Cohort and Contributor Mads Jensen posted this shot of a Citroen BX. Here’s his comment: Citroën BX 14 E. Rare to see one of these nowadays. They used to be plentiful here in Denmark but have for the most part succumbed to rust. This is – I believe – the base model which means it’s probably fairly rare in this condition – certainly on this si…. Oops, his comment seems to have ended in mid word. No what did he mean to say?
I’m sorry, but a more in-depth CC on the BX will have to wait for another day. It was built from 1982 through 1994, a long span for one model. It was of course the replacement for the legendary GS, meaning, a hard act to follow.
The very angular design was based on a 1979 concept by the legendary designer Marcello Gandini of Bertone, called the Volvo Tundra. The BX shared a platform with the Peugeot 405, but of course differentiated itself most of all by having the Citroen-typical hydropneumatic suspension.
No more air-cooled flat fours for the BX; it had a number of inline fours from the new PSA family of gas XA, XU and TU engines, in 1360 cc, 1580 cc, and 1904 cc. And the XUD series of diesel engines started in the BX in 1984, in 1.8 and 1.9 L versions.
There were also a number of sporting version made, with both higher performance NA as well as turbo engines. One of these times, we’ll take a closer look. In the meantime, we’ll wait for Mads to finish his sentence.
We talk about good European rep cars and this seems almost ideal. A 405 with an even better ride. A 1.4 engine that could probably eek out 40mpg highway if kept under 75 mph. The Citroen seats of the time at least look like a wonderful combination of firm support and soft space age velour. By the late eighties, I assume the 1.4 was ohc and had a five speed to make it more highway friendly/relaxed. The car is deluxe enough to have a quieting cargo cover over the ample hatch area. The sophisticated nature of the car will rub off well on the rep. As a rep car it is under warranty if any faults develop and it is not the problem of the rep if resale value is below par.
The only faults I can see are if Citroen fell down on noise control as many French cars do and getting the reps firm to okay the purchase/lease. Nice find Mads.
I was trying to spec Mads’ find at automoblilecatalog.com and the 1.4 seems low on power at 72hp and the 5sp only gives you a 19.9mph/1000 rpm top gear. The low weight, just under 2000 pounds, and good CD still allow a 103mph top speed, but this is probably a busy car on the highway. Optional were higher performance engines, but no way around the short gearing.
That Citroen is one dated, jarringly-ugly old hulk. No wonder there aren’t too many left!
Have you ever driven one? Perhaps you would prefer a rusty old hulk like a Ford Edsel or the many other rusty old and dynamically deficient American cars which spurned brands like Holden,cars I generally describe as being built for those who didn’t know any better.Some French cars were agricultural as far as noise levels are concerned yet others,Peugeot 404,were quieter than a Rolls Royce and Cadillac.Citroens with the hydropneumatic suspension were and are light years beyond the wallowing barges that infested the USA and Australia.
A Peugeot 404 quieter than a Rolls or Cadillac. Really? Paul is this correct? You are our resident expert on the 404.
Rolls Royce spent a small fortune trying to improve on Citroens suspension for ride comfort and body control and failed, so they licensed Citroen’s hydropnuematic suspension for their product.
Too bad you don’t have these in NZ. They come with hydropneumatic suspension. Not licensed by Citroën, BTW.
No. The 404 was quite quiet for its class, but it simply didn’t have anywhere near the sound insulation that a RR did. It’s a rather silly thing to say without any way of proving it.
I’ve driven a Citroen, and although they were good cars, they lost something in the Post-CX era. My late uncle has a XM wagon with the Chrysler-sourced 2.2 litre 6, a boon for East-of-the-Continental divide drivers, but the only BX that found favour with Canadians was the BX Wagon! The design was boring to say the least. And I’ve an Edsel Ranger that’s clocked ONE MILLION Kph in still spot-on condition as well as 2 Aussie Cars (a ’72 Monaro lowrider and a ’71 VH Valiant Charger coupe) that survived 3 NW winters… Don’t tell THIS Canuck that they were wallowing barges, as they were light years ahead of the emission-strangled US, and lithe as well. One shan’t be throwing stones at a class or nationality of Car ‘less you get hit back, Ms. Thing!
