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The Citroen CX turns 40

The clever and fuel-efficient Citroen CX 2000 this year celebrates turning 40, the successor to the innovative and beautiful Citroen DS.

THE HANKY WAS whipped off the Citroen CX 2000 at the 1974 Paris Motor Show and jaws immediately dropped. See, it could have gone horribly wrong for the CX 2000 which was the actual and spiritual successor to the iconic Citroen DS and SM models – indeed, it was the last vehicle to be designed and developed entirely in-house by Citroen before being bought by Peugeot in 1975. Going on-sale in 1975 it immediately earned a reputation for comfort and its handling, claiming the ‘Car of the Year’ award (by the European Automotive Press), ‘Safety Prize’ and ‘Award Auto Style’ in its first year on sale.

Designed by Robert Opron, the CX was a two-box saloon, measuring 4.63m in length. It was the first saloon of its type in Citroën’s history to be specified with a diesel engine allowing it to compete in the competitive European market which was and still is dominated by diesel sales. Indeed, the CX2000 was offered with several diesel engines, one of which for a brief moment made the CX the world’s fastest production diesel car with a top speed of 192km/h and a 0-96km/h time of 10.1 seconds.

The CX was produced in two generations with a total production run spanning 1975-1985 for the Series I and 1985-1991 for the Series II. An estate version was introduced in 1975, a 2400 GTi electronic injection sports version in 1977 – considered to be the fastest French tourer of its time – and a Prestige version in 1978, which was 28cm longer than the original car.

While, from a styling standpoint, the CX wasn’t quite as dramatic as either the DS or SM it did inherit many of those cars techno-marvels, including the constant-height hydropneumatic suspension of the DS as well as the power-operated self-centring steering system seen on the SM in 1970. In addition to these clever gadgets, the CX also offered not-before-seen comforts, like, for example, the C-matic torque converter did away with the clutch pedal which offered more room for the driver. The Citroen CX was also the first French car to offer ABS brakes in 1985.

The CX sold more than 1.2 million units globally up to 1991.

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober