CitroŽn Turbo Diesel
DO YOU TRAVEL FIVE-up, at speeds of up to 12Omph, yet return 33mpg and
a range of at least 500 miles between fill-ups? Answer: buy a new
CitroŽn XM Turbo Diesel and (preferably) take it to Germany. A weekend
trip to Bavaria proved this latest addition to the XM range to be a
very competent and economical long-hauler. At more moderate British
road speeds, we have managed 43mpg in mixed running with four people
But the Turbo Diesel is no dour economy machine.
Its O-60 time of 1O.3sec may not be startling, but it is still
sufficiently quick - aided by the strong peak torque of 183lb ft at
2000rpm - to be entertaining. For comparison, the petrol 2.0Si does
O-60 in a claimed 9.6sec.
110bhp maximum power
comes at 4300, but the abundance of torque low down allows you to
change up at between 2500 and 3000rpm, and use the beefy torquearound
2000 for accelerating, which compensates for the restricted overall
XM’s 2088cc turbocharged four-cylinder engine is a development of the
existing XUD engine family. It’s the same unit as powers the
turbodiesel Peugeot 605 (Newcomers, May), which will not be sold in
Britain before September.
The engine uses a
cast-iron block and an aluminium cylinder head carrying three valves
per cylinder -two inlet, one exhaust - to improve breathing and supply
more air for combustion. The economy and performance figures suggest
that this works well. The engine and five-speed ME 5TL gearbox are
mounted on hydraulic links to help isolate vibrations from the body,
while a torsional vibration damper on the crankshaft tackles the
problem at source.
Apart from the engine, the Turbo Diesel
is standard XM (CAR, June and December 1989), in three levels of trim.
All models use CitroŽn's Hydractive suspension, in which sensors
monitoring vehicle speed, body movement, the angle of the steering
wheel etc, inform a central computer which adjusts both spring and
damper rates in the hydropneumatic system.
system adjusts automatically from soft to hard mode very effectively,
but a switch allows the driver to choose the sport setting manually.
Since the car automatically stiffens up when it needs to, the selector
switch is best left as an ornament or, as we found, a talking point for
impressionable juvenile passengers.
On our trip to Bavaria
(via Calais) the suspension scored noticeably on two occasions. Early
in the trip the car was uncannily smooth over the bumpy back roads
between Calais and Dunkirk. On German autobahns, travelling at speeds
which turn bends into corners, the XM remained impressively flat as the
suspension altered to cope with high cornering loads. We made the trip
accompanied by a BMW 535i, which rolled appreciably more through fast
bends, and passengers who tried both cars preferred the XM.
there is a naturally aspirated XM diesel in other markets, only the
turbo will be offered in Britain. Here the basic diesel model is the XM
Turbo D, which has a good level of equipment, including remote central
locking, electric sunroof and front windows, and height-adjustable
It’s not cheap: at £16,899 it’s £1820 more expensive than the petrol-injected 2.0i in the same trim.
SD has electrically adjustable front seats, electric windows all round,
and automatic temperature control, among other delights.
Its price is £18,449. Top diesel is the Turbo SED, at £21,119, which has leather upholstery, air~conditioning and ABS.