Publication date: 18 August 2006
Citroen C6

Citroen C6


Review - In late 2005, the Citroën C6 was introduced. But almost immediately, demand for Citroën's new flagship was higher than expected. For months, the car was only available in France. The wildest rumours circulated as to why the C6 was not available in other countries. Now all speculation comes to an end: Citroën's new flagship model is available throughout Europe and it is finally time to test drive it. Does the C6 live up to expectations?

Expectations were so high because in its long history Citroën has built a special reputation when it comes to luxury cars. Like no other, Citroën dared to choose its own direction. As a result, some inventions only became commonplace decades later. Some style features were so progressive that old Citroëns still do not look outdated.

Citroen C6

The C6 also manages to stand out from the crowd with a bold and successful design. The rear in particular is a piece of modern art on wheels, with a concave rear window and narrow curved taillights. This does come at the expense of the tailgate, as the gigantic boot is only accessible through a small opening. The elongated line of the side looks a lot like the elegant CX from the 1980s.

Chauffeured Citroën

The interior is at least as quirky as the exterior. The C6 is not a traditional float of chrome and burr walnut, but it is instantly recognisable as an extremely luxurious car. The design, materials used and appearance are on par with those of a Jaguar, Mercedes or BMW; albeit Citroën throws in a certain French flair that its rivals do not offer.

Citroen C6
Citroen C6

The C6 is not just a luxury car, this largest Citroën is also meant for dignitaries to be driven. Because the right front seat is adjustable from the back seat, it is possible to sit in the back with legs stretched out.

All seats are heated and upholstered in leather. Even the shape and way of upholstering is different from each other. The seats are fine, because despite all the contrariness, Citroën has not lost sight of the practical element.


The practicality is both the C6's weakest and strongest point. Unfortunately, the car is not half as revolutionary as luxury Citroëns of the glorious past. In fact, the C4 is far more innovative than the C6. For instance, the C6 simply unlocks and starts with a key, the core of the steering wheel rotates with the rim, displays are not semi-translucent and occupants are not welcomed with a perfume.

This is not to say that the C6 is an average car, far from it. The digital speedometer is traditionally found behind the steering wheel, but the speed is also projected against the windscreen so that it appears to float in front of the bonnet. This is more pleasant for the eyes as they don't have to alternately focus on the clocks close by and the traffic far away.

„As befits a true Citroën, the C6 is different, quirky and opinionated“

The air-conditioning system does not have a nice smell, but it is separated left/right and front/rear. Moreover, this climate control system is made so that a gentle breeze is always blown into the interior instead of a cutting polar wind.

The audio system is contemporary, as the CD changer plays CD-ROMs containing mp3 files. A socket for an external mp3 player can be found in the glovebox. In the process, much attention has been paid to sound quality. The sound is not comparable to that of a hi-fi system in the living room, but the sound is much better than that in many a car. Less attention has unfortunately been paid to the combined telephony and sat nav system. This works, but is significantly less advanced than those of other brands.

Citroen C6

Further features of the C6 include xenon headlights, an electrically operated parking brake (which does not automatically release when setting off) and Citroën's "Lane Departure Warning System" that warns when a line on the road is crossed.

Another safety novelty is the active bonnet: in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the bonnet rises 65 mm, cushioning the fall and preventing the victim from coming into direct contact with the hard parts under the bonnet.


Under the high-tech bonnet is a petrol or diesel engine. Both have six cylinders and have a displacement of about three litres. The petrol engine has the mighty choked sound befitting a car like this. Apart from this soft growl, noises from the tyres or driving wind are hardly audible, if at all.

The petrol-engined C6 performs well, but does so in a peculiar way. This voiture is normally a calm car that easily keeps up with other traffic. However, there is hardly any reserve at hand, whereas luxury cars like this are generally so vastly overpowered that the slightest movement of the throttle is good for a burst of acceleration.

Citroen C6

The C6's 215 horsepower only lets itself be spurred on when the throttle is pressed to the floor in one resolute movement. The six-speed automatic transmission then selects a lower gear, on which this big Citroën eventually performs well.

In sport mode, the automatic gearbox has a more eager character, but this does not improve comfort. At the same time, in city driving, the automatic has a will of its own: just before the car comes to a stop, one can clearly feel how the first gear is selected. This creates a disturbing ripple in the otherwise smooth driveline. Fortunately, these imperfections can be resolved by changing gears yourself, as the automatic gives the driver the freedom to shift sequentially him or herself.


The reason why great Citroëns of the past achieved almost legendary status is the chassis. Citroën does not use a traditional suspension for its top models, but a proprietary system based on gas pressure. Its effect is clear from the first metre. However, the "Hydractive" chassis takes some getting used to. Initially, the C6 is so soft that the car seems to sway. When cornering, the wheels always remain firmly and securely on the ground, but because the C6 almost floats, it takes the driver some time to gain confidence in it.

With the push of a button, the C6 shows a more sporty character and handling is similar to other cars. But the longer the test drive with the C6 lasts, the better the chassis can prove. Especially on bad road surfaces, the effect is astonishing; the harder one drives over cobbles, the more beautifully the C6 smoothes the road surface. This makes this C6 a real limousine: this car is so comfortable that long distances seem shorter.

Citroen C6


Citroën has kept its clientele in suspense for a long time, but the C6 is worth the wait. This new top model from Citroën brilliantly stands up to comparison with toppers from other brands. Its equipment and comfort are comparable to those of other luxury cars. The performance of the petrol engine lags slightly behind the competition.

As befits a true Citroën, the C6 is different, quirky and opinionated. However, the revolution fails to materialise: the C6 offers no futuristic technology or ground-breaking design that will still be innovative in a long time. In short: the Citroën C6 is sane, but the very top model from Citroën should actually be a bit insane.

  • Exclusive
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Very spacious, also in the rear
  • Not as revolutionary as its predecessors
  • Unpleasantly shifting automatic transmission
  • Mediocre navigation and communication system