“Wow, what make of car is that …?” Difficult to say these days. With a few exceptions. There was a time once when each make of car had its own unique look. And there were (and still are) a number of faces in the crowd that stood out from all the rest – not least because of the design and arrangement of their headlights. Our mini-series will take a subjective look at some of the most spectacular designs and some of the weirdest, some long forgotten and some that are still on the roads today. The Citroën C6 is the last dinosaur in a French class that is dying out.
There’s a noticeable excess of French cars among the ones we’ve introduced here. For good reason. Various French manufacturers, above all Citroën, have always built avant-garde cars. After a short break, the C6 was supposed to revive this tradition. In 2005, following the DS, CX and XM, Citroën once again introduced a European executive car which was supposed to give the design of the big sedans a bit of a boost with a friendly nod towards its predecessors, rather unconventional design and pioneering technology. The C6 managed that brilliantly, with testers also giving it full marks for safety. If you catch a glimpse of it in your rear-view mirror, floating on its wonderful yet antiquated Hydractiv 3 chassis, it looks very different from all other cars. Wide, flat, with a long hood and possibly Osram Cool Blue INTENSE XENARC DS2 lamps in their adaptive headlights? In any case, people in forums rave about their light output.
When you first come across a C6 you won’t even notice many of its features, big or small. It’s good to know that the hood pops up a good 6 cm if the car hits a pedestrian, preventing them from falling on the hard engine block – but don’t try that at home. If you veer off the road without first indicating (in other words if you’ve nodded off for a moment) your seat will instantly vibrate and, hopefully, wake you up. The concave rear window is reminiscent of the CX, with the overpressure this creates automatically cleaning off any dirt and raindrops. The frameless doors are reminiscent of the DS and look simply great when you open them. The small protuberances at the rear which house the rear lights, divide opinion, as do the long snout and the unusual interior design. Well, it’s Citroën. It’s different, what can I say. Personally, I think it’s great and I never tire of looking at it.
After a bit more than 23,000 cars, production stopped in December 2012 without a successor. Are drivers no longer up for a bit of avant garde from France? Has driving changed so much? I don’t know. I already miss the quirky sedans and every time I see one in my rear-view mirror, I move over and let this magic carpet glide past. The people behind the wheel almost always look happy. Wherever it appears, the C6 turns heads. That’s how children would draw a car. Brilliant. Those who now say, hold on, the “successor” is still built in China, may be right … but it’s as European as a European car can be. Smooth and lacking in charm. Well, let’s see what direction the grand new European, Emmanuel Macron, will take in France. After all, he will need an official state car!