatility compared to hatchback rivals. There’s always the Tourer, though, if space is a priority.
Out on the road, the C5 is at its best when it’s eating up the miles as a motorway cruiser. The hydropneumatic suspension delivers supreme ride comfort, soaking up bumps with ease, though not at the expense of agility. Grip levels are high and the handling is safe and predictable once you’ve got used to the unique Citroën-esque soft steering. All of the C5’s forbearers have had a similar, over assisted nature, and within a few miles, it’s something that you get used to. The six-speed automatic gearbox offers silky gear changes, while a quick squirt of the right pedal produces plenty of overtaking power. With all that performance available, you could be forgiven for thinking that the C5 V6 HDi would be pretty heavy on fuel, yet on the combined cycle it can still achieve 38.2mpg, while producing 195g/km of CO2. This is 28g/km less than its 2.7-litre predecessor.
By virtue of the steep list price, and the large V6 engine, this car is going to be a rare sight on UK roads. And that’s a real shame, as this big Citroën is an utter delight to drive and travel in. It’s well finished, looks smart, and comes with exceptionally high equipment levels. Don’t forget that it costs several thousands of pounds less than similar models from the upmarket German marques, too.
RIVALS: ALFA ROMEO 159 2.4 JTDM LUSSO QTRONIC, AUDI A4 3.0 TDI QUATTRO EXECUTIVE SE AUTO, BMW 330D SE AUTO
- Engine: 2993cc, V6, turbodiesel with particulate filter
- Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
- Max power: 237bhp at 3,800rpm
- Max torque: 332lb ft at 1,600rpm
- Max towing weight: 1,650kg
- Max speed: 151mph
- 0-62mph: 8.0secs
- Combined consumption: 38.2mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 195g/km (J)
- Boot space: 504litres
- Insurance group: 16