20 Years On: Citroen XMs in America

Not that long ago, you could actually buy of these in the United States. And in a couple years, you’ll be able to once again buy first-year Citroen XM‘s. That is, if you’re into 25 year old French executive sedans… that are probably going to need some expert attention. Let’s face it, there’s no immediate danger of XM’s being herded onto ocean freighters bound for the Port of New Jersey, but the presence of XM’s in the US is worth revisiting, from a historical point of view.

In the 1980′s CXA Automotive of NJ used to import and modify Citroen CX‘s to DOT regulations for the American market, which included the standard ensemble of unflattering lights and bumpers. 1989 was the last year of manufacture for the CX, several hundred of which made their way across the pond, and CXA turned it attention to the XM, which it presented at the 1991 New York International Auto Show.

Enthusiasm for the XM from the American car-buying public was predictably meh, but around 20 XM’s were ultimately modified and sold in the US-market (all to private order) for about¬† $50K to $60K. That’s right, for approximately the price of one of the lesser W140′s. But for that amount you got a V6, leather seats, power windows, and one of the best suspensions in the business. ¬†

Most if not all of the XM’s that were imported came with a 3.0 liter V6, which propelled the hefty sedan to 60mph in a not-completely-unreasonable 9.7 seconds. Handling was reportedly not one of the car’s strong suits (but if you wanted sporty handling you would have bought a BMW instead). And if Ronin is to be believed, the XM could trade punches with and outpace a nitrous-injected 360+bhp Audi S8 for quite some time. Either that, or Larry was not as awesome a driver as he represented in order to get the job.

The example above is a 5-speed 1991 model, with 284K kilometers on the clock. This is one of the later examples, and features driver and passenger air bags, and power window, among other amenities.

Most of the XM’s sold in the mid-Atlantic region to lifelong Citroen enthusiasts, which should not come as a surprise. I would guesstimate that there are less than 10 running examples left in the US, one of which is an XM Break that lives on Long Island, the sole wagon imported.

Full Gallery from Citroen Rendezvous 2011

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