This is a problem. There aren’t too many French CCs to be found in Tokyo, so anything over the age of 20 bearing a double chevron badge should be fair game. And it is. But this particular XM, neat though it may appear, is suspicious for a number of reasons, which I will explain forthwith. That’s also why I refrained from assigning it a precise model year: it’s a bit of a bitza.
Made from 1989 to 2000, the XM belongs to the long tradition of big hydro Citroëns, and like its forebears, can be roughly split into two eras. The DS (1955-75) got a dramatic facelift after 12 years; the CX (1974-91) traded its chrome bumpers for plastic cladding after ten. The XM, or its part, was facelifted after only five years on the production line, mid-way through MY 1994. Perhaps that was a clue that the big Cit was in trouble.
I wrote up a full CC on a series 2 XM a couple years back. The front end’s tiny grill between the headlamps was revamped, with the double chevron logo placed at its centre. Series 1 cars had the logo on the side. Like this car. Same for the rear spoiler and “Citroën XM” script on the tail: those are very much series 1.
Those wheels are also a hallmark of an early model XM. They were on the car that (somewhat bafflingly) showed up for sale in Oklahoma in a CC post from a couple of years ago. It was about a rather special XM – a 1992 full-spec V6 car with those exact wheels. A cool design, I must admit.
But glancing inside, we are thrust forward in time to the second half of the ‘90s. That is a series 2 dash. Citroën completely changed the interior when the exterior facelift occurred, so you can’t really expect to have one without the other. Yet here we are.
Is this a JDM special, then? They did import a few XMs back in the day – for pretty much the model’s entire production life, in fact. Oddly enough, they were distributed via Mazda’s Eunos sub-brand, as well as the car importing arm of the Seibu corporation, who then also carried Saab and used to handle the likes of Peugeot, Ferrari and BMW.
But neither importer/distributor has left any sticker that I could find. They usually put them on the back window; this car has a Total and a Citroën logo there, as they would in Europe. All cars sold in Japan were fully-loaded and got the V6 with the ZF automatic – a rather poor transmission, apparently. Japanese customers could specify either RHD or LHD, so it’s anybody’s guess whether this one was sent here from new, though it does seem to fit some of the criteria.
That still doesn’t explain why the exterior is clearly pre-facelift, while the cabin is unequivocally post-1994. I’ve seen more CXs and C6s than XMs around Tokyo; the car’s reliability issues may have affected its survival rate. Perhaps someone found a series 1 with a dead transmission and put as much of it on a mechanically sound series 2 as they could. Whatever the case may be, it was great to see at least one on the road here. Life is more colourful with big hydro Citroëns, even if it is the red-headed step-child of the breed.