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Citroën BX14 E

The Citroën BX is a small family car that was produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1982 to 1994. In total, 2,315,739 BXs were built during its 12-year history. The hatchback was discontinued in 1993 with the arrival of the Xantia, but the estate continued for another year.

History

The Citroën BX was launched in Paris on 2 October 1982 under the Eiffel Tower. The BX was designed to replace the successful small family car Citroën GS/A with a larger vehicle. The French advertising campaign used the slogan "J'aime, j'aime, j'aime" showing the car accompanied by music written specially by Julien Clerc.

The angular Marcello Gandini-designed hatchback was strongly inspired by the British 1977 Reliant FW11 concept and the 1979 Volvo Tundra concept car (also designed by Bertone). It was one of the first cars to benefit from the merger of Peugeot and Citroën in 1976, sharing its platform with the more conventional 405 that appeared in 1987. Among the features that set the car apart from the competition was the traditional Citroën hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, extensive use of plastic body panels (bonnet, tailgate, bumpers), and front and rear disc brakes.

The BX dispensed of the air cooled, flat four engine which powered the GS, and replaced it with the new PSA group XY, TU and XU series of petrol engines in 1.4 L, 1.6 L and 1.9 L displacements (a 1.1 L engine, very unusual in a car of this size, was also available in Italy, Portugal and Greece). The 1.1 and 1.4 unit was an old Peugeot/Renault powertrain with its roots in the Peugeot 104 and Renault 14, but the 1.6 and 1.9 was all-new and later used in many Peugeots. The XUD diesel engine version was launched in 1984. The diesel and turbo diesel models were to become the most successful variants, they were especially popular as estates and became the best selling diesel car in Britain.

All petrol engines were badged as 11, 14, 16, 19 — signifying engine size (In some countries, a weaker, 80 PS (59 kW) version of the 1.6 L engine was badged as the BX15E instead of BX16). The 11TE model was seen by foreign motoring press as slow and uncomfortable.

The 1.1 L engine with engine code H1A was specially tuned for Italy, Greece and Portugal. It was fitted to the cars made from 1988 to 1993 and produced 40 kW (55 hp DIN) at 5800 rpm.

A year after the launch of the hatchback model, an estate version was made available. In the late 1980s, a four-wheel drive system and turbodiesel engines were introduced.
In 1986 the MK2 BX was launched. The interior and dashboard was redesigned to be more conventional-looking than the original, which used Citroën's idiosyncratic "satellite" switchgear, and "bathroom scale" speedometer. These were replaced with more conventional stalks for light and wipers and analogue instruments. The earlier GT models already had a "normal" speedometer and tachometer. The exterior was also slightly updated, with new more rounded bumpers, flared wheelarches to accept wider tyres, new and improved mirrors and the front indicators replaced with larger clear ones which fitted flush with the headlights.

1988 saw the launch of the BX Turbo Diesel, which was praised by the motoring press. The BX diesel was already a strong seller, but the Turbo model brought new levels of refinement and performance to the diesel market, which brought an end to the common notion that diesel cars were slow and noisy. Diesel Car magazine said of the BX "We can think of no other car currently on sale in the UK that comes anywhere near approaching the BX Turbo's combination of performance, accommodation and economy".

In 1989, the BX range had further minor revisions and specification improvements made to it, including smoked rear lamp units, new wheeltrims and interior fabrics.

Winning many Towcar of the Year awards, the BX was renowned as a tow car (as was its larger sister, the CX), especially the diesel models, due to their power and economy combined with the self levelling suspension.

The biggest problem of the BX was its variable build quality, compared to its competition. The last BX was made in 1994, by which time its successors had already been launched. It had been partially replaced by the smaller ZX in early 1991, but its key replacement was the slightly larger Xantia that went on sale on March 1993.

Performance models

Sport

As well as the normal BX, Citroën produced the BX Sport from 1985 to 1987. During this period, Citroën produced 7,500 BX Sports; 2,500 at first, then an extra 5,000 due to its sales success. Rated at 126 bhp (94 kW) and equipped with dual 2-barrel carburettors, the BX Sport was the most powerful BX in production at that time. It also stood out with its unique body kit, alloy wheels used on the GTi later in the BX's life, a unique dashboard and PULLMAN interior. The car was only available in left hand drive and so it was not sold in the UK.

