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Concept Car of the Week: Citroën C6 Lignage (1999)

Fri, 19 Jul 2013 00:00:00 -0700

By the late ‘90s, the bold but ageing Citroën XM was becoming irrelevant compared to the freshly updated German sedans. The press even started to suggest the XM would be the last high-end car to carry the double chevron. What they didn't know was that the designers were already working on the next model, although that wouldn't be ready until few years later. As a result, the decision was made to communicate Citroën's intentions with a modern and luxurious concept car: the C6 Lignage.

With only five months to design and build the car before its unveiling in Geneva 1999, the team had to double their efforts. Only a week after the project was launched, ten fifth scale models were presented, one of which was Marc Pinson's.

His design featured a very long overhang front overhang a very short one at the back, creating a unique silhouette that conveys a sense of effortless power. The purity of the body recalls aerodynamic shapes of classic models such as the DS or SM but without going retro.

The vertical triangular headlamps create a precise frame for the grille. For the first time the chevrons were extended horizontally to stretch over the whole width of the car. Not only does it add a premium dimension to the logo, it also dramatically widens the face.

In elevation, its DLO is very unusual drops to the rear, interrupted by the boomerang tail lamps. However, the most unusual element is the rear end. Despite its two-box construction, the C6 needed a trunk, so the rear glass was pushed in to become concave, making space for the large, rounded deck. As a result the side glass stretches further back than the rear glass, creating elegant buttresses. Unexpectedly, the chevron is echoed on the roof as the glazed elements.

The suicide doors reveal a cozy interior – designed by Vladimir Pirojkov – that takes its inspiration from geometric Spanish furniture. Each passenger is treated to ample space finished in wood and leather. The final touch is the Bonsai tree in the middle of the centre console intended to create a relaxed atmosphere.

With an overwhelmingly positive response at the show, Citroën had no choice but to consider this theme as a candidate for the production model. Despite alternative proposals from Pininfarina, Bertone and Heuliez, the design kept coming back the original concept. In 2005 the first C6 would roll out of the factory virtually unchanged from the initial prototype.

First seen Geneva 1999
Exterior designer Marc Pinson
Interior designer Vladimir Pirojkov
Length 4,920mm
Width 1,890mm
Height 1,440mm
Wheelbase 3,000mm
Engine None

Your author, Flavien Dachet, is a UK-based, French-born car designer. You may know him as the purveyor of KarzNshit, a photo blog that if isn't already in your bookmarks, certainly should be.

By Flavien Dachet