Sales of Citroën’s CX had been in decline for some years and the decision was taken to design its replacement in conjunction with Peugeot’s new top of the range model, the 605. This meant employing a common floor pan, engines and transmissions as was the case for the Citroën BX and the Peugeot 405. The body style and the suspension were to be pure, unadulterated Citroën.
The father of the new car was Marc Deschamps, a designer who had left Bertone to go to Heuliez Torino, the Italian subsidiary of the French company Heuliez. He drew the first sketches of the new project which was given the code names V-80 to Y-30. A number of design studies were undertaken and eventually approval was given to that proposed by Berton.
The striking visual identity of the new car, in an era when most cars are beginning to look similar to one another, was achieved by creating a band of light around the car, comprising an enormous glass area – with no less than thirteen individual sheets of glass.
... The XM was the first vehicle to be fitted with Hydractive suspension; a refinement of Citroën’s well established Hydropneumatic suspension first launched on the 15 CV H of 1952.
The XM was put on sale on 23 May 1989 and was built at the Rennes factory in Brittany. Initially, it was available in three versions, two 2 litre, fuel injection versions and one V6 3 litre. In 1990, a new, simplified model was introduced with a carburettor version of the 2 litre and two diesels, a normally aspirated and a turbocharged version. Three trim variants were offered – Séduction, Harmonie and Ambiance.