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Car reviews - Citroen - C5 - range

Launch Story

Citroen logo5 Sep 2008

By GEORGIA OCONNELL

CITROEN has taken direct aim at Europe’s most established premium mid-sized models with its second-generation C5 range, which goes on sale in Australia from this Saturday (September 6) as a diesel-only model for the first time.

To be available with the option of two bodystyles, two engines and two specification levels, the redesigned French mid-sizer is expected to attract some 400 customers this year and a further 1100 buyers in 2009 – some 60 per cent of which are forecast to be conquest sales.

The first-generation C5 model range was fundamental to the relaunch of the historic Citroen brand in Australia, attracting a high of 776 sales in 2003 following the C5 hatchback’s release here in June 2001 and the C5 Estate’s launch two months later.

Sales have dwindled to their lowest point in the model’s seven-year lifespan, however, with just 427 examples sold in 2007 and sales down 43.7 per cent so far this year with just 147 sold.

Combined with slower C3 and C4 hatch sales, Citroen will sell only about 3000 vehicles in 2007 (down from a high of 3803 in last year’s boom market and similar to 2005 levels), but hopes the new C5 will contribute to a new record total of 4000 sales in 2009. Year-to-date, Citroen Australia is 15.6 per cent down, with 1739 sales.

Despite the elimination of an entry-level 2.0-litre petrol model priced under $40,000, Citroen says the decision to go all-diesel with the new C5 range, which will open $10,000 higher at an unchanged $49,990 for the C5 2.0 HDi Comfort sedan, was easy because 85 per cent of current C5 sales were diesel versions.

Further, the remaining 15 per cent of sales comprised the discontinued 3.0-litre V6 petrol variant, which Citroen Australia says is eclipsed by the new C5’s headline engine, a 2.7-litre twin-turbocharged diesel V6.

Available only in Exclusive specification grade, the flagship 2.7 HDi pushes C5 sedan pricing to $62,990 – well upstream of both the $53,990 2.2 HDi twin-turbo and $55,990 3.0 V6 sedans it replaces.

For the first time, six-cylinder power is also available in the C5 wagon, which switches its name from Estate to Tourer and gives the C5 range a top-shelf pricetag of $65,740, for the C5 2.7 V6 HDi Exclusive Tourer.

The C5 2.0 HDi Comfort Tourer is priced just $750 higher than the C5 2.0 HDi SX Estate it replaces, while the C5 2.0 HDi Comfort sedan is expected to be the volume-selling C5 variant with 50 per cent of sales, followed by the 2.0 HDi Exclusive sedan ($54,990) at 30 per cent, and the 2.7 HDi Exclusive at 20 per cent. The sedan is expected to account for 70 per cent of sales.

The Exclusive grade is priced $5000 higher than the base Comfort level, the wagon bodystyle adds $2750 and the twin-turbo 2.7 V6 carries a further $8000 premium over the 2.0 HDi four-cylinder turbo-diesel. All new C5s will come as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Based on the same new foundations that underpins Citroen’s $100,000-plus luxury flagship, the C6 sedan, as well as sister brand Peugeot’s new 407 model range, the second-generation C5 eschews its predecessor’s five-door hatchback bodystyle for a more conventional four-door sedan with a boot.

Riding on a (70mm-longer) 2815mm wheelbase, the new C5 is bigger in every dimension, except height. The sedan is 1451mm high and now 4779mm long, while the Tourer is 1479mm high and now 4829mm long. The sedan’s boot holds 439 litres, while the wagon can handle up to1462 litres with the rear seats folded. All models have a 71-litre fuel tank.

The newest Citroen will in Europe be available with two (92kW 1.8 and 103kW 2.0-litre) four-cylinder petrol guises, plus the 155kW 3.0-litre petrol V6 and no fewer than four turbo-diesel engines – led by the 2.7 HDi V6 twin-turbo and also including 80kW, 100kW and 125kW four-pots.

Joining the carryover 2.0 HDi engine in Australia, the C5’s 2.720cc diesel V6, jointly developed by PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Ford, was first seen in the C6 and features twin variable-geometry turbochargers and a cast-iron engine block.

Like the 1997cc four-cylinder turbo-diesel 2.0 HDi engine, Citroen’s 2.7-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 meets Euro 4 emissions standards and features four valves per cylinder (for a total of 24), an 88mm cylinder stroke, 1650-bar common-rail injection system and variable-displacement turbocharging technology.

But while the 2.0 HDi develops 100kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm of torque from a low 2000rpm (340Nm in overboost mode), the 2.7 HDi V6 adds an extra two cylinders and a turbocharger to produce 150kW at the same 4000rpm plus a beefier 440Nm from just 1900rpm.

