I've always been rather partial to a Citroën. I like quirkiness, you see, and there are few manufacturers that provide quirks as quintessentially off-the-wall as the company that André Citroën built. The DS is, of course, the poster boy (or girl, it being the goddess), even if the SM is for many at the top of the wow tree. I wouldn't disagree. I've also fawned over Traction Avants, even though vintage isn't usually my bag, and any passing CX never fails to get me gawping. It's perhaps the Citroen that came closest to the spirit of the DS, with a wonderful 80s twist.
As is often the case, though, manufacturers seem far too prone to forget what put them on the map, and let their star wane. Amalgamations and accountants are generally the culprits, but whatever caused Citroën to lose its way, lost it certainly was. The XM of the late 80s was different but failed to break ground, and the same can be said of the Xantia. Worse than that, though, by the end of the 90s, Citroen was producing mundane dross like the Xsara and its hateful Picasso offshoot. The Saxo was perhaps the exception to the rule, yet even it didn't feel like a great Citroen - to me, there is a difference.
Then the Citroën C6 Lignage concept was paraded at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show. Was this, at last, a return to form? It seemed so. There were hints of the past in its dished rear screen and it had suicide doors (always a winner). Essentially it looked stunning outside with its full-width Chevron grille, and that carried to the inside, which featured high-quality materials, such as leather and wood, in attractive, warm shades that created a relaxing atmosphere. Hydropneumatic suspension was back, too, plus the cutting edge was taken care of in features like satellite navigation, lane assist and a head-up display.
Yet when the production C6 appeared in 2005, some of the magic had dissipated. Those wonderful suicide doors disappeared altogether - all-four doors were hinged conventionally. And by then sat nav and HUDs were becoming commonplace, which meant the techy side wasn't quite so alluring, either. Yet it seemed to me that the whole world was willing the C6 along. As with every new Alfa Romeo, people wanted it to succeed and be decreed Citroën's rising phoenix. Despite the downgraded doors, it certainly looked great. The concave rear window had survived, the rear boomerang lights looked like 60s Americana, and, while the inside was toned down, it was still interesting and refreshing.
It still is to me. I've never driven one, I'll admit, but I still like spotting them in the classifieds. I know the 2.7 V6 diesel is good (crank issues aside) because it's the engine PSA and Ford developed jointly, and it was awesome in the Jaguars and Land Rovers. From all accounts the electronically controlled Hydractive +3 suspension, which had swapped the famous green mineral oil for red LDS, provided the requisite waft, too. I seem to recall Clarkson doing a recreation of the fabled DS racecourse camera cars, using a C6 with a camera on it to film a race Towcester Racecourse. It did a sterling job.
This Lignage-spec (it's the middle trim and not a prototype) comes with the 2.7 V6. It produces a healthy 204hp and 325 lb ft and should work well with the smooth, six-speed auto to provide effortless pace in keeping with the C6 theme. At 69,000 miles, it's barely worn in for an executive and looks to be a good, honest example of the breed looking through the numerous pictures. All I'd wish to swap is the black leather for a lighter shade - the attractive, warm shades and relaxing atmosphere that were promised back in 1999. Even without that, though, it's still an interesting alternative to a BMW 5 Series, don't you think?
SPECIFICATION | CITROEN C6 2.7 HDI V6 LIGNAGE
Engine: 2,720cc, V6, twin-turbo diesel
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 204 @ 4,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 325 @ 1,900rpm
Recorded mileage: 69,000
Year registered: 2007
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £5,490
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