Citroën C5 X: The magic combination of a saloon, an estate and an SUV explained from a design perspective
“With Citroën C5 X, Citroën is revisiting the spirit of touring – the ability to travel in an elegant, refined car and set off to discover the world with complete peace of mind”, says Vincent Cobée.
With Citroën C5 X, Citroën is returning to large tourers with a bold model that innovates in a traditional top-of-the-range segment. A considerable challenge for Citroën designers who were able to give consistency and character to this “next generation“ saloon, which straddles several territories so as to better meet changing customer expectations.
By combining, in balanced proportions, the style features of the various D segment body styles, Citroën C5 X embodies the segment’s revival and gets reacquainted with Citroën’s legendary top-of-the-range styles. The round, muscular shapes combined with streamlined, sleek lines create a fluid, dynamic and elegant form that combines the best of three worlds: all the status and elegance of the saloon, the dynamism and versatility of an estate, and finally, the modernity and robust appearance of the SUV.
C5 X: MEETING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
“This desire for versatile, hybrid objects that break the mould and depart from the usual codes is something that we have also seen in studies conducted in other sectors. For example, we could mention the success of all the “third places” in big cities – those places that combine entertainment, social activities, spaces for children and families, as well as spaces for young people who want to socialise with friends”, says Cécile Batho, co-director of the Brain Value design institute.
Citroën is adapting to a fast-changing society and consumers who are looking for versatile products that avoid them having to compromise on anything. Products based on innovative ideas, fully rooted in their time. This trend is now found on the automotive market. With Citroën C5 X, Citroën perfectly meets the multiple expectations of customers wanting large tourers and who are also looking for a more modern and functional alternative to saloons, estates and traditional SUVs.
C5 X: THE SOLUTION TO THE EMERGING CHALLENGES OF A RAPIDLY CHANGING MARKET
For several years now, the saloon has not been the only shape synonymous with top-of-the-range cars and escape. The SUV and estate have also attracted customers looking for more practicality and a more assertive character.
In Europe, the SUV represented the most common shape on segment D in 2020, accounting for 29.3% of all new registrations, ahead of the estate (27.5%) and the saloon (21.6%*).
In China, the shape that proved the most successful in 2020 on that particular segment was – by far and away – the SUV, accounting for half of all registrations on the D segment, followed by the saloon (18%) and the minivan (10%). The share of estate cars on segment D is marginal – it accounted for only 0.1%*.
*Source: Statnet Stellantis, Europe (29 countries).
This breakdown of various D-segment body styles has been undergoing major change over the past few years. Customers’ needs are changing: they are now looking for a vehicle that meets both their emotional and their functional requirements. Traditionally, customers on the lookout for large tourers want to drive a vehicle that helps them stand out from the others on the road – a vehicle that shouts modernity with both its style and its on-board technologies. Today, customers also expect their vehicles to be practical and spacious; they want large loading volumes, versatility and robustness; they are looking for alternative solutions and new forms of modernity.
Throughout the development of the Citroën C5 X project, Citroën was determined to meet all these needs. Frédéric Angibaud, C5 X’s exterior designer, has come up with a car that “needs to be a perfect combination of versatility, safety and aesthetics, while at the same time taking environmental and economic issues into consideration”. The result of this work – C5 X – is a new and bold concept, blending the prestige of the saloon with the practicality of the estate and all the modernity of the SUV.
This response from Citroën is completely compatible with the new way of life that customers aspire to enjoying. Cécile Batho observes this trend in all sectors : “We no longer want to be constrained in a single role. We have entered the era of the multi-purpose lifestyle – a blended way of working. Furthermore, in areas other than the automotive industry, we are starting to see products being given multi-purpose roles. One thing can serve several purposes. Fashion in particular is a good example. Large luxury brands are joining forces with street-wear labels; fashion is trying to free itself from that male-female differentiation. We are currently witnessing a fully-fledged hybridisation of our desires”.
The challenge that Citroën C5 X is taking up is this goal of being at this intersection and meeting changing customer expectations – expectations that are influenced by these different worlds. In a fast changing world, Citroën has developed a magic combination, blending the very best of a number of different body styles.
INNOVATIVE, FLUID AND SLENDER: A BOLD MIX
Citroën could not simply return to the large touring segment in a traditional manner. With Citroën C5 X, Citroën has returned with a radically different, multi-faceted body style.
