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First look: Citroen C5 goes for gold

Great Airscape: Geneva convertible concept previewed the new C5.

French maker’s redesigned C5 range emerges 12 months ahead of Australian sales

19 Oct 2007

WE SAW the wacky Airscape convertible concept that previewed it at the Geneva motor show in March and now Citroen has revealed full details and the first official images of its redesigned C5 sedan and wagon range that will go on sale in Australia in the third quarter of next year.

Due to make its local motor show debut at the next Sydney motor show in October 2008, the French car-maker’s all-new C5 claims to bring new style to the large luxury saloon/estate segment, as well as the highest levels of technology, safety and environmental compatibility.

The new C5 is based on PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s Platform 3, which also underpins the 407 and C6, and as the replacement for Citroen Australia’s third best-selling model, will be available here in both bodystyles from launch.

In Europe, the newest Citroen will be available in two four-cylinder petrol guises (92kW 1.8-litre and 103kW 2.0-litre), plus a 155kW 3.0-litre V6. Four-cylinder HDi turbo-diesel engine outputs include 80kW, 100kW and 125kW, while the HDi V6 (which also features a particulate filter) offers 150kW, bringing Europe’s range of diesels to four.

33 center imageAustralian engine and transmission options are yet to be decided but should reflect the current range by including the choice of 2.0-litre four-cylinder and V6 petrol power, as well as two tiers of turbo-diesel performance, with the new C5 Estate again likely to offer just 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines.

Launched here in June 2001, the current C5 was instrumental in Citroen’s re-establishment in Australia, where the C5 2.0 SX auto sedan and estate open the range at $39,990. The 2.0 SX HDi turbo-diesel costs $49,990 as a sedan and $51,990 as a wagon, while the C5 sedan is also available with a 3.0-litre petrol V6 ($49,990) and a 2.2-litre twin-turbo HDi diesel ($53,990).

To September this year, Citroen Australia had sold 343 C5s – down slightly on last year’s result but still representing an average of about 40 examples per month.

Australian Citroen importer Ateco Automotive has high hopes for the HDi-engined C5 models, which currently comprise 85 per cent of the model’s sales. Globally, 70 per cent of C5s sold will be Estates and 74 per cent are expected to be diesels (extending to a massive 81 per cent in Europe).

Citroen makes much of the fact the new C5 will be built at its Rennes factory in France, which holds both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 quality certification and also produces the $100,000 C6. The new C5 will also be manufactured in Wuhan, China, for Asian markets.

Of the 150,000 planned global sales per annum, 100,000 are expected to come from France and the other 50,000 from China, where the model launches in mid-2008. Both new C5 models will hit Europe’s M2 segment, which represents 15 per cent of the total market, by March 2008. Russians and Latin Americans will take delivery after Australians, late next year.

The new C5 is among the largest in the large-car category, measuring 4780mm long, 1860mm wide and 1450mm tall. All measurements are up, except height, and it rides on a 70mm-longer (2820mm) wheelbase.

Beyond the striking new bodyshells with pronounced waistlines and two-tier headlight designs, Citroen says the use of premium materials and unsurpassed build quality give the C5 cabin new levels of refinement and comfort. The interior is fully focused on the driver via a cockpit-style dashboard and a second-generation fixed-centre steering wheel.

Heading the list of new technologies is a new generation of Citroen’s hydro-pneumatic suspension system, dubbed Hydractive 3 Plus. The result is claimed to be “class-beating road manners”, while a reinforced body structure with greater torsional rigidity, up to nine airbags, a raft of child protection features and an active restraint system also aid safety.

An electric parking brake replaces the outgoing C5's conventional handbrake and includes hill-start assist, which automatically holds the car stationary for up to two seconds after the brake pedal is released.

Available on some European versions will be a Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Xenon dual-function directional headlights with a static Adaptive Front Lighting (AFS) system and a new-generation NaviDrive system, which combines a seven-inch screen with built-in GSM telephone, GPS navigation and audio system (the latter including an MP3-compatible CD player with “jukebox” hard-disk function to store up to 10Gb of songs). NaviDrive can be accessed via steering wheel controls or by voice.

“The existing Citroen C5 has been an enormously important vehicle for Citroen in Australia and around the world,” said Citroen Australia general manager Miles Williams, who attended the worlwide unveiling of the new C5 yesterday in Paris.

“It has been central to providing ten years of sustained growth for Citroen in Australia and provided Citroen with a strong presence in the large sedan sector. It has lifted car safety to new levels in Australia and it has introduced a generation of Australian drivers to the advantages, economical and environmental, of Citroen’s advanced diesel engines.

“With the new C5 technology, safety and environmental compatibility are further enhanced and, as previewed by the C5 Airscape, the new body is quite simply a magnificent blend of dynamism and elegance.”

Read more:

First look: Citroen makes great Airscape

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