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All in the family: Citroen’s C6 Lignage concept has inspired the new C4 as well as next year’s C6 luxury car.

A new model offensive kicks off early next year for a resurgent Citroen

Citroen logo26 Oct 2004

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

CITROEN will unfurl a flurry of new product from February 2005.

The big news is the arrival of the striking C4 small car at the Melbourne motor show in March, fresh from its world premiere at last month’s Paris salon.

Boasting brash avant-garde styling inside and out, the C4 is as visually audacious as its outgoing Xsara predecessor is not, as well as stronger, safer and far more spacious.

Standout features include a steering wheel with a fixed boss and lane-straying safety warnings.

Sited on a modified Peugeot 307 platform, the C4 has set out to make the other important segment debutante at Paris, Ford’s vital second generation Focus, suddenly seem staid and unadventurous.

In a class chock-full of accomplished combatants like the Holden AH Astra and revised Alfa 147, as well as the recent Mazda 3 and VW Golf, the C4’s suave styling certainly makes it a stand-out.

The three-door and five-door body shapes, which differ markedly but share similar cabin dimensions, are to be shipped to our shores with pricing that will parallel today’s Xsara, said local Citroen spokesman Edward Rowe.

Here’s what the C4 line-up should look like then, although prices are approximate only: $24,000: 1.6 VTR three-door hatchback $26,000: 1.6 five-door hatchback $32,000: 2.0 five-door hatchback $34,000: 2.0 VTS three-door hatchbackThus the C4 is fixing for a fight with the mid-range Japanese as well as the chi-chi Continental compacts.

Helping the Citroen’s cause, the base C4 will be available in a four-speed automatic along with the standard five-speed manual transmission. Today’s Xsara VTR equivalent omits it.

Four four-cylinder engines will be available: a 1.6-litre producing 80kW of power and 147Nm of torque (or 83kW/150Nm if Citroen’s divisive Sensodrive sequential manual gearbox arrives), a 100kW/190Nm 2.0 and a high-performance 2.0 that should top 130kW and 202Nm respectively.

A turbo-diesel will also lob soon after, powered by an 80kW 1.6 HDI unit and producing 260Nm of torque from 150rpm, while capable of returning 4.7L/100km.

A month before the C4’s Melbourne motor show debut will be February’s C5 facelift.

Newer than appearances suggest (only the middle section is carried over from the 2001-vintage original), the mid-sized prestige segment contender introduces an angular new nose, tail treatment and interior, as well as revised engines.

The latter will comprise a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder powerplant producing 103kW of power and 200Nm of torque, while the current 82kW/255Nm 2.0 HDI turbo-diesel will be usurped by a bigger 2.2 HDI unit delivering around 100kW/320Nm.

Like the C4, the 2005 C5’s pricing should also closely resemble today’s models, which start at $42,990 for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder base car and extend to the $57,490 Exclusive V6.

A new six-speed automatic transmission will also be included in the V6, a duo that’s also headed for the $79,990 Peugeot 607.

That drivetrain combination should also form the basis of the belated replacement for the offbeat XM flagship.

Dubbed C6 and very similar to the Geneva 1999’s C6 Lignage concept car, it reportedly sits on a stretched version of the new Peugeot 407 platform.

That means it will be front-wheel drive, just like big Citroens have been since the 1934 Traction Avant.

The C6 is set for a Geneva showing in March next year, with Australians catching a first glimpse of it at the following Sydney motor show in October.

Due for a worldwide debut in 2007 but not slated for us will be the C1, a sub-C3 five-seat economy hatchback to be built in the Czech Republic and co-developed with partners Peugeot and Toyota.

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