THE FLUIDITY OF AN ELEGANT, HIGH-STATUS SALOON, RESOLUTELY CITROËN
According to Frédéric Angibaud, designer of Citroën C5 X : “The elongated design of the passenger compartment and the long spoilers located at the rear of the car, as well as everything that has been designed horizontally – such as the extended side windows – are all hallmarks of the saloon”.
C5 X’s body style is muscular with optimised aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption. Its streamlined profile draws inspiration from aeronautics and is of completely original proportions. The fluidity of the body style is emphasised by the car’s tight, muscular volumes. The extended bonnet, the high belt line and the rear wheel flare giving it distinction, dynamism and sturdiness are part of the shape language of Citroën’s larger vehicles.
Around the wheel arches, precise and original flat sections enhance the vehicle’s character. They highlight the large-diameter wheels while ensuring that air flows along the length of the body. The 720-mm diameter wheels are fitted with 19″ Tall & Narrow tyres. The 19″ Aero X alloy wheel rims have glossy black aerodynamic inserts that create a turbine effect to guide the airflow, reducing aerodynamic drag and so minimising fuel consumption.
The elongated roof line ends with a floating, particularly well-designed and aerodynamic spoiler. A chrome trim built into the quarter panel windows visually extends the upper chrome window mouldings to enhance the overall character. The windscreen mounts and glossy black windows ensure all-round visibility, reinforcing the status of Citroën C5 X while creating the impression of a floating roof. Customers can choose to have the roof in Perla Nera Black, further accentuating the vehicle’s stylish appearance.
A MODERN, HIGH-TECH FRONT END
With its front end sporting the V-shaped lighting signature representing Citroën’s new identity, C5 X makes a bold statement in the large touring car segment. This V-shaped lighting signature echoes the rear light signature for greater consistency. The front end showcases the chrome and glossy black features, resolutely establishing C5 X in its segment. The upper chevrons highlight the end of the bonnet and stretch right up to the LED daytime running lights, accentuating the width of the front end.
The lower chevrons stretch up to the LED headlights and daytime running lights for a high-tech yet refined look. C5 X’s lighting signature is very precise with real attention to detail. Vanes create a graphic chevron design in the headlights that highlight the car’s look and reinforce the signature, particularly the three-quarter view. These vanes also feature in the rear light signature.
The bonnet is generously modelled: long and horizontal, and positioned fairly low. It has lateral bosses that are a nod to the Citroën C4 or C5 Aircross, a powerful signature that reinforces the muscular and robust appearance of the front end.
The lower air intake, showcased by a chrome strip, has a highly geometric design – one that draws inspiration from chevrons – highlighting the main radar used for the car’s driving aids.
A POWERFUL REAR END COMBINING ELEGANCE AND PRACTICALITY
“The large boot and its very wide and low access are what you would expect from an estate car”, says Frédéric Angibaud.
C5 X’s rear instantly conveys strength and elegance. The upper spoiler – which visually extends the passenger compartment – and the extremely fluid rear window give the vehicle this powerful and dynamic character.
C5 X’s lower rounded lines at the rear fit are typical of larger Citroëns. Some details – such as the steel lines around the number plate and the bumper, the lower chevron pattern and the chrome decoration around the reflectors – emphasise the vehicle’s width and establish it on the road.
The 3D LED rear lights are stretched horizontally and extend far up on each side, reinforcing the way in which the vehicle sits on the roadway. With a V-shaped lighting signature echoing that of the front end both by day and at night, it accompanies the belt line’s curves and natural shoulder, highlighting the rear three-quarter view.
This stylish synthesis of C5 X’s rear also meets customers’ needs in terms of volume and practicality. The tailgate provides a wide and functional opening with a low loading sill for easy and practical everyday use. It is highlighted by a glossy black lower spoiler that provides support and stability when braking, an aesthetic and useful solution which has already featured in many other Citroën body styles – from CX and C6 to XM.
A RAISED POSTURE AND STYLISH CODES INSPIRED BY SUVs
“From the SUV, it has borrowed the “up on the road” look – that raised posture that provides a feeling of protection and sturdiness. The style of its sides and its curves exudes the kind of sturdiness that you find in an SUV”, says Frédéric Angibaud.
C5 X’s body has matt black protective features all around its lower section. These give reassurance and evoke SUVs, accentuating the impression of sturdiness and robustness. C5 X’s profile has other SUV features such as a raised posture, combined with large 720-mm wheels, and a higher driving position than with traditional saloons.
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