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FRENCH FANCY; The Citroen C5 has already made a name for itself as a comfortable motorway cruiser, but now the new model is also dramatically upping the stakes in the looks department, as BILL CAVEN discovers.

Byline: BILL CAVEN

NOBODY in their right mind likes January with its cold, gloomy mornings and dark, dreary nights.

This is, of course, also the month when credit card bills bear witness to your excessive Christmas spending.

However, there is one good reason for looking forward to January this time around, and that's the all-new Citroen C5.

Come the New Year, buyers will be able to place their orders for this rather sexy saloon - or the equally attractive estate - with the first deliveries expected a few months later.

And if the pictures of the new model are anything to go by, then Citroen dealers can expect a fair bit of business.

The French marque's designers have come up trumps again by crafting something of amazing beauty.

In some respects, the new C5 looks a lot like a shortened version of Citroen's flagship C6 executive express.

Longer and wider than the model it replaces, the newcomer's aerodynamic profile gives it real on-the-road presence.

Its size also helps it to impose itself at the top end of the large family car segment.

Having to compete against the likes of the award-winning Ford Mondeo, Citroen knew they had to pull out all the stops with the C5.

Nothing less than sensational would be tolerated, and if its good looks are reflected in strong performance and the latest automotive technology and safety features, then the C5 stands a chance of succeeding.

The current model has attracted plenty of business both from private buyers and the fleet sector.

It has always been viewed as a comfortable motorway cruiser with low running costs.

That said, it didn't really have stand-out looks - and that's where the new model really scores. For here is a car that will appeal to both the hearts and the heads of buyers.

The C5 is no longer a frumpy, awkward piece of metal but, thanks to its more slimline appearance, it's a lot more mesmerising and fluid.

Both the saloon and the estate offer a long wheelbase, which means the interior is generously proportioned.

The same taut, flowing lines seen on the exterior are replicated inside the cabin in the detailing around the doors and the dash.

The driver-focused cockpit features a fixed-centre controls steering wheel, which provides easy access to key functions.

Trim quality has improved enormously and there is a feeling of premium finish throughout.

Customers will be offered the choice of a Citroen tuned multi-link suspension system or the acclaimed Hydractive 3 Plus self-levelling suspension, which adjusts instantaneously to offer a cosseting ride on even the worst of roads.

To make journeys even more relaxing, some versions will even be available with a driver's seat back massage function.

The new C5 will be available with a wide choice of engines, including a 1.8 and a two-litre petrol and four diesels - one of which is a tasty 208-brake V6.

Prices are due to be announced shortly.

Factfile

Model: Citroen C5

Engine: 1.8 or two-litre petrol; 1.6, two two-litre or 2.7-litre V6 diesel

Power: 110 to 208bhp

Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles

Price: To be announced

On sale: Early 2008

CAPTION(S):

STATUS SYMBOL: While its predecessor may not have won any beauty contests, the new C5 oozes class and is bound to turn heads with its long, sleek body and sculpted lines
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 30, 2007
Words:557
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