It is inspired by the C6 Lignage prototype which was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in the spring of 1999, but differs from the concept car's styling in minor details. At the time it was hoped that the C6 would go into production by the end of 2001 as the replacement for the aging XM, which was first produced back in 1989. The XM did cease production in early 2001 but the first C6 rolled off the production line almost four years later.
It is powered by either a 3.0 L ES9 V6 producing 211 hp (155 kW) or a 2.7 L V6 HDi diesel producing 204 hp (150 kW). It is aimed as a stylish alternative to executive cars like the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Despite its hatchback shape, the car is a fastback and has a classical trunk (and a unique to the C6 concave rear window) such as the one the CitroÃ«n CX used to have. CitroÃ«n hopes one of its main selling points will be its innovative technology, which includes a head-up display, lane departure warning system, xenon directional headlamps, Hydractive suspension with electronically controlled springing and damping, and a rear spoiler which automatically adjusts to speed and braking.
The C6 is the first car to obtain four stars in the pedestrian test rating of EuroNCAP due to the inventive design, where the bonnet pops up a little if a person/animal is hit and skids over the car.
French president Jacques Chirac has chosen the CitroÃ«n C6 as his official car, and has been using a pre-series car before the model was introduced. By using a CitroÃ«n C6, Chirac follows a long tradition of French presidents using CitroÃ«n cars.