CitroŽn C5 Exclusive 1.6 THP 155 Review
Ride on

Story and photos by Raymond Lai
31 Mar 2011

Citroen addresses the C5 performance shortcomings with a new motor and gearbox. Raymond Lai finds out if the C5 finally has the go to match its other attributes.

Introduction, styling

If there's one thing that the French car manufacturers are good at, it's in the way they tune their cars' suspension for a magic carpet ride. Well, it's no surprise why ride quality is of utmost importance to them. Drive over one of Paris' cobbled stone streets in a firm riding German car and you'll certainly discover why.

Among the three main French brands, the one that is truly exceptional when it comes to a supple ride is Citroen and its famous Hydractive hydraulic suspension. While the brand's smaller models don't have the luxury of this unique suspension set-up, Citroen offers Hydractive in its larger, more luxurious models like the current generation C5.

I first drove the C5 when it was launched here over two years ago in both 3.0 V6 and 2.0 guises and was thoroughly impressed with the former's whole package but a 3-litre model will hardly be a volume seller. The more tax friendly 2.0 model on the other hand, wasn't as convincing a package as the V6 as it offered a naturally aspirated engine that is short of poke and worse still, it was mated to a power sapping, ancient and slow witted four-speed automatic gearbox.

With the C5's recent facelift, Citroen has finally shoehorned a new 1.6-litre turbo engine under the C5's bonnet. There's a new gearbox as well - a six-speed auto that ought to banish memories of the uncooperative four-speed unit in the outgoing model.

With the latest generation model, the C5 is no longer a five-door hatchback. It is now a four-door saloon that somehow manages to look like a hatchback with its rather short boot line at the rear. The C5 is a very well proportioned car indeed. Up front, the C5's adopts the C4's upswept headlamps. There's another iteration of the nicely detailed double-chevron radiator grille to complement the headlamps. Like the C4 Picasso, the C5 features a vast expanse of windscreen area. The A-pillars are steeply raked and together with the sloping roof line gives the C5 a coupe-like profile that not only looks sporty but elegant as well. The curved base of the rear windscreen is inspired by the C6 and is a nice design touch.

The updated car features exterior changes that are limited to just new headlamps with LED daytime running lights and a new tail lamp design with a new ‘dark crystal' treatment and clear glass in the middle section. The exterior changes on the new car are minimal indeed but it's no bad thing as the C5 still looks contemporary and offers a fair degree of Gallic charm along the way.

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Engine Capacity 1598cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (77 x 85.8)mm
Power 156bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 240Nm @ 1400rpm
Power to Weight 97 bhp per ton


Acceleration 9.8s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 210 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF


Body Type Sedan
(L x W x H)
(4779 x 1860 x 1451) mm
Wheelbase 2815 mm
Kerb Weight 1609 kg


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs