Citroen xm.jpg
Citroën XM
aka {{{aka (Type here, not up there)}}}
Production 1989 - 2000
330,000 units sold
Class Mid-size luxury car / Executive car (UK)
Body Style 5-door hatchback
5-door station wagon
Length 185.4 in (4709 mm, Berline)
194.9 in (4950 mm, Shooting Break)
195.4 in (4963 mm, 1998 V6 Shooting Break)
Width 70.6 in (1793 mm)
Height 54.8 in (1392 mm, Berline models)
54.5 (1385 mm, Turbo)
57.7 in (1466 mm, 1998 V6 Shooting Break)
Wheelbase 112.2 in (2850 mm)
Weight 2888 lb (1310 kg, 2.0i Berline)
3086 lb (1400 kg, 2.0 Turbo Berline)
3203 lb (1453 kg, Turbo Shooting Break)
3256 lb (1475 kg, 1990 V6)
3620 lb (1642 kg, Turbo 2.5D Break)
3649 lb (1655 kg, 1998 V6 Shooting Break)
Transmission ZF 4HP18 Automatic
ZF 4HP20 Automatic
Engine {{{engine}}}
Power {{{Horsepower and Torque rating}}}
Similar Ford Scorpio
Opel Omega
Renault Safrane
Volvo 960
BMW E34 5-series

Mercedes W124 E-class

Designer Bertone

The Citroën XM is an executive car that was produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1989 and 2000. Citroën sold 330,000 XMs during the model's 10 years of production. The XM was voted 1990 European Car of the Year.


Launched in 1989, the XM was the modern iteration of the Big Citroën, a replacement for the Citroën CX.

The XM won the prestigious European Car of the Year award in 1990 and went on to win a further 14 awards that year.

The extreme, slender, and well-proportioned Bertone design, which took Gandini's Citroen BX concept to its natural conclusion, was not to all tastes, especially to those in the market for executive German metal, or more conservative British tin.

There were many advances, most apparently designed to counteract concerns about the vintage CX design. The CX leaned in corners, so the XM had active electronic management of the suspension; the CX rusted, so the XM had a part-galvanised bodyshell (most surviving XMs have very little corrosion); the CX was underpowered, so the XM offered the option of a 3.0 L V6 engine – the first in a Citroën since the Maserati-engined SM of 1970.

The XM shared a floorpan with the Peugeot 605 - the two models fared similarly in both teething problems and market acceptance. Unlike the CX and the 605 sedans, the XM was a hatchback design - a feature thought to be desirable in certain European markets.

The XM inherited a loyal global customer base of executive class customers and a clear brand image, but did not enjoy the commercial success and iconic status of its predecessors, the CX and the DS, which both raised the bar of automotive performance for other manufacturers.

Export markets experienced lower sales from the outset, and home market sales also declined, after the mechanical issues of the first few model years became known. The least expensive XM was nearly 50% more expensive at the time of launch than the corresponding CX. In spite of that, it sold well during the first two years. Unfortunately it suffered from defective electrical connectors, due to excessive economies on the components, since the company was in financial difficulty at the time of the design of the XM.

With total sales over its lifetime of just 330,000 units and no immediate replacement, the XM might be considered a failure. But despite its common roots with the Peugeot 605, the XM may still emerge as a collectible car, as is the case with the DS and CX.


The hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension (featuring grapefruit-sized metal spheres containing nitrogen, acting as both springs and shock absorbers) gained a very sophisticated electronic control system called Hydractive, which used sensors in the steering, brakes, suspension, throttle pedal and transmission to feed information on the car's speed, acceleration, and road conditions to on-board computers. Where appropriate - and within milliseconds - these computers switched an extra pair of suspension spheres in or out of circuit, to allow the car a smooth supple ride in normal circumstances, or greater roll resistance for better handling in corners.

The Hydractive system was somewhat "ahead of the curve" when the car was launched and early versions were sometimes unreliable. Many problems stemmed from the sensitive electronics controlling the car's hydraulic system, often caused by the poor quality of the multipoint grounding blocks — one on each front inner wing, one at the rear, and one under the dashboard. These tended to corrode (especially the ones in the engine compartment), causing all manner of intermittent faults which were hard to diagnose. On later cars, these were changed to screw terminals bolted through the bodywork, and most of the older cars have been modified in a similar way.

When the Hydractive system worked, the result was a big car with a smooth "magic carpet" ride, and better handling than many smaller, lighter, sports cars. When it didn't work, it was quite harsh and bumpy, although no worse than any contemporary high-performance sports sedan. However, right-hand drive XMs were never fitted with the DIRAVI variable fully powered steering of the CX, having an almost conventional DIRASS power-assisted setup.

Some production models of the XM were not equipped with the Hydractive system, but had a 'conventional' hydropneumatic suspension closer to that of the Citroën BX. These lower specification vehicles were all built for markets in mainland Europe.


The XM was fitted with a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines.

Engine Displacement Power(PS) Torque(Nm) Top Speed
2.0 1998 cc 115 (85 kW) 168
2.0i 1998 cc 130 177
2.0i 16V 1998 cc 135 179
2.0 Turbo 1998 cc 150 225
2.1 TD 2088 cc 111 255
2.5 TD 2446cc 130 285
3.0 12V 2975cc 170 235
3.0 24V-S1 2975cc 200 260 147mph
3.0 24V-S2 2946cc 194 278

Being part of the PSA Peugeot-Citroën company, most of these engines were found in contemporary PSA cars, like the Citroën Xantia, Citroën C5, Peugeot 405, Peugeot 406 and Peugeot 605. The ZF 4HP18 automatic transmission - the late V6 had 4HP20 - was shared with the Saab 9000, Peugeot 605, Alfa Romeo 164, Lancia Thema and the Fiat Croma.

Dimensions and weights[]

  • Length: 4709 mm/185.4 in (Berline) or 4950 mm/194.9 in (Break) or 4963 mm/195.4 in (1998 V6 Break)
  • Width: 1793 mm/70.6 in
  • Height: 1392 mm/54.8 in (most Berline models); some turbo models 1385 mm/54.5 in; 1466 mm/57.7 in (1998 V6 Break)
  • Wheelbase: 2850 mm/112.2 in
  • Ground clearance: 140 mm/5.5 in
  • Weight: 1310 kg/2888 lb (2.0i Berline) - 1400 kg/3086 lb (2.0 Turbo Berline) - 1453 kg/3203 lb (Turbo Break) - 1475 kg/3256 lb (1990 V6) - 1642 kg/3620 lb (Turbo 2.5D Break) - 1655 kg/3649 lb (1998 V6 Break)
  • Fuel tank capacity: 80 L (17.6 US gal)

Differences between first and second generations[]

There are a number of visible differences between the first and second generation XMs. The most distinctive external differences are that in second generation cars, the Citroën double-chevron logo was moved back to the centre of the front grille and was larger, rather than the offset position in the first generation cars; the 'XM' badge on the rear had a more stylised font; and mirrors and bumpers on second generation cars were color-coded on all models of second generation cars rather than the black plastic on lower-specification first generation vehicles. Other differences were internal; the instrument panel was modernised and the second generation introduced a conventional steering wheel including an integrated airbag. The second generation model never saw Citroën’s distinctive single-spoke wheel, which was replaced by a two-spoke wheel partway through first generation production. The second generation cars were also fitted with a lower rear spoiler on the tailgate, sitting much closer to the lip of the lid. There was also a series 1.5 between the 1 and 2 versions.


The standard 5-door models were called 'Berline'. The XM was also available as a ‘Break’ (station wagon) – and in France, Tissier continued a tradition begun with the DS and CX, converting many to be used as ambulances and specialised delivery vehicles including their distinctive twin rear-axle conversions.

