Citroen’s wacky engineering has made the automaker somewhat of a French national hero. Back in 1962, there was an assassination attempt against then-president Charles de Gaulle. Gunmen opened fire at the leader’s Citroen DS state vehicle. Apparently, over 140 rounds were expended killing two of de Gaulle’s motorbike escorts and seriously damaging his car. But the DS’s clever hydraulic suspension made it possible for the chauffeur to continue driving on shredded tires and away from the hot zone.
It is said that presidential vehicles in France depend on the favorite automaker of the current leader. Today, Emmanuel Macron is driven around in an armored DS 7 Crossback SUV. Admittedly, it’s a rather stylish vehicle—one that is quite unique in the sea of Mercedes S-Class limos in use by other world leaders. But if monsieur Macron would be given another chance to pick his next company car, we highly recommend the Citroen C5 X.
For starters, Citroen doesn’t call the C5 X an SUV despite its raised ride height. Actually, the press release didn’t say what kind of car Citroen’s newest model is. It does have a bit of sedan, wagon and crossover in it, but there is no mention of the automaker’s definitive classification for this vehicle. But the fact that it has the best bits of several vehicle types is probably enough to make Mr. Macron quite pleased.
The C5 X’s profile elegantly blurs the line between coupe and wagon. The tailgate is angled just enough for the car’s back end to still have an estate side profile without turning into a fastback. The front fascia has lighting assemblies split by an upper grille sporting integrated Citroen chevrons. And just when you thought that this was a low-slung car, 19-inch wheels and tires leave a gaping chasm between the undercarriage and the ground.
Citroen claims that the C5 X’s plug-in hybrid powertrain can run on battery power for an entire week before it needs a boost from the gasoline engine. That seems ambitious, but it is in line with Macron’s climate policies. The overall system output is 225hp, with the ability to drive up to 135km/h on electric power alone.
Citroen calls the interior a “lounge area.” Emphasis was made on giving rear passengers as much legroom as possible, which shouldn’t be a problem given President Macron’s 5’7” height. What he will enjoy, however, is the ride comfort delivered by the C5 X’s air suspension with specially designed hydraulic dampers—a modern-day version of the system used in the classic DS. If the leader fancies taking the wheel once in a while, he’ll definitely like the expansive view from the minimalist dashboard.
Of course, any presidential car needs to be bulletproof and bombproof. How the C5 X will respond to armoring is something we don’t know. But given its looks and the technology underneath it, we think that France’s commander-in-chief will have a lot more road presence in the sleek Citroen. And in the unlikely event that things go hairy on his next road trip, it could be his lifesaver.