The New Citroen C5:
7th February, 2005
The new Citroen C5, the safest car ever tested by EuroNCAP, the benchmark independent testing agency, was released in Australia at the Brisbane International Motor Show last Friday (4th February 2004) and will go on sale initially with the ultra-clean, ultra economical HDi diesel engine, with the petrol variants to follow later in the year.
The EuroNCAP crash test is generally agreed to be the toughest independent crash test in the world. The new Citroen C5 has scored the highest ever result with 36 out of 37 points, with a 100 per cent score in the frontal impact test. The EuroNCAP testers concluded in their report that the stable passenger cell protected all occupants that the C5 has a †"very impressive side impact protection system" and they lauded the warning lights for rear, as well as front seatbelts, a double pretensioner on the front passenger seat belt and the unique knee air bags. But the C5's protection extends well beyond crash safety, with features such as a new-generation Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) that even knows when the brakes might need drying because of rain or water on the road, a speed limiter that stops the C5 going beyond a pre-set speed, the latest generation ABS brakes and the Citroen's acclaimed Hydractive suspension - upgraded to 3+ in the new C5 - all helping to avoid accidents.
Personal security is also enhanced with central locking which seals all the doors and the boot at 10 kmh and headlights that can be operated remotely operated from the key even when the car is locked so that owners will never be stranded in the dark.
Mechanically, it is also all-change for the new C5, with every engine and gearbox changed for the new C5.
Heading the technical charge is the new 2.2 litre diesel in the debut car, the Citroen C5 HDi sedan and estate. Based on the highly successful 2.0 litre diesel engine that has taken up to 80 per cent of CitroŽn C5 sales in Australia since its launch, the 2.2 litre engine is very much the next generation of diesel engines. Capacity is upped from 2.0 to 2.2 litres, it now has twin overhead camshafts that operate 16 valves and the array of advanced technologies including a variable geometry turbo, an air-intake distributor with a throttle valve for variable swirl, two balancing shafts to limit engine vibrations and a self cleaning particulate filter that simply ends any thought of smoky diesel. With 98 kW and a massive 314 Nm of torque, matched to a new automatic gearbox, the CitroŽn C5 HDi offers effortless performance, outstanding economy, a unique level of environmental compatibility with its low emissions and remarkable levels of refinement.
The entry level CitroŽn C5 with the 2.0 litre engine now develops 103 kW EEC and torque of 200 Nm at 4,000 rpm thanks to variable valve timing, which, combined with new gear ratios to maximize the revised engine's ability, offers better performance and economy. The range topping 3.0 litre V6 engine also adds variable valve timing to its armoury, lifting power and torque to 155 kW and 290 Nm. Matched to a new six speed automatic gearbox, performance, economy, refinement and emissions are all improved.
The CitroŽn C5 saw the launch of the Hydractive 3 suspension system, the latest development of the legendary CitroŽn hydrapneumatic suspension system that does away completely with springs and shock absorbers, replacing them with a gas and hydraulic suspension system that ensures that regardless of load, the CitroŽn C5 always offers the optimum suspension setting, a level body and a remarkable ride quality.
Hydractive 3 added electronic control that enabled the car to detect a dirt road and raise the C5 for extra ground clearance, to drop the nose at freeway speeds for extra stability and firm up the suspension for enthusiastic driving. The new C5 sees the launch of Hydractive 3+, an enhanced system that improves ride comfort and refinement, while still offering the choice of a sport mode. The performance potential of the new C5 HDi is illustrated by the fact that the diesel-powered CitroŽn is available for the first time with Sports suspension setting.
Lavish equipment has always been a feature of the CitroŽn C5 and the new version is no different. The luxury of soft French leather is now standard in all versions. The revised dashboard houses an enhanced split climate control ventilation system and a more powerful, more featured audio system.
Cruise control is not just standard, it also includes a speed limiter that prevents the car exceeds a preset speed, with a read-out on the dashboard that shows what the set cruise and limited speeds are. The windows are now powered, they close when the rain sensor detects rain, with the same sensor matching wiper speed to rainfall.
With so many changes under the skin, it comes as no surprise that CitroŽn decided to change the skin, too, and, seemingly with an Australian influence! †The CitroŽn stylists call them boomerang lights and they provide the C5 with a distinctive new look. Shaped like the eponymous aboriginal hunting tool, the lights at the front start at either end of the new CitroŽn marque grille and project up either guard. At the rear there is a typically CitroŽn improvement to both style and practicality: the new tail, clearly define by the new rear lights, also allows a larger boot. The bonnet and front guards are also revised, while polished chrome strips delineate the lower edges of the bumpers side sills and boot.
Inside there is a new centre console, instruments and minor switchgear, along with a new lacquered dashboard strip to enhance the interior.
The CitroŽn C5 HDi estate, which is launched at the same time as the sedan, benefits from all the changes to the sedan with the exception to the rear of the car, which maintains its versatile opening rear door and window and can, therefore, once again lay claim to be the world's most advanced wagon.
The Hydractive 3+ suspension means that regardless of load, the C5 HDi Estate offers full suspension travel, it maintains the same supreme ride quality at all times and, using a switch in the boot, it can even raise or lower the C5's tail to assist with loading and unloading.
To the already well-equipped CitroŽn C5, CitroŽn have added a fully leather upholstered interior with front electically operated seats, cast alloy wheels and the speed limiter to the standard equipment package.
"With a level of safety that is, quite simply, the benchmark for the rest of the industry and a lavish new equipment level, it would be easy to expect that the new C5 would mean CitroŽn would abandon the value for money pricing that has ensured its continued growth over the last six years in Australia,' says Miles Williams, General Manager for CitroŽn in Australia. "But this is not the case. The CitroŽn C5 HDi debuts with recommended retail prices of $51,990 in sedan form and $53,490 in the capacious estate variant. Considering the safety, equipment and commitment to the environment, along with the refinement and comfort, these must be regarded as remarkable prices. I have no doubt that the new C5 will continue CitroŽn's growth in the Australian market, bringing many new customers to CitroŽn."
Prices for the 2.0 litre and 3.0 litre V6 petrol versions of the CitroŽn C5 will be announced when these models go on sale later in 2005, possibly March or April.