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Paris show: Citroen hatches C5

Hatched: Although it looks like a sedan,

Citroen has provided the first glimpse of its new C5, designed to replace the Xantia and XM

Citroen logo27 Sep 2000

CITROEN has the likes of the VW Passat in its sights with the new generation C5, unveiled in Paris yesterday.

The newcomer is destined to replace both the 11-year-old XM that went out of production in July and eventually the Xantia.

Xantia and C5 will be sold alongside each other in Europe until around 2003 - when Citroen is due to launch a new flagship dubbed C6.

Citroen Australia spokesman Mr Edward Rowe says the C5 may make its first Australian appearance at the Sydney motor show next March.

The car goes on sale in Europe in early 2001 but is not due to hit the local market until April or May.

In Europe the C5 will initially be available with a choice of two engines - a 3.0-litre V6 with an eight per cent power boost to 152kW and a 2.2-litre, 98kW turbo-diesel.

Australian-spec cars are likely to be offered with the V6 and a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit.

Transmission choices comprise a five-speed manual and an adaptive automatic that offers Tiptronic-style manual shift capability.

There is no word on pricing yet but expect the entry level C5 to cost just over $40,000, compared with $37,564 for the base model Xantia.

At 4700mm, the C5 is 170mm longer than the current Xantia. It is also wider and higher. Although sedan-like in appearance, the C5 is actually a hatchback.

The car's tall stance and low, flat floor are said to endow it with outstanding interior space and a commanding driving position.

It is equipped with the third generation of Citroen's Hydractive suspension system, which is claimed to deliver an exemplary ride/handling balance.

Hydractive is a fully active suspension system that changes characteristics depending on road conditions and how the car is being driven.

Ride height - and therefore centre of gravity - is lowered at freeway speeds to optimise aerodynamics and promote greater high-speed stability.

When the suspension detects rough road surfaces, ride height is raised to maximise ground clearance and suspension travel.

On-board sensors also monitor how the C5 is being driven and adjust suspension settings accordingly, ranging from comfort to sport modes.

Citroen says the Hydractive system requires no maintenance for five years or 200,000km.

Other innovations include black panel instruments, rain-sensing wipers, headlights that switch on and off automatically and hazard lights that come on in the advent of an accident.

It also has low tyre pressure warning systems, variable assistance power steering, windows and sunroof that close automatically when it rains, rear parking radar, multi-function central locking and two LCD TV screens for driver information.

Safety features include the latest ABS brake system with emergency braking assistance, traction control and six airbags.

C5 is the first car to adopt Citroen's new naming system, in which the letter "C" replaces "X." The "X" nomenclature was introduced in 1974 with the Citroen CX. Cars that followed included the BX, AX, XM, ZX, Xantia, Saxo and Xsara.

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