It says much for the differing personalities of the designs that PSA has been able to launch with confidence two executive sector cars within a few months of each other. The hatchback Citroen XM has now been followed by the Pininfarina-styled Peugeot 605 saloon which shares the same floorpan. Peugeot directors are adamant that a ‘top’ of the range model is a three-box vehicle.
The 605, which went on sale in France during October is an impressive car, especially in the 200 bhp, 3-litre, 24-valve V6 form which is capable of 146 mph, and to 100 km/h in eight seconds. Even its 2-litre injection version belies its executive size. The model line-up includes two 12-valve 3-litres, the SR 3.0 and SV 3.0 and the 2-litre SRI and carburettored SL, in addition to the 5V24.
Ride quality is worthy of acclaim. Like the Citroen with its Hydractive system, the Peugeot’s system can be switched from automatic to a sport mode. However, while the XM’s system controls springs and dampers the 605’s electronic control system is just responsible for the shock absorbers, automatically and continuously controlling all four simultaneously. The difference is perhaps less obvious.
Another feature of both cars is the use of Valeo’s complex surface lighting, the Citroen XM being the first production car to use this. Peugeot will wait until next May,when automatic versions, the manual gearbox on the 3.0-litre models tends to be ‘notchy’, are available, to launch in the UK. The company is already confident of success following a survey which states that it is still recognised as a manufacturer of large as well as small cars. IW