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French connect to German way.

Byline: Maxine Ashford Motoring Editor

THE French are taking on the Germans at their own game by producing a large family car with a definite Teutonic overtone.

Citroen has conceded Germanic quality is what the public wants and decided if you can't beat them it's time to join them.

The result is an all new C5 saloon which looks much more like an Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series than anything you would expect from a company renowned for its futuristic French approach.

While the new car retains Citroen's characteristic chevron grille its profile and rear end especially are much more conventional.

Gone are the fancy rear light clusters which were so much a feature of the current C5 and overall the new model looks quite chunky.

The same is true inside with a straight up and down approach to the instrument panel instead of the space age layout which was threatening to make Citroens too advanced for the average motorist.

It's a bold move for a company which prides itself on innovation - don't forget Citroen had a car with adaptive headlamps 50 years ago - but nevertheless there is still plenty of high technology in the new C5.

Electronic stability controls are standard across the range, so is air conditioning and cruise control while options include a driver's seat that can massage your back.

Fit the lane departure warning system and the driver's seat must be the most vibrating in the business since that device works by pummelling your backside should you stray out of your lane.

The new C5 goes on sale on April 2 and will be priced from pounds 15,995 for a 1.8-litre petrol version to pounds 24,395 for a top range 2.7-litre V6 diesel.

The line-up features two petrol engines and four diesels including the very impressive 1.6-litre HDI priced from pounds 16,595.

Averaging a claimed 50.4mpg, it is the most economical version and the greenest with CO2 emissions of 149g/km.

Five speed manual gearboxes are fitted on the 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol versions and on the 1.6-litre diesel.

The larger 2.0 and 2.2-litre diesel engines are mated to six speed boxes.

Automatic transmission is standard on the V6 and optional on both the 2.0 litre petrol and diesels.

Higher specification models also feature an electronic parking brake.

Another shift away from Citroen convention is the availability of coil spring suspension on the petrol versions and the smaller diesel, although the "magic carpet"

Hydractive air suspension remains standard on the other C5s.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 28, 2008
Words:430
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