Performance, ride and handling

The hydraulic suspension system fitted standard on the C5 Exclusive tested here is the latest Hydractive 3+ variant and offers both Comfort and Sport modes that the driver can select from the cabin.

In Comfort, the C5 offers an excellent ride - the suspension will cancel out whatever bumps or irregularities that it comes across at any speed. In fact, I can't think of any other model in this segment that offers a more comfortable ride than the C5 does.

The ride is still superb in Sport mode but the handling is much tauter than in Comfort. That said, the C5 isn't supposed to be a corner eater so it still feels a tad ‘soft' even in Sport mode, which means the big saloon will still roll, pitch and dive more noticeably than the average German model. The steering is short of feel even though it is fairly accurate.

As its moniker suggests, the updated car features the increasingly familiar THP 1.6-litre turbocharged lump that has been co-developed with BMW. Like in the Peugeot RCZ automatic, DS3 manual and the Peugeot 5008 and 308CC among other models, the C5's unit is tuned for 156bhp at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm.

Performance is much improved over the 2.0 model it replaces thanks to the newfound power and more efficient six-speed automatic box. The C5 will reach 100km/h from rest in a reasonably quick 9.8 seconds, which is a major improvement over the old 143bhp 2-litre's time of a yawning 12.8 seconds. Top speed is rated 210km/h, which is 5km/h higher than the 2-litre model it replaces. It's a smooth operator at low to moderate engine speeds as well. It only gets slightly gruff once you past 5000rpm.

A big bugbear of older French cars (including the pre facelift 2-litre C5) was their ancient four-speed automatic gearboxes. The gearboxes were power sapping and unresponsive to say the least. Thankfully, the French are now replacing these irksome gearboxes with newer technology (six-speed autos in the case of PSA models) and the C5 is one of the recipients as part of its mild update. The six-speed box behaves and operates like a modern torque converter automatic does, offering intuitive shift patterns and relatively quick to respond to throttle inputs. The extra gears also mean longer gearing for the higher gears to improve fuel consumption. Citroen quotes an average fuel consumption of 7.3 litres for every 100km for the new model, which is significantly better than the old 2.0's 8.9 litres per 100km.


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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