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Description
Launched on 23 May 1989,[5] the XM was the modern iteration of the Big Citroën, a flagship saloon replacement for the Citroën CX. It went on sale in its native France immediately afterwards, and was available in right-hand drive on the UK market from October 1989. The XM estate was launched in the spring of 1991, until which time the estate version of the CX remained in production. The XM inherited a loyal global customer base of executive class customers and a clear brand image, but did not enjoy the commercial success and iconic status of its predecessors, the CX and the DS, which both raised the bar of automotive performance for other manufacturers.[6] With total sales over its lifetime of just 330,000 units in 11 years, and the fact that its replacement Citroën C6 was not launched until the end of 2005 (despite being scheduled for launch in 2001), the XM might be considered a failure. By the second half of the 1990s, sales were in sharp decline, but Citroën did not end production of the car until 2000. Despite its common roots with the Peugeot 605, the XM may still emerge as a collectible car, as the DS and CX both did.[7]

There were many advances, most apparently designed to counteract the main criticisms of its predecessor. 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 3.0 L V6 engine – the first V6 in a Citroën since the Maserati-engined SMceased production in the mid 1970s. 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 out, important for a vehicle which would operate in French government service.[8] The XM shared a floorpan with the Peugeot 605, and the two models fared similarly in both teething problems and market acceptance.[citation needed] Unlike the 605 sedan design, the XM was a liftback design - a feature thought to be desirable in certain European markets.