The result is higher top speed (just above 220km/h for V6 models versus around 200km/h for the 2.0 HDi), quicker 0-100km/h acceleration (12.8 seconds for the 2.0 HDi sedan and 13.3 for the wagon – down to 9.6 and 9.8 seconds respectively for the V6) and higher fuel consumption (7.1 and 7.2L/100km for the 2.0 sedan and wagon, compared with 8.4 and 8.5L/100km for the V6). The six-cylinder also produces more CO2 emissions (223g/km for the sedan – up from 189g/km for the 2.0, plus 2g/km for the wagon).

C5 kerb weights start at 1658kg for the sedan and 1695kg for the Tourer, rising to 1766kg (V6 sedan) and 1802kg (V6 wagon). Similarly, payloads range between 532kg (2.0 sedan) and 571kg (2.7 wagon). The unbraked towing capacity for all models is 750kg, rising to 1200kg (2.0 wagon), 1300kg (2.0 sedan and V6 wagon) and 1400kg (V6 sedan) with a braked trailer.

All 2009 C5s employ Citroen’s second-generation fixed-hub steering wheel from the C4, a new electric parking brake, double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with self-levelling Hydractive 3+ hydro-pneumatic spring/damping system.

The entry-level C5 Comfort will come standard with ESP stability control, ASR traction control, anti-locking brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA, including auto hazard lights), operating 304mm ventilated floating discs up front and 290mm solid fixed rear discs. The C5 sedan scored five-star occupant, four-star child and two-star pedestrian protection results from Euro NCAP.

All new C5s also come with at least seven airbags, including adaptive driver and front passenger airbags, twin front side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag and twin side curtain airbags, plus five three-point seatbelts, front seatbelt pretensioners, four outboard seatbelt force-limiters, seatbelt warning lights, auto door locking, deadlocking and superlocking.

Also standard from basic Comfort specification grade is cruise control with speed-limiter and black panel function, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning with cooled glovebox, auto headlights, auto wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, one-touch power windows, power/heated/folding mirrors, leather height/reach-adjustable steering wheel, external roof bars and a six-speaker CD/MP3 sound system with steering wheel controls (Comfort variants miss out on an auxiliary input jack, while the V6 gets an in-glass aerial instead of a roof unit).

Continuing the standard equipment list is an acoustic laminated windscreen, rear side sunblinds (the sedan also gets a rear sunblind), static adaptive front-lighting system (AFS), front/rear foglights, follow-me-home lights, front puddle lights, rear parking sensors, hill-start assist, 17x7.0-inch alloy wheels with 225/60-section tyres and a 17-inch steel spare wheel.

Inside, standard C5 features extend to full Claudia leather trim, heated and eight-way power adjustable front seats with memory and lumbar settings, driver’s seatback massage function, front armrest, a 60/40-split folding rear seat with ski-port/armrest, front/rear cup-holders, a driver’s glovebox, trip computer

Unique Tourer features include protective boot trims, tie-down rings, hanging hooks, a loading strip, rear 12-volt outlet, aluminium roof rails and a rechargeable torch.

Exclusive variants add rear side airbags, front seatbelt height adjusters, 18x8.0-inch alloys wheels with 245/45-section tyres and tyre pressure monitoring, rear parking sensors (optional on the Comfort Tourer), road speed-variable power steering system (with the same 2.95 turns lock to lock and 11.7-metre turning circle), a leather/chrome steering wheel, interior mood lighting, laminated side windows, dynamic adaptive bi-Xenon headlights with washers, rear puddle lights, door-handle lights, HiFi amplifier, an electric tailgate (Tourer only), chromed window sills and rear bumper, and the option of 19x8.0-inch alloys with 245/40 tyres. C5 V6s also get a chromed exhaust outlet.

Other optional equipment includes the latest Citroen NaviDrive system, incorporating a 100mm central colour screen and voice activated telephone, satellite-navigation and audio systems (the latter with 10GB hard disc), a new lane-departure warning system (LDWS) , electric sunroof (sedan only), panoramic sunroof (Tourer only), anti-theft alarm, CD changer (standard on V6, unavailable on 2.0 Exclusive), Bluetooth connectivity, and metallic and pearlescent paint.

Backed by a three-year/100,000km warranty, Citroen specifies 20,000km service intervals for the sedan and 30,000km gaps for the Tourer regardless of engine, plus particulate filter replacement every 180,000km and suspension service every 200,000km or five years.

Australia’s C5 will be manufactured at the same Rennes factory in France that builds the flagship C6, with one-third of the forecast 150,000 global annual sales to be produced in Wuhan, China for Asian markets.

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