The Citroën CX was the successor to the DS and considered by many enthusiasts as the last “real Citroën” before Peugeot took control of the company in 1974. It was produced from 1974 to 1991. Citroën sold nearly 1.2 million CXs during its 16 years of production. The CX was voted European Car of the Year in 1975. Available models were a four-door fastback, a station wagon (break, or estate car), and a long-wheelbase Safari/Familiale estate model built on the break chassis.
Like the DS, the CX employed Citroën’s unique hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension system. The suspension was attached to sub frames that were fitted to the body through flexible mountings, to improve even more the ride quality and to reduce road noise.
The CX was a transverse engine design, in contrast to the longitudinal mid-engine layout of the Traction Avant, DS and SM. This saved space permitting the CX to be 8 in (20 cm) shorter than the DS. In 1976, Citroën introduced a 10 in (25 cm) longer version, the “Prestige”, which used the wheelbase of the longer Safari/Familiale estate. The Prestige offered more rear legroom than any other standard-sized sedan in the world. In 1977, it also gained a raised roofline to improve comfort further.
The CX’s styling was very similar to Citroen’s GS. Both were designed by Robert Opron who also styled the SM. It inherited the SM’s speed-adjustable DIRAVI power steering, and a unique interior design that did away with steering column stalks, allowing the driver to reach all controls with his or her hands on the steering wheel.
Series 1 CX models (1974 – 1985) had a “spaceship” interior. Arguably the most unique feature was the revolving drum speedometer and similar tachometer, and a “stalk-free” layout where turn signals, wiper controls, horn and headlights could be operated by the driver’s fingertips while his/her hands remained on the steering wheel.rotating drum gauges.
The Break estate (“Safari” in the United Kingdom), produced from 1975 until 1991 was joined by the seven-seat Familiale, both, with increased load capacity (baggage; equipment; passengers), taking full advantage of the CX’s self-levelling suspension.
In July 1985, the CX received a styling update and became known as the Series 2. Plastic bumpers were the most notable exterior change while inside the dashboard pod lost the revolving-drum instruments and received regular dial gauges, a sloping centre dash area, and the radio moved to a position sideways and between the front seats, with the height corrector and heating controls moving to the centre console. Also, the suspension became stiffer in most models.
Both gas and and diesel-powered models were available in various engine sizes including turbocharged versions. The top-end sports model, alongside the CX Prestige luxury model, was the CX 25 GTi Turbo, launched in autumn 1984, rated at 168 hp (122 kW) and a top-speed of 220 km/h (137 mph). A CX 25 GTi Turbo 2 (with intercooler) was introduced in 1986.
Manual, semi-automatic (“C-Matic”) and, ultimately, fully automatic ZF transmissions were fitted, (replacing the C-Matic in 1980).
Owned by Peugeot, Citroën tried to operate independently and design a CX replacement that updated the flowing CX design (in 1980 and again in 1986). Each time, Peugeot killed the project and fired the Citroën designers responsible.
CXs were sold in the USA not by Citroën but through 2 independent import companies; CxAuto, a Dutch company remanufactured the CX to ensure that it complied with US Federal regulations. CINA modified CXs to conform in Atlanta, making complying modifications such as shortening the gas tank and re-routing the filler tube as well as adding side marker running lights.
Citroën were not happy with CxAuto and insisted that the Citroën name and double chevron logo be removed from the cars.