THE LONG DISTANCE LOVE AFFAIR
THE CITROEN CX BROKE NEW GROUND IN BIG CAR DESIGN WITH ITS AERODYNAMICS,
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE, SELF-
LEVELLING HYDROPNEUMATIC SUSPENSION, VARI-POWER
STEERING AND POWERED BRAKING.
Even before the energy crisis that made all makers of big cars take fuel economy seriously, Citroën introduced the aerodynamic CX.
Its design would be more influential than any of the revolutionary Citroëns which preceded it.
Its front wheel drive ended the myth that this was unnecessary or impossible in all but minicars.
The CX put power steering into the hands of drivers to whom performance and handling are a priority. Brought the superiority of self-levelling suspension home to luxury car makers. And would help to inspire experimental active suspensions now being developed.
The CX's powered braking offered instantaneous command of enormous stopping power when most cars had only vacuum-servo brakes.
A LESSON IN ENGINEERING.
Although other manufacturers have adopted some of the CX's features. none has managed to produce a car which compares with the CX. In part, this is because most of the elements that make up the CX design were developed first by Citroën. Some had already been proven in earlier Citroën models, giving the company an unmatched lead in these areas. Indeed, several competitor's cars incorporate components licensed from or made by Citroën.
The CX brings together all these design elements in an integrated whole. It has a 'feel' and a character missing in cars which merely reflect part of its design. Further, the CX now includes many improvements based on experience of making these technologies work together.
IN A CLASS APART.AND THE
DIFFERENCE IS ENGINEERING.
Though the CX is often considered alongside a handful of expensive luxury saloons, the decision to own a large car should not be a matter of style but of need - particularly if you cover high mileages annually.
To emphasise this, the CX range includes models across a wide price range. All models have the inherent CX qualities, which all underlines that its performance is not simply a matter of bolt-on additions, nor its comfort for driver and passengers a matter of additional interior fitments. They are a product of the car's integrated design especially the unique hydropneumatic system which gives the CX a ride quality, handling, and braking widely considered to be better than any other luxury or performance saloons.
WHEN BIGGER IS BETTER.
The real purpose of the power and heavier build of large cars like the CX is that high cruising speeds can be maintained without excessive stress, either on the car or the occupants.
Aside from offering more space, a benefit of length is that it usually places occupants within the wheelbase, reducing the effects on them of any pitching movement. This is fully exploited in the CX - minimal overhang front and rear means that most of its length is wheelbase.
This has a number of effects upon performance but, as far as comfort is concerned, it means that passengers, engine and luggage weight are within the wheelbase, actually reducing the pitching of the can
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE AND
AERODYNAMICS WORKING TOGETHER.
What makes the CX such a great car to drive is how major design elements are matched to each other. Obviously with a very low drag coefficient, an aerodynamic car should be more fuel efficient than a 'boxy' can. In theory one would expect it to also handle better at speed. In truth, some aerodynamic-looking cars do not handle as well. Aerodynamics is a two-edged sword -fuel efficiency can be achieved, but sometimes this is at the expense of handling. Because aerodynamic design effects lift or pressure on the car's body at speed, it must be carefully matched to weight distribution.
Where fashion dictates 'aerodynamic styling' a manufacturer may be tempted to restyle a model aerodynamically while retaining an existing floorpan and driveline - and, with it, the same weight distribution. The result could be a car which handles less well than its 'boxy' predecessor This problem is also likely in an entirely new car where the need for a range of engine types, can only be met by switching between four and six cylinder units. Engine space may then dictate rear wheel drive - with all its shortcomings in terms of handling, weight and usable interior space. Put very simply, the benefit to handling of front wheel drive is that it pulls the car, rather than pushing it from behind. It also puts more of the engine and transmission's weight towards the front of the wheelbase where it improves traction and directional stability.