1996 Citroen XM SX Turbo Diesel Classic and Rare SOLD
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|A stunning Bertone design masterclass, with epic angular wedge styling - a proper "Big Citroën".|
Now a rare sight on our roads and likely to become a future classic, like its predecessors the iconic CX and DS.
At a glance:
- 1996 Citroën XM SX
- 2.1 Turbo Diesel engine and automatic gearbox
- Legendary 'magic carpet' ride
- Service history (16 services - latest in June 2019) handbook pack, radio code etc.
- Exceptionally clean exterior and interior
- MOT until 25th June 2020
- HPI Clear
- Scarce and becoming very collectable
Launched on 23 May 1989, the XM was the modern iteration of the Big Citroën, a flagship saloon replacement for the CX model. It went on sale in its native France immediately afterwards, and was available in right-hand drive on the UK market from October 1989. Designed in the 1980s by Bertone, (the design group responsible for other angular icons such as the Lamborghini Countach and Muira, Lancia Stratos, and Ferrari 308 GT4) the dart-like design was a development of the BX concept. It was a longer car with a longer, inclined nose, more refined details and with headlamps that were very much slimmer than the norm. Citroën's design chief, Art Blakeslee, explained the appearance of the car, saying "I believe the XM is a modern and dynamic shape, with unique styling elements such as the very long, low hood, the extensive use of glass and the kick-up in the belt line". Citroën designer, Daniel Abramson, explained: "We lowered the belt line to give the shape a stronger image. It is purely a 'design statement' that is not functional and does nothing for the aerodynamics of the vehicle. We wanted a car that looks good from every angle". Abramson is also reported as saying that they "picked three areas to emphasise: 1) A very aggressive look ("Almost sinister"), 2) Lots of glass to create a greenhouse effect, and 3) An aerodynamic accent based on fact (low drag)". Design critic Jonathan Meades described the XM as the last gothic car. In 2013 Car magazine described the XM as one of Bertone's seven "game changer" designs, referring to its "cool" angular design and its "distinctive staggered beltline".
The car featured many advances, most apparently designed to counteract the main criticisms of its predecessor the CX. The least expensive XM was nearly 50% more expensive at the time of launch than the corresponding CX. The CX leaned in corners, so the XM had active electronic management of the suspension; the CX rusted, so the XM had a partially galvanised body shell (many surviving XMs have very little corrosion); the CX was underpowered, so the XM offered the option of a range of more powerful engines. When the estate model joined the line-up, Citroën had a competitor at almost every level with most other similar-sized European cars. Ventilation was markedly more effective in the XM. Rear accommodation in the XM was improved over the CX in both width, legroom and height. In particular the rear passengers were seated higher than those in the front in order to afford a good view, important for a vehicle which would operate in French government service. The XM was intended to compete against prestige vehicles like the Audi 100 and BMW 5 Series. It also competed with cars from mainstream brands including the Ford Scorpio and Opel Omega. Citroën was quoted as saying that the car was supposed to "take what Citroën means and make it acceptable". The car's initial reception was positive. Some six months after its launch, The XM won the prestigious European Car of the Year award for 1990 gaining almost twice as many votes as the second place (the Mercedes-Benz SL) and went on to win a further 14 major awards within a year of its launch.
In mid-1994, the XM was revised. All models were fitted with driver's airbag (signalling the end of the single-spoke steering wheel), seatbelt pre-tensioners, a redesigned dashboard and upper door casings. The suspension was redesigned to reduce roll, pitch and dive. Most noticeable was the adoption of a passive rear-steering system which sharpened the steering without inducing a nervous twitch.
There are a number of visible differences between the first generation (May 1989 – May 1994) and second generation (June 1994 – June 2000) cars:
The most distinctive external differences are that in second generation XMs, the Citroën double-chevron logo was moved to the centre of the grille and became larger. It was located off-centre in the first generation cars. The "XM" badge on the rear had a more stylised font and it was moved to the right of the tailgate. The second generation cars were fitted with a lower rear spoiler on the tailgate, sitting much closer to the top of the boot. The grey/black panel between the leading edge of the windscreen and the rear edge of the bonnet was colour-coded with the body colour. The original colouring was designed to echo the upward kick in the window line behind the rear door. The door mirrors were modified to improve the view of the passenger side mirror from the driver's seat. Differences to the interior included a more conventional four-spoke steering wheel including an integrated airbag. The driver airbag was standard on most models and countries, regardless of hand-drive configuration. Also, in 1997, front seat-mounted side airbags were added, which were optional or standard depending on model and market. The quality of the interior materials was marginally improved, with the leather and the seating being both softer but more supportive. The upper part of door trim were redesigned to soften the shape.
Other major improvements included better, more reliable electrics and a faster computer system controlling the new Hydractive 2 suspension. In addition, the following changes were made to make the car easier to accept by more mainstream car buyers: As a direct consequence of their high pressure hydraulics, early XM brake pedals had very little, if any, travel. Phase 2 XMs had some sponginess deliberately built into the braking system (by inserting a sleeved spring into the pedal linkage) to make their brakes feel more like those on other cars.
After a run of 11 years, production finally ended in June 2000. By 1998, Citroën had confirmed that it would soon be discontinuing the XM and replacing it with an all-new model. At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1999, it unveiled the C6 Lignage concept car, which was scheduled for launch in 2001. In the event, the XM's successor - the C6 - did not go on sale until late 2005 and was less successful.
