Citroën XM Buying Guide
They're characterful and cheap. But troublesome? You might be surprised...
How much to pay
• Project £150-600 • Good £1200-2500 • Concours £3000-5000 •
Running costs ★★★
DIY Friendly ★★★
Big Citroëns aren’t flashes in the pan; when launched they remain in production for some time. The XM had the CX’s 15 year heritage to live up to, when launched in 1989, and appeased both the Citroën faithful and enticed new customers in. Underneath, the formula was simplified, drawing heavily upon the smaller BX for inspiration. The floorpan was also shared with Peugeot’s 605, as were the majority of the engines.
However, that doesn’t make the XM a Peugeot in drag, because it still feels very much like an executive Citroen should – electronically-controlled hydropneumatic suspension makes the ride as supple as you would expect. Despite the early cars’ reputations for electrical maladies, the XM has proven to be a trustworthy modern classic, with a band of knowledgeable and enthusiastic owners clubs should you need support. If you like the idea of an XM on the drive, you'll want to start hunting now – they were seldom seen outside central Europe even when new and numbers continue to thin, making good ones prime fodder for collectors.
Your AutoClassics Citroën XM inspection checklist
The Citroën XM was fitted with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in carburettor, fuel injection and turbocharged derivatives. Also available were 2.1- and 2.5-litre diesels, and two varieties of 3.0 V6. Carburetted variants are rare today, and the bulk of survivors are 2.0i, turbo or 2.1TD models.
The 2.0s suffer cambelt failure, as do turbos – renewal should be every five years or 72,000 miles to be safe, as the XU is an interference engine. The same applies to the 2.1-litre XUD diesel, as this is a derivative of the XU petrol. On turbo cars, the electronic boost valve can fail leading to a car which effectively performs like a non turbo 2.0. A manual boost control valve should cure this – and allow you to play with the turbo set-up. Originally, it was tuned to provide a flat torque curve at the expense of power – a previous owner may already have amended this.
3.0 PRV V6s have few issues barring rattly cams at high miles and occasional loom issues where heat from the block can cause the insulation to melt. The later ES9 V6 is equally reliable, with iffy starter motors being the primary culprit for issues.
CITROËN DS21 PALLAS INJECTION WITH SUNROOF AND MANUAL...
Citroen DS21 Pallas LHD in a stunning throughout condition! This is a rare and original Pallas version with beautiful and original black leather interior, tinted glass and rare sunroof! Body very solid, no rust and correct panel fittings. Original and famous 2100cc injection engine in combination with a manual transmission. Mechanically 100% and therefore in a perfect working and driving conditionFor Sale | 18 Apr 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 36,500
1991 Citroën BX 14 TGE Sport
1991 CITROËN BX 14 TGE SPORT - $9,500 1991 Citroën BX 14 TGE Sport For Sale or Trade Imported from Spain, this rare motorcar is a real head turner. Powered by peppy 4 cylinder motor mated to a 5 speed transmission. Odometer reads 116,000 miles (187,000km). Painted in bright red with custom sport branding decals and finished with a complimentary and comfortable gray fabric interior. Features AC,For Sale | 18 Apr 2018 | 2564 Portland Road (US Route 1) Arundel, Maine 04046$ 9,500
Citroen SM Maserati 1971
Recently arrived in the collection from Firenze, Italy, an early SB Carburettor model of these wonderful SM Maserati cars, with three previous owners, the last being a private collector. Prior to him putting it away in his collection, it was refreshed, on its exterior paintwork in its original Silver Grey colour. Which compliments its excellent exterior chrome & stainless brightwork, iFor Sale | 18 Jan 2018 | Rochford, United Kingdom£ 39,995
Citroen 2CV6 Dolly, 1992 (December) Beachcomber. One...
