Last week I asked what style of front suspension would a
Morgan 3 wheeler have had? The answer was simple - sliding pillar. By the way,
the factory manuals used to say that you should grease the front suspension
every 500 miles!
So to this week, and it’s a beauty. I received the
information from Martin Smith from the Old Speckled Hen Pub, so if it’s wrong
- blame him, not me! The pub gets its name from a beer in the UK called The Old
Speckled Hen. The beer gets its name from one of the UK’s most famous motoring
marques in a very roundabout way. I want to know the car company and how it was
involved in conjuring up the name of The Old Speckled Hen beer. Go to it,
The last Citroen test done by our Down-Under correspondent,
John Weinthal was on the funky C3. For the wide open roads in Oz, John found it
a little underpowered, though it is probably adequate for Thailand’s choked
highways. The C5 however, appears to be very different, especially in the 3
litre V6 version. Here are the Words from Weinthal.
C5’s many differences are all positives. Some cars are eagerly anticipated for
all manner of reasons from past experience of the marque to what others have
said or written or some notable engineering innovation or sporting achievement.
For a long time one approached all Citroen’s expecting the unexpected. Novel
and effective technical or styling advances were par for the Citroen course.
Citroen’s were different.
“Almost always their differences made them better - greater
comfort, safer road holding and surprising performance and economy for their
engine capacity partly due to unusual attention to aerodynamic detail.
pioneered mass production front-wheel-drive in the early 1930’s. The
agricultural 2CV, first seen in the 1930’s, became a sought-after status
mobile in the 1980’s and ’90s. The Light 15 and Big 6 were the signature
cars of French art-house movies. The DS 19 ‘Goddess’ of the early ’60s
rewrote so many rules that even today it is a standout looker and is recognized
as a great technical achievement.
“More recently, not all Citroens have come across as
particularly original or stimulating. They have been OK, but a bit ordinary - a
sort of French Ford or Toyota; nothing special in styling or technology.
car under review truly marks a return to real Citroen values and interest. It
was the C5 Exclusive which costs AUD 57,490 plus the usual on-road costs.. It is
Citroen’s largest model with space to rival Commodore and Falcon in spite of
its smaller overall footprint.
“Like few others these days, Citroen has taken full
advantage of its front-wheel-drive layout to maximise interior space and to
provide a flat floor to further increase comfort. The C5 is a distinctively
styled hatchback. A liftback is unusual among luxury cars but it certainly adds
to the car’s many practical attractions.
“The test car was the range-topping, leather clad, 157kW 3
litre V6 Exclusive model. The standard transmission is a steptronic-style auto.
This is matched perfectly to the free-revving engine, and it is better than most
at anticipating the driver’s expectations.
“It has a ride that is uncannily flat, thanks to
Citroen’s unique hydraulic computer-controlled self-levelling suspension. It
is also quiet, quick and agile.
“Although the C5 is laden with original features there is
nothing which is simply gimmicky. It cossets its passengers, securing them in
supremely comfortable leather chairs with height adjustable armrests in the
front. There is excellent head and shoulder room and stretching room for legs.
“Safety features abound. These start with five three-point
seat belts, height-adjustable in front. The front head restraints are tilt and
height adjustable. It has anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force
distribution and emergency braking assistance which compensates for some
driver’s reluctance to brake with full force in an emergency. There is
anti-skid control and an electronic stability program. The hazard light activate
automatically with sharp braking.
“There are six airbags, two in front with two levels of
activation, side and curtain airbags extending from front to rear. There are
deadlocks, a low tyre pressure indicator, an engine immobiliser, rear parking
sensor, a dipping left hand mirror for easier reversing, superb xenon headlamps
and automatic headlights and wipers. The windows all have one-touch operation
and they close automatically when it rains. There is an electric sunroof, height
and reach adjustable steering wheel, climate control air con, cruise control and
power adjustment for the front seats, windows and mirrors. A multiscreen monitor
includes radio settings, date, time, temperature and service-due indicator. The
large carpeted boot has a cargo net to secure loose items. There is storage for
the luggage cover when the rear seats are folded forward.
This C5 Exclusive is what Citroen’s once were - supremely
comfortable, spacious, and distinctively yet practically different. Unlike some
European cars it is not different just for the sake of it. The C5’s
differences are positives - not perversities.
Much the same applies to others in the C5 range - the AUD
43,500, 101 kW 2 litre SX and the AUD 45,750 82 kW 2 litre diesel. The 2 litre
C5 is also available as a usefully versatile station wagon from AUD 45,000.
“But the C5 V6 Exclusive is my pick of the bunch. Here is
the complete modern luxury car. It offers sitting room spaciousness without ever
feeling overly large on the road. At around AUD 60,000 there are certainly some
interesting alternatives (in Australia) including the Rover 75, Lexus iS200, 2.5
litre Jaguar X-Type and Volvo’s S60 sedan and V70 wagon. Each of these has its
special appeal no doubt. Each will satisfy the discerning buyer who is not
blinded by the status of a badge.
(The C5’s available in this country range from around 2
million baht for the 2 litre petrol and diesels to 3.5 million for the 3 litre
V6, but levels of appointment may differ from the Oz models. Dr. Iain.)