Vintage New Car Preview: Citroen CX – The New Big Citroen

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Paul Frere was a legendary journalist and driver, and Road and Track was fortunate to have him be their European Editor for years. His knowledge and insights added greatly to any subject he covered. In this case, it was a big deal: Citroen’ replacement for the legendary DS was finally at hand, almost exactly 20 years after it first appeared. I remember reading this, as well as the coverage of it in Auto, Motor und Sport. Heady times; an all-new big Citroen.

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The CX got off to a somewhat modest start, with just two versions (X 2000/2200). I fact, the top tier DS 23 Pallas would continue in production for a bit longer, until the CX evolved a bit further with larger engines and its own Prestige model.

Somewhat sadly, the CX had to do with an updated version of the DS’ pushrod four, as Citroen lacked the capital to develop a new engine. It was the same issue back in 1955, when the DS then had to use the old four from the Traction Avant. Developing radical new solutions to other aspects of these cars just didn’t leave enough for a new compact six or boxer four. But the Cx made the most of its engine; it was much smoother in its new transverse location thanks to very effective engine mounts and other measure.

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Frere’s driving impressions are always top-notch.

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The CX took its name for the French abbreviation for Coefficient of drag (“CD”). In the case of the CX, that was .30, a laudable number for the times, but pretty typical for today. And when it was first introduced, it was referred to as the Cx, which is the correct way to express it, but it soon became CX, for marketing reasons, presumably.