Citroen 2CV6 Dolly, 1992 (December) Beachcomber. One of the last of the line and in exceptional condition throughout. Last fastidious owner for 7 years who has spent over £4,000 on restoration work including new wings. Recent new alternator, new gear linkages, new seat trims and foams, beachcomber door cards and lots of new fittings. New road wheels and tyres 18 months ago. Lots of new chrome andFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Wingham Industrial Estate, Goodnestone Road, Wingham, Canterbury, Kent, CT3 1AR, UK£ 12,995
CITROËN TRACTION AVANT 11BL (1956)
1956 Citroën Traction Avant 11BL in a great condition. This is an 11BL Légére. Completely restored and technically revised a few years ago. This was done with a lot of attention for every detail and originality. The body is beautiful, has good panel fittings and the paintwork is good as well. The undercarriage is rock solid, very original and free of rust. Equipped with a grey cloth interior wiFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 23,250
CITROËN 2CV AK400 `FOURGONNETTE` (1978)
Nice 1978 Citroën AK 400. This version is one of the third and last of the A-types. In its day, it was one of the most popular vans for small businesses, nicknamed the delivery duck. In comparison to the AK 350, the load capacity of the AK 400 had been increased by 50 kg and was given a studier gearbox coupled to the 32 horsepower Ami 8 engine. A recent restoration has been carried out satisfactoFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 15,000
1965 Citroën 2CV
This is a 1965 Citroen 2CV in highly restored condition. This car has just completed a highly detailed professional restoration and is an amazing example of a 2CV. Car has new paint, excellent restored interior and superb mechanicals. Work done by Eurocar Imports in New Jersey. For more details call 631-283-8819.For Sale | 10 May 2018 | Aventura Motors 625 County Rd 39A, Southampton, NY 11968$ 23,000
CITROËN SM MASERATI CARBURETTOR VERSION AUTOMATIC,...
Citroën SM Maserati LHD in a stunning and original condition throughout! Third owner car with only 88.000 Miles from new! This is the beloved carburetor version with automatic transmission! Body in an exceptional clean condition, no rust, nice paint, correct panel fittings and sublime at the underside. Mechanically very good and therefore in a great working and driving condition. Recently undergoFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 38,750
CITROËN TRACTION AVANT 11B (1954)
1954 Citroen Traction 11B. Acquired from the second Dutch owner and registered in Holland since 1972. It has been sympathetically restored and mechanically overhauled in the past. The bodywork is nice including the body-panel fittings. The solid underbody is in good condition. The older paintwork is still good. The chrome details have retained their gleam. It has a nice grey cloth and vinyl trim.For Sale | 22 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 16,950
CITROËN TRACTION 11 BL ORIGINAL CONVERTIBLE (1937)
This 1937vehicle is genuine and has been certified as such by external Citroën Traction specialists. This therefore is not a replica!! All the important and original characteristics are present. She still has her original engine, chassis and bodywork; again this has been independently certified. It has had 5 previous owners. About 9 years ago the car underwent a full restoration of the highest quFor Sale | 09 May 2018 | ARNHEMSESTRAAT 47, 6971 AP BRUMMEN, THE NETHERLANDS€ 147,500
Manual gearboxes pose no issues in service. The long throw is cumbersome, and the foot-operated parking brake makes the clutch awkward, but they are reliable and solid.
Most automatics use the ZF 4HP18, while the late V6 automatics use the ZF 4HP20. Both gearboxes will appreciate regular changes of ATF at around 16,000 miles. You can use Dexron 3 in a 4HP18, though be prepared for shorter intervals if the gearbox has previously been run on Dexron 2. Dexron 3 has greater cleaning capacity, and it would be wise to avoid debris in the gearbox!
If the fluid is not red, ask the vendor when it was last changed. If he is unsure, or if it was over 20,000 miles, save yourself potential pain and walk away.
4HP20s have electronic adaptive properties, and are supposedly sealed for life. It is possible however to change the fluid – through a complex procedure, which is not for the faint-hearted. If it hasn’t been done recently or is anything but red, walk away.