The history of this car:
The car was first registered in on the 31st August 1996, with 2 previous keepers. The first keeper owned the car from 1996 to 2008, the second from 2008 to 2016, and the last owner from 2016 to the present. Throughout this time it has been serviced by Citroen main dealers and specialists.
This XM is in the iconic colour combination of silver with with anthracite grey velour interior. The silver coachwork really emphasises the design characteristic, with the sculpted lines and body moulding more visible than on the more common darker cars. The XM models were offered with generous specification (for the 90s!) such as; glass sunroof, premium audio system, number code keypad engine immobiliser, adjustable seat height, electric (front) windows,
According to online sources, in Q2 of 2019 there were only 4 of these XM SX Turbo Diesel Auto models still taxed on UK roads, making this car increasingly rare and desirable and highly likely to become a future classic in its own right.
This car has covered a sensible 153,564 miles - and has averaged in the region of 6,600 miles per year over the last 23 years - but it looks and drives like it has covered only 60k miles. The condition both inside and out are truly exceptional for a 23 year old car.
The car has extensive service history, the original book pack with manual, audio guide book, radio code, every MOT to confirm the low mileage, and will have a fresh 12,000 mile service prior to sale.
On the Road:
These XM models drive exceptionally well which is testament to their clever engineering and advanced design. The car starts swiftly without hesitation with the diesel engine giving a responsive eagerness. The car has a very solid feel and is very engaging to drive, with decent levels of power and torque available. It’s a very pleasing experience driving this car on either short or long journeys. It can be driven sensibly with great comfort, but when pressed into action, the acceleration of this car is surprising considering its size. You'd expect the XM to feel like piloting a hovercraft like the earlier DS and CX, but it disguises its size very well and is far more sharp and responsive to drive than you might imagine. The designers of the XM's suspension obviously had no regard for the laws of physics when developing the famous 'magic carpet' ride quality. The distinct impression is that the car is stationary and the tyres are dragging the road beneath the car like a conveyor belt..!
The PSA XUD engine was designed and built by PSA Peugeot and Citroën. It is an indirect injection (IDI) engine and was the predecessor to the HDI range of engines. Upon its release the engine was noted as one of the best diesel engines (for cars and light vans) in the world with its high power output and refinement it made all other diesel engines seem agricultural. It was also particularly light, with a ready-to-run XUD9 weighing 157 kg (346 lb), 15% less than a comparable diesel of the previous generation. The XUD11 was available in two displacements: 2.1 L (2,138 cc) — XUD11 A naturally aspirate and the 2.1 L (2,088 cc) — XUD11 ATE/BTE turbocharged version as found in this car. Both were 12-valve SOHC engines with a 92 mm (3.62 in) stroke. The naturally aspirated XUD11 A was bored to 86 mm (3.39 in) for a total displacement of 2.1 L (2,138 cc), while the turbocharged ATE/BTE versions were reduced in bore to 85 mm (3.35 in) for a total of 2.1 L (2,088 cc).
It was fitted to the Citroen XM, Peugeot 405 and 605 and was a very well regarded engine, capable of huge mileages if maintained correctly. It starts first turn of the key after glow plug pre-heat, and ticks over smoothly, offering lively acceleration throughout the rev range. It's surprisingly free revving and engaging to drive. The automatic gearbox shifts positively and behaves as it should, benefitting from a recent ATF change at the last service in June 2019.
As can be seen from the photographs the car is extremely clean, tidy and well presented for its age. The interior is in excellent condition with no significant wear. The upholstery is in amazing condition for the age of the car, clean and virtually unmarked. The exterior is in exceptionally good condition too, for the age and mileage, and it is clear that this car has been well looked after. It’s always difficult to express in words the condition of any car, and most people have differing opinions about condition, so the best way to get a true impression will be to view this lovely car in person. I’m confident that anybody with realistic expectations will be delighted to own and enjoy this wedge of French automotive history. Mechanically it appears to be excellent having had regular upkeep, servicing and investment over the years. The suspension operates exactly as it should, in all heights and normal/firm settings, giving you that wonderful magic carpet ride.
These XMs are exceptionally good value now, and look likely to increase in value in years to come as they become a modern classic due to their scarcity. This is a great opportunity to purchase a proper 'Big Citroën' whilst the prices are still extremely reasonable. At £2,650 it's a car to use and enjoy immediately and also potentially a very wise investment for the future.
If you're looking for something to stand out from the crowd, a quirky classic, or looking to secure a car which is likely to rise in value - this looks like a good bet. This is very enjoyable car, full of Gallic charm, with sublime ride quality and a wonderful interior, it’s sure to put a smile on your face with every mile. I really love the external condition, immaculate interior and extremely smooth drive of this particular car, and if I had the space I’d be tempted to keep it for myself. I can’t keep all of the cars I deal with, but if I could put just a few into storage to appreciate for the next 10 years, this would be one of them. If you have seen how DS and CX prices have risen dramatically over recent years, the XM looks likely to be the next in line. I've got a real soft spot for this particular car, I can't quite explain it, but it's strangely addictive. I'm quite sure the next owner will feel equally affectionate.
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