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1979 Autocar article about the Douvrin engine

New 2-litre CXs

Two more Douvrin customers — the CX Reflex and Athena
by Michael Scarlett

Return to CX Index page




Above: That wonderful shape remains unaltered with identification only on the rear quarter panel and back

ANNOUNCED originally on 2 July in France, Citroen's new 2-litre CX variants have now come to Britain. Briefly the CX Reflex and Athena are replacements for the original CX2OOO Super, the big difference being that they both use the 1,995 c.c. light alloy single ohc four cylinder engine produced at the PSA Peugeot-Citreon (sic) Group and Renault plant at Douvrin. This represents one more step in PSA rationalisation; the same plant already makes power units for the Peugeot 104 and 505 and Renault 14 and 20TS amongst others — this unit is of course that first seen in the Renault 2OTS and later in the Peugeot 505. It may be a rationalisation — but it is by no means the disappointment which that word so often implies.


Above: the new engine in place - tidier in both major aspects like the more simple position of the exhaust (now behind the engine).

Right from the start of the CX story, disappointment was felt about the engine for such an otherwise remarkable car. The original side-camshaft ohv Citroen 1,985 c.c. engine was not as refined a unit as the car in which it now found itself. The Douvrin 2-litre has the advantage of all-light-alloy construction, which is responsible for claimed overall weight saving of 50kg (11Olb or about four per cent), better thermal efficiency which should mean better economy, more torque (nine per cent) at only slightly higher rpm, a little more power (up 4 bhp to 106 at the same 5,500 rpm), and what appears to be rather simpler maintenance. The last virtue is achieved by having more space round the engine, and small but important details like the increasingly fashionable plug-in diagnostic check facility and external screw adjustment for the contact breaker gap.

Citreon (sic) offer the new cars in two forms, both manual gearbox only; the nearest thing to a "base" CX is the CX Reflex which uses a four-speed box but which is otherwise well-fitted out for a base model — cloth (they call it "jersey") upholstery, quartz clocks, rev counter, etc. The top 2-litre model is the CX Athena which has a five-speed box and, as additions to the Reflex's specification, ribbed "jersey" cloth, electric windows, tinted glass, a new sort of engine oil level indicator, and air horns. Metallic paint is an option for both, and an electrically powered sunshine roof is available for the Athena.

There are interesting detail changes involved in the installation of the new engine. For a start it is mounted the other way round from the old engine's arrangement — the carburettor is now at the front so that the exhaust no longer has to be carried awkwardly under the sump as on the old car. The unusual intermediate drive shaft formerly employed to carry the drive over the exhaust and to provide equal length articulated drive shafts continues — but the rearranged engine position makes the exhaust simpler and may, one suspects, help perhaps with the problem of footwell heating well known to some CX owners. The new unit has the same overall "length" ("width" in terms of the car itself) as before, which is achieved by a 35mm (1.38in.) difference in bellhousing depth.

The old engine oil level gauge used a manometer system; the new one reverts to the simpler "ballcock" type of float and lever sensor. This avoids the occasional problems experienced with the original set-up whose reliable operation depended upon leak-free pneumatics. If a leak occured (sic), the fluid used to indicate the level could disappear into the sump, and refilling the manometer was a tricky and time-wasting process. The new system like the old, only gives a reading of any accuracy when the engine has been stopped for some while.

The new cars come here with a keen and competitive marketing policy. The Reflex, better equipped say Citroen than the CX2000 Super which it replaces, is actually cheaper; its price is £5,679 compared with the 2000 Super's £5,796. The CX Athena comes in at £6,229, just below the CX 2400 Super which also disappears now. Total CX imports this year are expected to number 10,000 cars, of which 4,000 will be the new 2-litres, 40 per cent, which compares with their previous 2-litre proportion of 11 per cent. The cars go on sale here on 24 August; Citreon (sic) GB say that the prices are 1980 model year ones, and that therefore they expect to hold them for some time — longer at any rate than their rivals in this closely contested class.


Reflex 4 speed
Athena 5 speed
Peugeot 505 INJ 5 speed
Renault 20TS 5 speed
Max BHP
106
106
110
110
RPM
5,500
5,500
5,250
5,750
Maximum torque
122
122
126
120
RPM
3,250
3,250
4,000
3,500
Final drive
4.54
4.54
4.11
4.13
Gear ratios

1st
3.17
3.17
3.46
3.36
2nd
1.83
1.83
2.06
2.06
3rd
1.13
1.25
1.41
1.38
4th
0.80
0.94
1.00
1.06
5th
-
0.73
0.82
0.82
Reverse
3.15
3.15
3.49
3.18
MPH per 1000 (Top)
20.3
22.1
21.3
20.8
Maximum speed (MPH)
109
109
109
105
0-62 mph (seconds)
12.1
11.7
10.8
12.3 (4 speed)
MPG @ 56 MPH
35.76
39.77
38.16
36.89
MPG @ 75 MPH
29.12
31.88
30.37
28.53
MPG urban
23.54
23.34
21.56
22.78
All of these cars use the same engine, although there are small variations in tune - Peugeot's 505 version is fuel-injected and has marginally higher peak torque.  Renault's 20TS one uses a slightly different Weber downdraught carburettor (32 DARA)



Above: the Athena seen from behind

SPECIFICATION

ENGINE
Front, front drive
Head/block
All alloy
Cylinders
4 in-line, inclined 15 deg. to front
Main bearings
5
Cooling
Water
Bore, mm (in.)
88 (3.465)
Stroke, mm (in.) 82 (3.228)
Capacity, cc (cu. in.)
1,995 (121.7)
Valve gear
Ohc
Camshaft drive
Toothed belt
Compression ratio
9.2
Ignition
Contact breaker
Carburettor
Weber twin choke
Max. power
106 bhp at 5,500 rpm
Max. torque
122 lb ft at 3,250 rpm

TRANSMISSION
Type
5-speed Athena

Gear
Ratio
mph/1000 rpm
4 speed
Top
0.73
22.1
-
4th
0.94
17.2
0.80
3rd
1.25
12.9
1.13
2nd
1.83
8.8
1.83
1st
3.17
5.1
3.17
Final drive gear
Helical spur
Ratio
4.54
SUSPENSION
Front - location
Double transverse arm
springs
Hydropneumatic spring damper units
anti roll bar
Yes
Rear-location
Trailing arms
springs
Hydropneumatic spring damper units
anti roll bar
Yes

STEERING
Type
Rack and pinion
Power assistance
Citroen Vari-power
Wheel diameter
15 in.
Turns lock to lock
2.5
BRAKES
Twin hydraulic
Front
10.2 in. dia. disc
Rear
8.8 in. dia. disc
Handbrake
Centre lever, front discs
WHEELS
Type
Steel
Tyres - make
Michelin
Type
XVS
Size front
185 MR 14
Size rear
175 HR 14

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase
112 in. (2,845 mm)
Track front
58 in (1,473 mm)
Track rear
53.5 in. (1,359 mm)
Overall length
183 in. (4,648 mm)
Overall width
69 in (1,753 mm)
Overall height
53.5 in. (1,359 mm)
Ground clearance
6 in. (152 mm)
Kerb weight
2,712 lb (1,230 kg)
SERVICE DATA
Fuel tank
15 imp. galls (68 litres)
Engine sump
8 pints (4.5 litres)
Gearbox oil manual
2.8 pints (1.6 litres)


© 2015 Citroėnėt/1979 Autocar