Now almost out of date in the eyes of ordinary motorists, the Citroën BX reveals when you take a close look at a story of unsuspected richness. Born to take over the GSA, it will succeed without difficulty by becoming one of the best-selling Citroëns ...
Studies to lead to what would later become the BX began in the late 1970s, when the GSA entered the scene. First of all, we need to situate the context of the birth of the BX. At the end of the 1970s, Citroën was, so to speak, on the ball. Bought by Peugeot in 1976, the brand suffered a setback in its range with, among other things, the non-replacement of the SM, the discontinuation of the legendary DS and the marketing of 2 small cars, the complete opposite of Citroën's usual productions: the Visa and especially the LN ... a rebadged Peugeot 104! In this somewhat gloomy context where Citroën is looking for its place, the brand is considering the replacement of its GSA wagon with some imperatives: if the future car will have the right to hydraulics, it would be desirable, if not mandatory, that it draws a part of its technical components in the recently established PSA group organ bank.
For the style of the future Citroën, 2 projects are in competition. The first, from Bertone, is ultimately preferred to the second, from the Citroën style office. This collaboration between the chevron brand and Bertone is the first in a long series. The future BX adopts particularly angular lines which contrast sharply with those full of fluidity of the CX and the soft curves of the GS and GSA. The new wagon is therefore a complete break with its replacement ... Angular therefore, but also aerodynamic. Yes, despite its lines, the BX has a cx of 0.335, not exceptional but quite good.
For the dashboard, the revolution is total! No more seventies lines, no more satellites, no more CX lunula, no more curves! The table, very (too?) Geometric, however, still has the distinctive sign of any self-respecting Citroën at the time: the single-spoke steering wheel.
In 1982, the press discovered the new herringbone wagon. Dumbfounded by this surprisingly surprising turnaround in Citroën's style, the press adhered almost instantly. The launch range is however not exceptional:
- Base BX: 48 900 F
- BX 14 E: 51 200 F
- BX 14 RE: 53,000 F
- BX 16 RS: 55 900 F
- BX 16 TRS: 59,800 F
The 2 cheapest models use 62 and 72 hp engines from the Peugeot 104! The others are launching landmark engines: the XU engine family. The 16 TRS has a 1580 cc engine of 90 hp, with a gearbox taken from the Talbot Horizon. No doubt, the BX will cast a wide net, from the low end to the high end, and it is not over ...
In 1983, for its first anniversary, the BX received ... a diesel engine! From the XUD engine range, this 1905 cm3 engine develops 65 hp (!) And allows the BX to reach 160 km / h. The following year, the BX 16 TRS became the first passenger car to receive the JIDPO award, attached to the Japanese Ministry of Industry.
1985 is to be marked with a white stone. In addition to the spectacular (in substance as in form) BX 4TC supposed to allow the homologation of the BX in Rally Group B (!), The range is enriched by the BX Sport. Developing 126 hp, the latter is capable of reaching 195 km / h.
The BX Break
Inexpensive, well motorized, solid, comfortable, would this BX only have advantages? No, because since the withdrawal of the GSA in 1986, the Citroën range lacked a family station wagon, located below the CX Break. This lack was filled in the summer of 1987 when the BX station wagon was revealed. Extended by 17 cm compared to the sedan, the latter has a payload of 535 kg and a cargo space of 1.8 m3. Manufactured at Heuliez (which had already "inspired" Citroën designers when designing the Ami 6 station wagon) it will complete the range and contribute to the surprising success of the BX, which has also definitely fulfilled its mission and saved Citroën, just that !
At the start of 1987 however, in anticipation of the first effects of the launch of the Peugeot 405, Citroën brought a slight restyling to its BX. 5 years have already passed and it is time for the family to have a makeover. The front gets a new shield and new headlights while at the rear the shield is slightly retouched. The interior takes a hell of a facelift with less geometric lines and it takes on a new characteristic typical of large Citroën sedans: the lunula-shaped dashboard ... Finally, new mirrors have been fitted.
Despite all of this, BX's commercial career began to falter. Citroën reacted and launched in 1988 2 new distinct models. The first is a BX Turbo Diesel, which now develops 90 hp. Thanks to this new engine, the BX acquired a flattering reputation as an economical, comfortable and indestructible car. The second model is diametrically opposed since it is the BX GTI 16S! With, unlike the other models in the range, electronic injection, this model develops 160 hp and allows the car to reach a nice maximum speed of 220 km / h. The prices are on the other hand in relation to the delivered performances: 140 000 F ... in "basic" version.
The first BX GTIs, despite their brilliant qualities, did not meet with the expected success. Indeed, not distinguishing enough from the rest of the range, the customers did not adhere and Citroën reacted in 1989 by launching a new BX GTI 16, with a more assertive style. Note in passing that from 1988, the chevrons are no longer integrated into the monogram on the trunk.
The BX 4x4
If there is one area where manufacturers seemed cautious during the 1980s, it is 4x4s! We cannot say that it is for lack of know-how (after all, the Russian Lada has succeeded in marketing his revolutionary Niva at a low price) but rather for lack of desire. At Citroën, the last attempt before the BX was called Méhari 4x4 and was a bitter failure, mainly due to too high a cost. Once again, it is the BX which serves as a guinea pig. And to be sure that it is a success, Citroën will equip its future 4x4 sedan with some significant finery. Thus, the 4x4 adopts a permanent 4-wheel drive, a limited slip differential on the rear axle and, as an option, the ABS system, for 12,992 F. The engine is borrowed from the BX 19 TRS. It has nevertheless gained 2 additional hp since it develops 107 hp. Unveiled in 1988, the BX 4x4 will only be produced from 1989. Note that it is available as a sedan as well as a station wagon.
In 1989, a 125 hp GTI version was added to the BX 4x4 range. The maximum speed is 192 km / h.
The last months of production
In 1993, the BX did not stop stalling. The model has lived well, in its 11-year career, the BX has had time to position itself in all niches except one: the top of the range. This niche will be left to the load of the Xantia, which is revealed in 1993. Entirely new, the latter gives a hell of a blow of old to the BX, which also offers itself a limited series Cottage available only in station wagon, like the GSA at the time of his career end. At the end of 1993, the BX sedan disappeared, the BX station wagon waiting for 1994 to return its apron. In 12 years of existence, 2,315,739 units will therefore have been produced. An astonishing career that the one who had the heavy task of relieving Citroën. In the end, it joined the top 5 of the best-selling Citroëns where we find the GS / GSA, the AX and especially the 2cv ...
In 1990, the BX Millesime announced the end of the BX career, which was also placed under the sign of serenity after a good commercial life. In 1993, place will be left to the Xantia.