GT

The BX GT was launched in 1985 and featured a 1.9 L Peugeot-sourced engine, in general a Sport engine with only one twin choke carburettor. Max power is 105 PS (77 kW). That same year, Citroën produced a "Digit" model, which was based on the BX GT. It featured a digital instrument cluster and an onboard computer. Citroën only produced 4,000 BX Digits in 1985.

4TC

Citroën entered Group B rallying with the BX in 1986. The specially designed rally BX was called the BX 4TC and bore little resemblance to the standard BX. It had a very long nose because the engine (a turbocharger fitted version of Chrysler Europe's Simca Type 180 engine) was mounted longitudinally unlike in the regular BX. The engine was downsleeved to 2,141.5 cc (from 2,155 cc) to stay under the three-litre limit after FIA's multiplication factor of 1.4 was applied. The rally version of the BX also featured the unique hydropneumatic suspension, and the five-speed manual gearbox from Citroën SM.[6] Because of the Group B regulations, 200 street versions of the 4TC also had to be built, with a 200 PS (147 kW) at 5,250 rpm version of the N9TE engine.

The 4TC was not successful in World Rally Championship competition, its best result being a sixth place in the 1986 Swedish Rally. The 4TC only participated in three rallies before the Group B class was banned in late 1986, following the death of Henri Toivonen in his Lancia Delta S4 at the Tour de Corse Rally. Citroën was ashamed of the performance of its cars, and immediately recalled and scrapped as many examples as it could, making the BX 4TC road and race cars extremely rare and sought-after.

GTi

An uprated version of the BX GT, the BX19 GTi was fitted with an 1.9 L eight-valve fuel injected engine producing 122 PS (90 kW) (this engine also fitted to the Peugeot 405 SRi, and being very similar to the engine also fitted to the 205 GTi, however the BX19 GTi and Peugeot 405 SRi used a different inlet manifold and cylinder head to the Peugeot 205 GTi,), a spoiler and firmer suspension spheres/anti-roll bar than the standard model; it could reach 198 km/h. There was also a special export model, the BX16 GTi, using the 113 PS (83 kW) XU5JA engine from the Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6. Top speed was 194 km/h.

16V

In May 1987, a 16-valve version of the GTi was launched. This was the first mass-produced French car to be fitted with a 16-valve engine. A DOHC twin-exhaust port cylinder head, based on that of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Group B rally car was bolted to an uprated version of the 1905cc XU9 8v alloy engine block as fitted to the BX GTi and Peugeot 205 GTi. The result was the XU9J4; a naturally aspirated 1.9 L engine, (also fitted to the phase 1 Peugeot 405 Mi16) producing 160 bhp (120 kW) and 177 N·m (131 lb·ft) of torque. More specifically, it produced a specific output of 84bhp/litre, which for a fixed cam-timing, naturally aspirated engine was fairly impressive at the time. This helped rocket the BX to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.4 seconds and then 160 km/h (99 mph) in 19.9 seconds before then finally stopping at a top speed of 220 km/h (140 mph). Anti-lock brakes were fitted as standard. Its side skirts made it easily recognizable from all other BX models. In 1990, the facelift of the 16V gave the car a new lease of life. The updated car came with new fibreglass bumpers, anthracite painted wheels, smoked taillight lenses, and a redesigned rear spoiler. These cosmetic changes made the car look even more distinctive from other BXs. There were also a few subtle changes made to the car's performance, the most noticeable being harder suspension and a thicker anti-roll bar, which improved handling. The BX 16V was found to be faster around a race-track than the "in house" competitor Peugeot 405 Mi16 in a test in the Swedish motoring magazine Teknikens Värld.

In rallying, young Swedish driver Magnus Gustafsson successfully drove a BX 16V supported by the Swedish Citroën dealers. It was tuned by Swedish firm Custom Racing to over 200 PS (147 kW) and had a six-speed gearbox from Peugeot Talbot Sport. The car also had a hydractive suspension unit from a Citroën XM installed. Gustafsson won a lot of smaller national events, but his best result was a second position in the 2 L category in the Swedish International Rally 1992 and a victory in South Swedish Rally (also in the 2 L category, of course).

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