A lesser-known page of the BX’s history – for some reasons CItroen was actively collaborating with Eastern European (Socialist) countries in the mid-late 1970s (google Oltcit); so, about 1976 the then-in-development BX model was offered to AZLK-Moskvitch (which had relatively modern Renault-built production facilities and struggled to create a modern BX-sized car) for joint development as a replacement for the venerable Moskvich-412 platform, with coil springs replacing the hydropneumatic suspension.
The project never went anywhere, unfortunately – I always liked this car’s styling, especially the rear wheel arches. And after rejecting another offer, this time from Fiat (joint development of what would become the Fiat Tipo) Moskvitch set its eyes on another French car, the Simca 1307, which is another story altogether…
They did eventually build Oltcits, in Romania. In Western Europe (a few countries only) these were sold as the Citroen Axel, but almost nobody bought them in the West. They were sold at regular Citroen dealers, who could make more profit on actual Citroens, which weren’t that much more expensive, and better.
IMHO, the Citroen BX is the best looking car since the CX. It’s an unforgivable shame that it was never sold here in North America. It would’ve shown American car buyers that the French, and Citroen in particular, are capable of producing good cars, and providing parts to keep the cars running.
I recall test driving one. I was intrigued by all that technology that set it apart from the more conventional cars. The brakes were different: they were pressurized by a pump and your foot on the pedal opened a valve proportionately to your braking need. The sales man warned me and he brazed himself. Good thing too. It takes a few days to adjust to this light action pedal!
Comfortable, unconventional, avant-garde, ecocnomic , and RUST-prone.
Until you see a BX next to another car, it looks quite small, about Ford Escort size. I did not know these shared a platform with any other car, much less a Peugeot 405. I thought the 405 was RWD and the BX was FWD?
Very 80s look, lots of flat surfaces and folded edges.
That Volvo Tundra looks a lot like a Volvo 480, at least from the front, so perhaps it “inspired” Volvo stylists?
You’re probably thinking of the 504; that was RWD. Dyslexic? 🙂
The Peugeots 505 and 604 were the last RWD Peugeots on the market.
The Citroën BX 1.9 GTi 16v (160 hp) from the late eighties also had lots of flat surfaces and folded edges…
Oops, I just took a look at the BX and 405 on Wiki….I must have been thinking of the 404 or 504 when I “accessed my memory” on these cars.
Still didn’t realize the 2 cars were related. In the U.S. we got the 405, not sure about the BX. Of the 2, it would be a toss-up when both were specced the same, as to which I would want to own. I suspect I’d bite on the Citroen due to it’s more….unusual (?) styling in and out.
Citroen was gone from the USA market by the time the BX appeared, I’m reasonably sure. The last ones we had as direct imports were, I believe, the DS. There were federalized CX sold here for a little while, but those were imported and federalized by a private firm.
Rode in one before – had a really comfy ride, very roomy inside.
My parents rented a BX 16TRS from Hertz for a trip across southern Europe in the summer of 1987. I remember the BX being very stable at high speeds and I was never fatigued between long trips between cities. The BX had the usual Citroen features like a rotating bobbin speedometer, suspension that could be adjusted with a lever between the front seats, a single “wet” windshield wiper and a non-cancelling turn signal activated by a switch on a binnacle to the left of the gauge cluster. The 16TRS also had a black panel between the rear door and the rear hatch that was actually transparent plastic which aided in rear view visibility. I eagerly await the in-depth writeup on the BX!
My uncle who had a road construction firm in Israel and who for years drove nothing but American cars and SUVs (well, Jeep Wagoneers and IH Travelalls – the expression “SUV” did not exist back then) had one of these and proclaimed it to be the most comfortable car he ever had – and it also possessed some of-road capabilities (just lift that suspension and go) which, for him, was no small matter. After the BX he never had anything but French cars, the last one being a Peugeot 605.
