History of the unloved herringbone limo flop

Hard to succeed a legend. While called upon to take over from the mythical CX, the Citroën XM never met with the expected success, suffering from an image of an unreliable “grandpa” car.

The Citroën XM is presented to the public on May 23, 1989 after 55 months of development under the name Y30 to succeed the Citroën CX. It was voted car of the year 1990, 15 years after the CX. Its design, produced by coachbuilder Bertone, gives it excellent aerodynamics for a limousine (CX of 0.28 for the XM injection, 0.30 for the V6).

New out of old

She keeps the hydropneumatic suspension of the CX, to which it adds, in its “Hydractive” version, two spheres, one per axle, to offer two damping modes: “soft” and “sport”. Management is done automatically or manually via an electronic control located next to the gear lever. The hydraulic suspension allows it, as with all previous Citroën station wagons, to maintain a constant attitude whatever the load, giving it an obvious advantage over its competitors once loaded.

A noble mechanism

Unlike the CX, powered exclusively by 4 cylinders, the XM is offered with a V6 engine. This 90° V6 of 3 liters, the PRV, is the result of the collaboration between Peugeot, Renault and Volvo (not to be confused with the V6 of the famous SM, of Maserati origin). It was later derived in a 24-valve version, delivering 200 bhp, only sold with a manual gearbox. Like all previous top-of-the-range Citroëns, the XM was used by the President of the Republic (François Mitterrand then Jacques Chirac) and in the French high administration.


Produced in only 333,405 copies in 11 years, with no direct heiress, the Citroën XM failed to take up the torch from the CX. The car suffered from numerous reliability problems early in its career which, tarnishing its image, managed to turn customers away. The Citroën C6, marketed in November 2005, will be positioned as a replacement for the high-end XM models.

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