Citroen XM (1989 – 2000) Review

Citroen XM (1989 – 2000) At A Glance


+Roomy, comfortable and clever

-They don't respond well to abuse and neglect

Replacing the CX must have been difficult for Citroën, but with the XM, the feat was managed superbly. Hydractive suspension offered superb ride comfort but reasonably roll-free cornering. Individually styled interior was interesting and huge. Two-litre engines were weak in standard form, but turbos were quick and effortless. Diesel and V6 versions were outstanding - although early V6s now fabulously rare and lumbered with a reputation for fragility.

Electrical problems dented image, and the XM never recovered. But in an age of PSA rationality, infusing the XM with the individuality of its forebears was always going to be challenging. Yet, the fluid-suspended computer controlled XM managed that arduous task with ease. Firmer than Citroëns of old, the XM was still a magic carpet compared with executive class rivals, especially when compared with current executive cars. Values strangthening now survivor numbers have thinned out, although we can't help wondering if there will be another big Citroen with this level of individuality again.

Our cars: 1994 Citroen XM Exclusive

Ask Honest John

Are car drag coefficients a con?

"Not so long ago manufacturers use to quote drag coefficients to demonstrate how aerodynamic their cars were. A good example was the Citroen XM, the front end came down below my knees. Now the majority front end of cars are blunt and look anything but aerodynamic and yet the manufacturers claim fuel efficiency, was the drag coefficient all a con?"
Aerodynamics continue to play a significant role in the performance of modern vehicles, but as times have changed there is an increasing focus on emissions and fuel consumption, so manufacturers have tended to communicate more on the efficiency of various powertrains as a means of expressing the credentials of their vehicles. As an example, cars such as the Mercedes EQS, Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan all have a drag co-efficient of 0.22 or less, which is even more impressive when you consider that modern cars tend to be larger than their predecessors and have to comply with more strict pedestrian impact regulations. This compares to a Cd figure of 0.28 for the 1989 Citroen XM.
Answered by David Ross

I want a bit of 1980s nostalgia - what do you suggest?

"I grew up in the 1980s in France and am now really keen to grab a piece of motoring nostalia from this era. I'd love a convertible ideally. I'm not a motoring expert at all, but probably can learn to do basic stuff. I've got a budget of up to £5K. Do you think it's realistic to find something matching my criteria? And what would you look for in terms of make/model. I've always loved the Peugeot Roland Garros convertible but not sure you can get it in the UK?"
Have a look at our roundup of usable (and affordable) convertibles from the 1980s and 1990s for inspiration ( If you'd like to use your car all year round, Citroen XMs (launched at the end of 1980s) are good value or you could go for a Peugeot 205 convertible (but watch for rust). There are few guidelines to follow when buying a car of this era. Although most were well rustproofed, the tinworm can still strike - especially if a car's been damaged in an accident. You'll also want to make sure that it's been well looked after so history is a must. Finally, try and find one that's been used - it's all well and good finding a timewarp low-mileage model but modern classics like these suffer from lack of use and their more complex mechanical components such as fuel injection can suffer, which will cause running and reliability issues. Go for something quirky and French and you'll come in well under budget - unless you go for a popular high-value model like a Citroen 2CV, Talbot Matra Rancho, Renault 5 Turbo, or Peugeot 205 GTi. You'll also enjoy the support of a great bunch of petrolheads via the club scene.
Answered by Keith Moody
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