Oh, and they were pretty reliable cars and – from memory – not as horrendously difficult to work on as “traditional” Citroens…
That’s the BX, he never sold it. Both uncle and BX are now long gone…
Wow, such a funky relic from the late 20th Century, it reminds me of what people from that time period would think the 21st Century would look like. I want to drive one and I like the buldges over the rear wheels for some reason.
Kind of looks like the Prius and Insight’s long lost father. Definitely looks like an 80’s take on the 21st century.
Ah, but that’s the beauty of proper Citroens. The DS was a 50s take on the 21st century, the GS a (late) 60s take, the CX a 70s take, and the BX… well you get the picture.
Now they’re Euroblobs, unless they’re DS (which I cannot take seriously as a standalone brand) in which case they’re overwrought, chromed-up Euroblobs.
I always thought the SM looked like a 1960’s vision of something we would be driving in the 21st century, also.
I forgot these existed until the article recently about high school parking lots and I remembered a teacher at my school had one. Pretty sure his was a diesel.
The thing which always struck me about these was that it wasn’t all that unusual to see this 1360cc version. The Sierra, Cavalier, and Montego were available with a 1.3 but I’m convinced absolutely nobody (at least in the UK) bought them. I recall being shocked to read a Peugeot brochure in about 1993 which listed the 405 being available with the 1360, but again I’m sure that was pretty much theoretical.
From time to time you can find some BXs laying on the street- although good luck sighting an estate (station) model. Here’s another I photographed some time ago:
I remember when the BX was launched, same time as the Ford Sierra. I was impressed at the time. Lots of plastic panels so If there was rust you wouldn’t see it. Problem was they were not very well put-together – owners would spend plenty of time at the dealer.I remember scanning s/h ads when there were well-used ones around and they would always include a long list of parts that had been replaced.
A couple of these with diesels surfaced on trademe recently both with sunroofs both in going order and both very cheap, I’m looking at going to a 405 or BX or Xantia when my daughter starts driving she can have the Xsara but I need a replacement with a turbo diesel and older PSA cars are where I’m shopping
In race trim a Citroen BX with a mere 240hp was able to beat BMWs championship winning M3 around a French track by out cornering it repeatedly after being overtaken on the straightaways, even in standard trim these cars are streets ahead of any other passenger car then in production for ride comfort and handling.
If some hipster-looking dude driving a BX ever offers you a cup of coffee, don’t drink it.
Quite possibly, the last true Citroen-like Citroen, being adventurous in style and technology.
Later cars were ,more conevtional in one or both, such as the ZX or Xantia. Great cars and truly charismatic like a Citroen should be.
What about the XM?
Agreed on both the XM and C6. And maybe this.
Oh yeah, the C6 was definitely a Citroen, the last one in the real DS tradition. Hydropneumatic and everything.
Yep my car was designed specifically not to shock the punters nice and bland to blend into traffic the ZX that preceded it was too out there apparently.
It just occurred to me: Peugeot is the French Volvo and Citroen is the French Saab!
“They used to be plentiful here in Denmark but have for the most part succumbed to rust. This is – I believe – the base model which means it’s probably fairly rare in this condition – certainly on this side of the Alps” was what I was trying to say. I imagine they’re still somewhat common in France where they don’t salt the roads as often if at all.
For the record I was never a fan of these when new. As a grownup I have come to appreciate Citroëns more, but more in an intellectual way than in an “OMG I want one”- kind of way.
I grew up with Volvos and sometimes I wonder where that brand would have ended up if that design language had become Volvo’s.
The BX is another one I’ve always liked the looks of, but have never seen as they didn’t make it to this side of the Atlantic. A pre-1991 model could be brought in now that it passes the “25 year rule” so maybe I’ll see one someday.
I regret that I’ve never seen a Citroen BX. I’ve seen pics of them, but I’ve never seen one in person. Apparently, they were never sold in the USA.
The origami car. They look better in dark colours. Mine was a lovely dark metallic-green 1.9 GTi 8 valve. Brilliant car, really left field. Handled like nothing else on the road.
I got an ominous looking letter from the police one day, said my car had been clocked doing 98mph down the M5. I thought it unlikely as I’m pretty careful and mostly fairly sedate driver, but then it turned out it was the day my wife had borrowed it…