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Magic C6 is looking to pull offabig trick; There's no doubt that Citroen's new executive saloon is extraordinary in many ways, but BILL CAVEN can't help to wonder whether its French wizardry will be enough to cast a spell over buyers.

Byline: BILL CAVEN

IT has more wizardry on board than an entire series of Harry Potter movies. Just turn the ignition key, and you're given immediate entry to the Land of Make-Believe.

Yes, the new Citroen C6 showcases more clever gadgets than Q could dream up for a Bondmobile.

But will all of this technological brilliance be enough to make it a serious alternative to the more established luxury saloons?

When Citroen first announced that they were planning to launch a large executive car, few believed they would go ahead with the plan. After all, our French friends aren't famed for building luxury vehicles.

Buyers who want to splash out on a top-end cruiser usually look no further than the German trio of BMW Mercedes-Benz and Audi.

Those who want something a bit different might opt for a Jaguar or a Lexus - and surely between them they've got every angle covered?

Well, try telling that to Citroen.

They firmly believe that there is a serious demand for an executive car that doesn't have "Made in Germany" stamped on its bumper.

And they are convinced that the C6 will appeal to those who want to show the world that they can think for themselves rather than copy the rest.

There's no doubt that this newcomer offers buyers something refreshingly different.

Citroen have always placed great emphasis on visual impact and the C6 doesn't disappoint.

It is an impressive beast when you see it in the metal, and it seems to get more in your face every time you approach it.

There is an undisputed elegance about the C6, which grows on you over time.

The designers' brief was to come up with a vehicle that combined the majesty of a saloon with the power of a coupA. And, just for good measure, the bosses also demanded that its look be timeless.

No tall order then!

The most striking styling feature of the C6 is the long, sloping bonnet, which seems to stretch forever. The rear, by contrast, disappears very quickly.

The Citroen flagship also has a massively long wheelbase, which in turn ensures that the cabin is cavernous.

Despite being loaded with gadgets, the C6's interior design is minimalistic and functional.

Thanks to the digital speedo and the head-up display on the windscreen - similar to that on a fighter plane - there's a distinct futuristic feel, though.

The overall build quality can't be faulted, and it's clear that a lot of attention to detail and a great deal of imagination was lavished on the cabin.

Among the many nice touches are the half-moon door bins that glide shut and the fibre-optic lighting that gently illuminates the armrests.

The range-topping Exclusive trim test car was equipped with sumptuous cream leather upholstery. It also featured the optional "Lounge pack", which allows the rear seats to be adjusted electrically.

Beneath the eye-catching bonnet, was the superb 2.7-litre V6 diesel - undoubtedly one of the best power plants around today.

Mated to a six-speed sequential automatic transmission, it provided the C6 with an exceptional burst of speed.

Thanks to the self-levelling suspension, the ride was silky-smooth although there was evidence of tyre noise when travelling at speed.

Despite the car's size, the steering and handling was very competent and rewarding.

Alas, there is a downside to all this French flair, and that's the price tag.

The flagship model costs a whopping pounds 37,845 which, while cheaper than its rivals, is still a lot of dosh for what is, after all, a Citroen.

Free-thinking is one thing, but having the courage to go down that road is another.

Model: Citroen C6 2.7 HDi V6 Exclusive

Engine: 2.7-litre V6 diesel

Power: 208bhp

Top speed: 143mph

0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

Economy: 32.5mpg

Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles

Price: pounds 37,845

On sale: Now

'The superb 2.7-litre V6 diesel is undoubtedly one of the best power plants around today'

CAPTION(S):

FRENCH FLAIR IS IN THE AIR: Inside and out, the Citroen flagship is a refreshingly different car. Its seriously long nose is in sharp contrast with the short rear and helps to give the saloon a coupA-like look. In the cabin, the digital speedo and the head-up display - which projects essential information onto the windscreen - make the driver feel like they are in charge of a fighter plane
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 27, 2006
Words:726
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