New Citroen saloon draws inspiration from the Cxperience concept, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
Citroen is preparing an unconventional return to the D-segment market and will launch a new electrified halo model in “a couple of years”. That’s according to Citroen CEO Linda Jackson, who gave Auto Express the latest update on the progress of the brand’s large flagship car project.
“In order to be credible as a world brand, we have to have a range of vehicles that covers small cars, medium cars, SUVs and large cars,” said Jackson, speaking at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show.
“Citroen has as much credibility as any other manufacturer to have a large car. It’s just that we won’t do it in a very traditional way. We will have one. There is a market for it, and it will be coming out in a couple of years,” she added.
The French brand could line up a 2021 Shanghai show debut for the new model given its potential importance in China, but the chief executive stressed that the new D-segment car would be a “valid” addition to operations in Europe, too.
Citroen could break with tradition by offering the new flagship with the option of a fully electric powertrain, and Auto Express understands that this would be technically possible on the car’s planned platform.
The D-segment model will sit on PSA’s EMP architecture for larger vehicles, which is already used by models like the Vauxhall Grandland X SUV and Peugeot 508 saloon. For now, this has only been seen supporting plug-in hybrid power and not all-electric set-ups.
But Auto Express has learned an evolution of the EMP architecture that is able to support pure-electric powertrains is being prepared, and will be available in time for the launch of Citroen’s new halo car. In fact, it’ll be the same platform that underpins an electric version of the Vauxhall Vivaro panel van, slated to be launched in 2021. That would leave a tight window of opportunity, though. The manufacturer has yet to launch a plug-in hybrid vehicle; the first will be the C5 Aircross PHEV later this year.
If the new flagship arrives with a fully electrified version of the EMP platform, it would leave the C5 Aircross sticking out awkwardly as the only plug-in hybrid vehicle in the maker’s core line-up; everything else built on the smaller CMP platform will be a full EV or combustion-engined.
The Cxperience concept from 2016 is still very much the inspiration for the D-segment car, Jackson confirmed. It’s a sleek five-door fastback with a cab-rearward design. We’d expect the final car to carry this ethos through to production, but with some contemporary touches to link it to the rest of the Citroen line- up, as previewed in our exclusive main image.
Next year, Citroen will focus on launching a new rival for the Ford Focus in the hotly contested C-segment hatchback class, with an all-new C4 using PSA’s CMP platform. That allows pure-electric cars to run down the same production line as petrol and diesel siblings. A full EV version of the C4, with more than 200 miles of range, is planned.
Citroen saloons of the past
Citroen DS (1955-1975)
An icon of elegant motoring, the Bertoni-designed DS was an innovative package, too. Almost 1.5 million were produced over a 20-year run.
Citroen CX (1974-1991)
Following the success of the DS was never going to be easy. But the CX, introduced at the 1974 Paris Motor Show, was still a hit in Continental Europe.
Citroen BX (1982-1994)
Boxy BX sat in a class below the CX, as a large hatchback with a more humble approach. Hot GTi versions stood out, and command decent cash these days.
Citroen XM (1989-2000)
Nineties flagship was really handsome, but not a commercial success on the scale of the DS or CX
Citroen C6 (2005-2012)
Suave C6 was the last executive-sized vehicle sold by Citroen in Europe. The 2021 flagship will sit in a segment below. The C6 name lives on in a different car in China.