Wednesday, April 22, 2009

1992 Citroen XM

Alright, this post is for me. I like Citroen XMs. I want one. I can see my friends shaking their heads and rolling their eyes when they read that. "Jesus, Dave, haven't you had enough weird cars in your life?"

I've always been attracted to wedge shaped cars. The XM is the ultimate wedge shaped sedan. I find it incredibly good looking. In my eyes it's far more "normal" looking than Citroen's previous offerings, but it still looks like nothing else on the road.

The XM was launched in 1989 and immediately won all sorts of awards, including the prestigious "European Car of the Year" award. As would be expected in a Citroen, it had a hydropneumatic self leveling suspension (controlled in the XM by an impressive, but trouble prone electronic management system), speed adjustable, self centering steering and, of course, a single spoke steering wheel (later eliminated when airbags were introduced). Unlike any previous Citroen sedan the XM had a V6 engine (the PRV, aka Douvrin, V6, which was developed jointly by Peugeot - Citroen's parent company -, Renault and Volvo ) and some real power. Citroen also finally took rust prevention seriously with the XM.

The XM was not a trouble free car. The electronics, especially the hydropneumatic management system, were an expensive nightmare. This improved over the years, so it's best to find a later year XM. As with all hydropneumatic Citroens, the spheres will eventually need replacing. Interiors have not held up well over time, especially if the car has spent its life in a hot climate. All the usual minor problems you find on an almost 20 year old car will present themselves on the Citroen, too.

The PRV engine, if properly maintained, is an extremely durable engine. Most of the other mechanical parts are also straight out of the Peugeot parts bin and are relatively reliable.

Having said all that, there is little chance I'll own one of these for at least another 5 years (I suspect my friend and mechanic, Jeff, just breathed a huge sigh of relief). Importing a car into the US that is less than 25 years old is extremely difficult, and the oldest XM is just 20 years old. There were approximately 20 XMs legally imported into the country by a company called CXA, but these rarely appear for sale and when they do they are often at inflated prices.

I mentioned my desire for an XM to two friends who live in England. The first one offered to take $2500.00 out of my bank account and set fire to it, saying it would be the same as buying an XM and would save me money in the future. The second friend told me about the XM his uncle owns and what a great car it is and how he hopes to buy it when his uncle is ready for a new car. The Citroen XM, which was controversial when new, is obviously still controversial today.

The car you see pictured above is for sale in Canada. Click here to see the listing.

For more info on Citroens, click here to find the Citroen Concours of America website. It's a really well done and interesting site.

Click here to find Citroenet. This British site has some really good info and articles on the XM (and other Citroens)

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