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CitroŽn XM 

Sales of CitroŽn's CX had been in decline for some years and the decision was taken to design its replacement in conjunction with Peugeot's new top of the range model, the 605. This meant employing a common floor pan, engines and transmissions as was the case for the CitroŽn BX and the Peugeot 405. The body style and the suspension were to be pure, unadulterated CitroŽn.

The father of the new car was Marc Deschamps, a designer who had left Bertone to go to Heuliez Torino, the Italian subsidiary of the French company Heuliez. He drew the first sketches of the new project which was given the code names V-80 to Y-30 A number of design studies were undertaken and eventually approval was given to that proposed by Bertone.

The striking visual identity of the new car, in an era when most cars are beginning to look similar to one another, was achieved by creating a band of light around the car, comprising an enormous glass area - with no less than thirteen individual sheets of glass. 

In traditional big CitroŽn style, there is a large front overhang and minimal tail overhang. Unusually, the rear wheels are fully exposed although some of the prototypes had them partially covered by the rear wings. The XM's shape is not only elegant and practical, it is also extremely aerodynamic, achieving a Cd factor of only 0.28.

The XM was the first vehicle to be fitted with Hydractive suspension ; a refinement of CitroŽn's well established Hydropneumatic suspension first launched on the 15 CV H of 1952. The XM employs two additional spheres that can be switched in or out of circuit to vary the degree of softness. Sensors attached to the steering, accelerator pedal, brakes, vehicle body and gearbox are connected to a computer that continuously varies the both the suspension spring rates and damping to provide a soft ride for comfort and a taut ride for handling and road holding. A switch enables the driver to leave the computer to its own devices or to offer a firmer `sports' setting.

The XM was put on sale on 23 May 1989 and was built at the Rennes factory in Brittany. Initially, it was available in three versions, two 2 litre, fuel injection versions and one V6 3 litre. In 1990, a new, simplified model was introduced with a carburettor version of the 2 litre and two diesels, a normally aspirated and a turbocharged version. Three trim variants were offered - Sťduction, Harmonie and Ambiance.
In 1991, a new 24 valve version of the V6 was offered and in 1992, a Break or estate car was launched.
In 1993, the XM Turbo CT was launched and the trim variants were subtley altered, together with change of names from Sťduction and Harmonie to Sensation and Prťsence. 

Original XM dashboard

A new trim called Exclusive was also launched. In 1993, the car was fitted with Hydractive II suspension as pioneered on the Xantia. In 1995, the XM nose was lightly restyled, the dashboard was reworked and the chevrons migrated to their rightful place in the centre of the grill.

The XM was intended to spearhead PSA's return to the North American market and was designed to comply with US Federal safety standards. It was felt that a three box, traditional saloon would sell better than the two box hatchback in this market and design studies were undertaken.

© 1997 Julian Marsh