Spy Shots: all-new Citroen C5

After releasing a slew of new models, French auto group PSA is turning its attention to the C5, Citroen's mainstream family sedan. A test mule was just caught testing on the highway in France, giving a face to the long list of details already known about the upcoming Citroen.

The C5 will be underpinned by an all-new platform with a longer wheelbase than the model it replaces. That means more room for Jacques and Jeanne plus extra luggage space so you can fit in those super-long baguettes. Power comes from a range of engines including Citroen's new 173-hp 2.2-liter HDI and 2.7-liter V6 diesel co-developed with Ford, as well as a whole menu of conventional gasoline engines with a 3-liter V6 leading the charge up the Bastille. The front wheels are driven through a choice of manual, automatic or semi-automatic transmissions while the new car will ride on a cushy new air suspension.

[Source: Auto Express]

All that technical stuff is great, but France is fashion central: buyers will be looking for style as least as much as substance, and Citroen doesn't aim to disappoint. The C5's design is tipped to draw on themes already previewed in such concepts as the C-Metisse hybrid and C-Airplay supermini, plus existing production vehicles like the range-topping C6 luxury sedan. The C5 will present the new face of Citroen with a bold trapezoidal grille and sharp creases up the hood featuring the iconic double-chevron emblem. Pronounced wheel arches will factor in at each corner leading, while around back expect a snooty high tail and stereotypically pissed-off-looking angular taillights topped off by an innovative concave rear windscreen. Inside everything will be in contrasting colors and soft-touch materials accented by a chrome stripe across the dashboard. The slick steering wheel debuted in the C4 hatch, with its stationary hub and rotating rim, will house controls for the stereo and cruise control. Expect two of the following to join the list of optional equipment: lane departure warning system, head-up display and built-in wine cabinet. (Now guess which we made up.)

We'll see the final product at Frankfurt in September before it goes on sale in early 2008. With the new C5, the French finally hope to put up a fight against the Germans; Citroen is benchmarking the C5 against heavy hitters like the Volkswagen Passat and Audi A4. Bonne chance, les amis!

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