Headlight issues[]

One criticism of the XM was that the dipped beams of the ‘complex surface’ headlights were not powerful enough, though main beam was perfectly adequate. This could be traced to the use of a plastic diffuser, between the bulb and the outer lens, which yellowed with age. The XM was not alone here; early Ford Mondeos suffered from the same problem. Later left-hand drive XMs had improved light units, but fading UK sales meant these were never fitted to right-hand drive cars. Kits using multiple individual light units are available from third party suppliers, but the aesthetics of the car can be affected by the modifications. Many owners are now fitting after market HID kits to alleviate the standard headlights.

US import[]

The XM was imported into the US by CXA, a company that had imported several hundred CX Prestige cars for Citroën loyalists in the US. Unfortunately, the XM cost 40% more than the CXA Prestige and only a few examples were sold. XM parts must be sent over from Europe.

XM in film[]

The XM makes notable appearances in Run Lola Run, Ronin with Robert De Niro, The Good Thief with Nick Nolte, and French Kiss with Kevin Kline.

[XM in IMCDB Movie DB]

Owning an XM[]

Enthusiasts consider XMs to be great cars; indeed, the view is growing that they are on the verge of genuine ‘classic’ status. They are often very cheap, but with minor problems that can, despite the apparent complexity, be fixed on a DIY basis. Nearly everything is within the reach of a well-equipped home mechanic, and basic maintenance (oil change, ignition, etc.) will give no surprises to anyone who has serviced a car before.

Some of the more common problems are failure of the ZF automatic gearbox if oil changes are neglected, electrical problems with the heater, ABS, fuel injection and Hydractive suspension caused by poor connections around the battery fusebox in the engine compartment, overheating leading to head gasket failure in diesel models and failure of the LCD warning panel on Series 2 cars. Most of these can be avoided with regular and timely maintenance.


External links[]


PSA Peugeot Citroën

Peugeot | Citroën | Gefco | Motaquip

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Current (China, DPCA): C2 · C-Quatre · C-Elysée · Fukang · Xsara Picasso · Nemo LCV

Historic: Type A · Type C · C2 . 7U · Traction Avant · TUB · TUC · 2CV · Acadiane · Ami 6 / Ami 8 / Ami Super · Axel · AX · BX · CX · C15 · C25 · C35 · Dyane · DS · ID · Evasion · FAF · GS · GSA · H Van · LN · LNA · M35 · Méhari · Saxo · SM · Visa · XM · Xantia · Xsara Picasso · ZX · DS Safari · Bijou · C-Triomphe · Xsara . Berlingo Electrique

Racing: U23 · Belphegor · Xsara WRC · C4 WRC · DS3 WRC

Concept: C-Metisse Concept · G Van Concept · Prototype C Concept · Prototype Y Concept · 2CV Pop Concept · GS Camargue Concept · C44 Concept · Karin Concept · Zabrus Concept · Activa Concept · C6 Lignage Concept · C-Airplay Concept · C-Buggy · C-Airdream · C-Airlounge · C-Sportlounge Concept · Renaissance 2054 Concept · C-Airscape Concept · Cactus-C Concept · NEMO Concept · Hypnos Hybrid Crossover Concept · GTbyCITROËN Concept · C4 WRC HYmotion4 Concept · DS3 Concept · DS Revolte Concept · DS High Rider Concept · Survolt Concept · GQbyCITROËN Concept · Metropolis Hybrid Sedan Concept

One-Off: U55 Cityrama Currus

Iran Khodro · Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile · Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile · Sevel

André Citroën Corporate website A division of Peugeot-Citroen PSA

<- Previous Citroën car timeline, 1980s-present - [edit]
Type 1980s 1990s 2000s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Economy car 2CV
Off-roader Méhari
City car LN LNA AX C1
Supermini C2
Visa Saxo C3
Small family car GSA ZX Xsara C4
Large family car BX Xantia C5
Executive car CX XM C6
Leisure activity vehicle C15 Berlingo
Compact MPV Xsara Picasso C4 Picasso
Large MPV Evasion C8
Crossover C-Crosser