Motor Mouth

In an executive sector where every car resembles the BMW 3 series, the Citroen C6 is magnifique, says Sathnam Sanghera.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In January's MT, I reviewed the revamped Mercedes ML, remarking that in the current environment, acquiring a big, expensive, polluting car seemed as silly as buying yourself a pet panda. This prompted an e-mail from a reader who, after thanking me for testing a car 'in the context of the world we live in', said he looked forward to further frank car assessments.

All very pleasing. Except I now need to disappoint this column's one fan by admitting to a mistake. I still think the ML280 is a rubbish car, but putting it in an economic and environmental context was a crazy precedent to set. Frankly, if I did that every month, given how bad things are, every review would conclude with the recommendation that you buy a bike.

No-one is spending money on cars at the moment. But if this slot serves any function at all, it's to offer some escapism. Which brings me to the Citroen C6, a car that, with its concave rear window, boomerang-shaped rear lights, self-levelling suspension, long bonnet and extended front overhang, is so fantastical that even before the economic downturn, Citroen was expecting annual UK sales to barely hit four figures.

The company probably thought it was too French for British tastes. And it couldn't be more French if you stuck Gerard Depardieu behind the wheel, filled the boot with camembert and told him to head off in the direction of the nearest strike. But in an executive sector where every vehicle increasingly resembles the BMW 3 series, la C6 est magnifique.

The minimalist interior, as spare as a Rothko painting, takes some getting used to, but, eventually, it makes other cars feels stuffy and fussy. At first, the heads-up display of the speedo and satnav directions makes driving feel like a prolonged eye test, but, eventually, it seems insanely dangerous that every car doesn't have this feature. And the steering is vaguer than Tessa Jowell's response to a straight question, but there is compensation in the form of the smoothest ride this side of a Rolls Royce Phantom.

The C6 really is the driving equivalent of lying on your mum's sofa after a big Sunday lunch. It's supremely comfortable. The risk, of course, is that you'll fall asleep as you float down the A13. But the C6 also has a lane warning system that makes your seat rumble if you drift out of position on a motorway, and - as you're not actually going to buy the thing, are you? - the complaint is a bit academic.

I'll take one...

Lots of personality.

So smooth.

Thanks but no thanks...

The personality is French.

Vague steering.

Citroen C6 2.7HDi V6 £35,495
Engine: 2.7 litre diesel
Combined power: 208 bhp at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 325 lb ft at 1,900 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Fuel: 32.5 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2: 230 g/km
0-62 mph: 8.9 secs
Top speed: 143 mph

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