One peaceful, February morning, I got a phone call from Practical Classics magazine. Could I find a Citroen XM for a photo shoot the following Monday? This didn’t leave much time, but Citroen folk rarely let me down. A plea for a suitable car quickly resulted in several offers, but a tasty 2.1 turbo diesel in Mandarin red sounded ideal.
So, I hopped into my 2CV and dashed over to Leicestershire, where I swapped my simple Tin Snail for a really rather nice XM. It was the first time I’d been in one for many years, and as I still had to get it to Rockingham Raceway, I had plenty of time to enjoy the experience.
And what an experience it was. At the time, I was on a hiatus from hydropneumatic motoring. The XM swiftly reminded me what I was missing. The floating ride was backed up by keen handling, as the suspension automatically stiffens when cornering hard – it’s a much more complex beastie than the BX in that regard. The engine is a peach too – the 2.1-litre, 12-valve development of the XUD. I found the turbocharger cut in much more smoothly than the earlier XUD, and much earlier in the rev range. It made it much more relaxing. The XM was criticised for lacking power in this form, but being used to rather more feeble transport, I had no complaints at all. It was nicely brisk.
The photo shoot was fun, and pitched the XM against other Car Of The Year winners, ranging from the Porsche 928 to the sheer glory of the Renault 9. To find out more, head to the shops and grab a copy of Practical Classics. You can also read about CXs and BXs elsewhere in the issue.
The downside of this job is that it can leave you weak and unable to resist motoring purchases. Within days of driving the XM, I’d swapped the Land Rover Discovery for a Citroen BX. Once the hydropneumatic bug bites, it’s hard to resist! Thanks to Will of the XM forum for the loan of the car. It’s lovely!