Suspension and brakes
While some basic cars used a standard hydropneumatic system, the majority of XMs used Citroën’s Hydractive electronically controlled suspension system. This used electronic valves and additional spheres to selectively stiffen or soften the ride depending upon road and driving conditions, ensuring that the ride could stay supple without causing excessive wallowing under hard cornering. There were 2 types; Hydractive 1 and the later and more adaptive Hydractive 2 – ECUs are not interchangeable.
Check a previous owner hasn’t forced it into permanent soft mode – there are diodes in the ECU which control the switching, and when these fail the car defaults to hard mode. Rather than cure the issue, a number of cars have had their wiring butchered. If you can’t tell a difference between 'Sport' and 'Normal' modes, chances are this has been done and you should negotiate accordingly. The brakes should be strong, as the high pressure hydraulics in old Citroëns ensure a firm feeling pedal and plenty of bite.
Much of the Citroën XM’s bodywork was galvanised when new, and is thus unlikely to pose significant issues with rust. However, key areas which were not galvanised include the front and rear subframes, and many owners have reported that these can – and will – rust badly. Check them thoroughly to ensure you have a solid car, then turn your attention to traditional troublespots such as the sills.
Inner sills and jacking points can rot out, particularly on cars that have been jacked incorrectly in the past. Spare wheel carriers weren’t galvanised either, and can rust just as badly as the subframes – though with less severe consequences. While we would be surprised to find rust on the bodywork, it is possible that the car has suffered accident damage and poor repairs.
Plastic trim items – such as much of the tailgate, nose cone and bumpers – are no longer available new, and secondhand supply is limited. Examine all thoroughly, and ensure that there are no major cracks, scuffs or splits. Glass is similarly hard to find, and many good cars have been scrapped because of thoughtless thieves or accidental damage.
Interior plastics are notoriously brittle – and when so much has to be dismantled for as simple a job as a clock bulb change, it’s not surprising to find that many owners haven’t bothered. So don’t be overly put off by a dead clock – look closely and you should be able to see if the LCD is in good condition. LCDs are prone to bleeding; both the clock/trip screen and the warning screen. These are available secondhand, though rare – our advice would be to find a car with working screens. The radio cover panel clips can also break, and don’t be surprised to find that the glovebox lid droops on S1s. The hydraulic ram used to open it can lose charge, and while regassing is possible it involves stripping the glovebox from the car and many simply don’t bother.
Don’t be surprised if the speedo needle is erratic – it’s a known issue, and one that potential XM owners should get used to. Be more concerned about the quality of the interior trim – check for cigarette burns on velour or excessive cracking on leather. If the car has a keypad immobiliser (In the centre console) we advise that you have this disconnected. They can fail and render the car immobile even to its owner, and can only be disconnected when the correct code has been entered.
- 1989: Citroën XM launched as 2.0, 2.1TD and 3.0 12v V6.
- 1990: 24v V6 joins the existing range.
- 1991: XM estate launched.
- 1993: Series 1.5 model launched with revised Hydractive, 2.0 Turbo launched.
- 1994: Range facelifted into Series 2, new grille, spoiler and interior similar to smaller Xantia.
- 1996: 2.5TD launched using Iveco diesel.
- 2000: XM discontinued.
Some say the Citroën XM is a Peugeot 605 in drag and that they are more trouble than they’re worth. We disagree on both counts; the XM is a charming classic, a proper big Citroën, and reliable enough to stand the test of time. Great seats, an unrivalled ride and a big boot make an XM very easy to justify.
Running costs aren’t ludicrous either, so if you have a good one there is nothing to stop you enjoying it regularly. And you’ll want to – an XM will always turn heads, and will always make you feel special. As one of the last big Citroëns, it’s a car that’s well worth preserving – and with everything from leather-lined limousines to diesel workhorse estates available, there’s an XM for everyone. Buy one. You won’t regret it.
|Citroën XM 24v|
Picture courtesy of MagicCarPics
Looking to buy a Citroën XM?
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