I bought the BX TXD for £375 knowing that it would need some work. This was really driven home on the drive back from Nottingham to Wales. The rear suspension arms were creaking as the arm bearings were so shot while a variety of clonks from the front end caused concerns of their own.
That’s ok. I’ve got plenty of cars so was happy to use the new BX for no more than pottering about locally until such time as I could get the issues dealt with.
That all backfired when I ‘fixed’ a thermostat fault on the Bluebird which actually left it with a coolant leak it didn’t have before. Bother. I discovered this the day before we were due to leave when the coolant reservoir was completely empty. Ah.
Fleet review. 2CV – mostly working, but exceedingly noisy for the 600 mile trip. BX estate – now SORNd as it has become a parts donor. Maverick – 600 miles at 22mpg equals financial pain. Bluebird – now losing worrying amounts of coolant. New BX – rather worn suspension components but otherwise fine.
So, new BX it was then and that’s how I found myself watching the odometer clocking up its 1000th mile since I’d collected it only two weeks previously. The drive to Sussex and back generated no drama at all and did deliver the benefit of an incredible 54mpg. The Bluebird fail had actually saved me about £35 in fuel. The only slight problem was having to fit different wheels. I’m replacing the alloys with steel wheels as I’m not an alloy fan. One of the alloys had thrown a weight, so generated a lot of wheel wobble. I wasn’t going to live with that on a long trip so I chucked on a couple of steel wheels complete with their recently acquired winter tyres.
For much of the drive to Sussex, we had the large sunroof fully opened (the trick is to open a rear window slightly to avoid buffeting). It was supremely comfortable, economical and swift. I’m fast getting used to that turbocharger, even if keeping it on boost can be a struggle at times. It was a real pleasure though. What a car.
It’s a worthy reminder that turbo diesels have come a long way but this was one of the first available to ordinary folk. The BX turbo diesel arrived in 1988 at a time when oil burners were generally regarded as horribly noisy, hideously slow and rather smelly and unpleasant. Volkswagen marketed the Mk2 Golf as a GTD, with a 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine, but it generated a rather feeble 75bhp. Citroen’s BX turbo diesel managed to get 90bhp from 1769cc by comparison. Performance was sparkling and generally on a par with the 1.6-litre petrol. The big difference was that maximum torque came in at 2100rpm, so there was plenty of urge without having to rev it.
Certainly, the BX turbo diesel remains a car capable of surprising people. Turbo diesels have a lot more power these days of course, but cars are also a lot heavier. The BX weighs in at a smidge over 1 ton but a brand new C5 is more like 1.6 tons – or the equivalent of a BX and a 2CV combined! The downsides are a lot of turbo lag, off-boost laziness and quite a bit of soot when you enjoy yourself…
I’ve always been a fan of the flat torque/power curves that are a feature of the non-blown BX diesels (71bhp from 1905cc is pretty impressive for a non-turbo diesel) so the peaky power of the turbo diesel does take some adjusting to. However, it’s so nice to be able to access that extra power for things like overtaking, getting up to motorway speeds and keeping a constant speed up regardless of gradient.
I was also impressed by the winter tyres, which seemed to have plenty of grip in the dry and much more than the worn tyres fitted previously when it got wet. I wonder if I’ll get to test them in snow…
Have I utterly fallen for this new car? Well, no. Not yet, but once I’ve made some suspension improvements, I can see it becoming a car I like a great deal.