Citroën's New C5
Citroën lifted the wraps off the new C5 saloon and estate versions in Paris this week. Designed to convey a real sense of prestige, the C5 includes a range of new features seen for the first time in the C4 Picasso such as a second-generation fixed-centered controls steering wheel, a seat back massage function and a choice of suspension set-ups.
With its long, sleek body, sculpted lines and high waist, the new C5's striking styling gives it a sense of status. The front end is characterized by the large air-intakes and long incisive headlamps that flank the prominent chrome chevrons and assert the C5's identity. From the back, the distinctive concave window and two-part boomerang lights give it a purposeful, determined impression.
Measuring 4.78m long (the estate is 5cm longer), 1.86m wide and 1.45m tall, the new C5 L is longer and wider than the model it replaces and has an aerodynamic profile that alludes to the car's dynamic qualities and road handling.
The interior of the new C5 offers occupants an environment that exudes refinement, comfort and style. The same taut, flowing lines seen on the exterior are replicated inside in the detailing around the doors and dashboard, echoing the pursuit of quality throughout the car.
The styling is exemplified by the instrument panel design, where annular needles run around each of the dials, allowing an electronic display unit to be integrated in the center of each dial. Additionally, a screen on the overhead console displays an illustration on start-up, symbolizing the car, its five seats and the seatbelt warnings.
The new C5 introduces a second-generation fixed-centered controls steering wheel, with membrane-covered controls providing easy access to key functions such as the cruise control, radio or telephone. The model can also be specified with Citroën's new-generation NaviDrive system, featuring a 7-inch central display screen and voice activation of the built-in GSM telephone, audio system and satellite navigation.
Large Citroëns are well known for providing the highest standards of occupant comfort, and the new C5 is no different, with special attention having been paid to the acoustics, suspension and seating.
The new C5 features levels of soundproofing that more than match any of its competitors. Specifically, the measures taken include acoustic barriers on the body and door surrounds, an acoustic windscreen, laminated side windows, reinforced absorbent body and roof linings, and damped mountings as developed for the C6.
With a view to offering the optimum mix of comfort and dynamics, the C5 has been developed to offer a choice of two suspension set-ups based on the running gear of the ultra-smooth C6 executive saloon. The metallic suspension strikes a balance between comfort and road-holding and features a double wishbone layout at the front and multilink set-up at the rear.
Citroën's Hydractive 3 Plus self-leveling suspension features springing and damping that adjusts instantaneously to offer a cosseting ride, whatever the road conditions. A soft mode provides optimum comfort while a firmer mode delivers greater body control. A "Sport" mode can also be selected for an even more dynamic ride.
Further contributing to a relaxed journey, certain versions can be specified with a driver's seat back massage function. The front seats are fully adjustable, with either manual or electric controls, while rear passengers benefit from generous amounts of legroom -- the absence of a central tunnel ensures a flat floor throughout the rear.
Typically for a Citroën, the new C5 is extremely well specified. Cruise control and a speed limiter are fitted as standard, while Hydractive 3 Plus versions are equipped with an automatic electric parking-brake and hill-start assist. For ease of parking, the C5 is also available with front and rear parking sensors, as well as a parking gap assistance system that determines the size of any available space and informs the driver.
The current C5 is one of the safest cars on the road and its successor is well set to follow in its tracks. New C5 is equipped with the very latest Citroën safety technology, including up to nine airbags, and the stiffened body and cabin structure incorporates upper and lower absorbers at the front end to soak up the energy released in the event of impact.
The new C5 is the first in the range to be equipped with a collapsible pedal assembly -- in the event of an impact the brake and clutch pedals retract into the floor of the footwell to limit injury to the driver's legs and feet. A retractable steering column is also fitted.
The driver and passengers are protected by front, side and curtain airbags, together with the option of additional rear side airbags. The fixed central hub of the steering wheel ensures that the optimally-shaped driver's airbag is always deployed at the right angle, while a knee airbag provides improved protection for the driver's legs.
Control in difficult conditions is aided by the C5's advanced braking system -- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Braking Assistance, ABS and ESP are all fitted as standard. Citroën's much lauded Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) is available on some versions, warning drivers when the car unintentionally crosses lane markings.
Improved visibility at night is provided by the C5's enhanced headlight system. A static AFS (Adaptive Front Lighting System) function incorporates an additional light source that improves visibility and safety on corners and at junctions. A dynamic AFS option is available on models equipped with Xenon dual-function directional headlamps, further improving visibility to 105? at low speeds.
Citroën's new C5 is a child friendly environment with Isofix anchor points on up to three seats, four one-touch electric windows with an anti-pinch function and an electric child-safety lock for the rear doors and windows, all fitted as standard.
The new C5 is available with a wide choice of engines including petrol powerplants such as the 127bhp 1.8i 16V and 143bhp 2.0i 16V units, plus four HDi diesel engines -- HDi 110, HDi 138, HDi 173 and HDi V6 208 units -- each fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter System that virtually eliminates particle emissions. A selection of manual or automatic gearboxes is offered.