Citroen CX 2000 and CX 2200
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The immediate impression created by the CX was that it was a clever styling mixture of GS and SM, a recommendation in itself. Technically too it was an amalgam of everything that was advanced in the then current Citroen models, wrapped in a most elegant, ultra-modern body.
The CX was intended to fit between the GS and DS ranges, and was quite literally exceptional value for money when you consider the engineering beauty of what was on offer. The moniker "CX" was taken from the symbol for the aerodynamics of a moving body, which was especially apt for this car because of its exceptional co-efficient of frontal penetration, 11 per cent better than that of the legendary DS.
At launch there were three models: the CX 2000, the CX 2000 Economy (both with 1,985 c.c. engines) and the 2175 c.c. CX 2200. All three models had transversely arranged versions of the four-cylinder DS engines driving the front wheels. This proven power unit was perfectly satisfactory, although when the CX was first released there were some murmurings from disappointed motoring journalists who had been led to believe there was going to be brand new flat-6 powering the car.
The wet-linered, iron-block, alloy-headed engine developed 102 b.h.p. DIN @ 5,500 r.p.m. and 112 lb. ft. torque DIN @ 3,000 r.p.m. in 2000 form and the 2200 model produced 112 b.h.p. @ 5,500 r.p.m. and 123 lb. ft. torque at 3,500 r.p.m. These transverse engines were inclined forwards at 30 degrees and had their four-speed gear-boxes mounted in line and to the left. A floor-change lever was fitted.
The so-called "Economy" model had the same 2-litre engine as the ordinary CX 2000, and its economy came from the use of a higher top gear, offering 22.5 m.p.h. per 1,000 r.p.m. instead of 19.3 m.p.h. Fuel consumption of the Economy was claimed to be 37 m.p.g. at 56 m.p.h., an exceptional figure for such a comprehensively equipped, 100 m.p.h. car and partially accounted for by those brilliant aerodynamics.
Citroen's constant height hydropneumatic suspension was fitted, the central lever having four positions: high, intermediate (for bad roads), normal and low. Light alloy trailing arms were fitted at the rear, as was an anti-roll bar. A front anti-roll bar was fitted too, the steel, transverse suspension arms forming a paralleloogram, and the geometry ensured anti-dive characteristics.
Front and rear subframes which carried the engine and suspension were connected by two side box sections upon which the monocoque steel body was connected by flexible mountings. This arrangement was used as it cut down the transmission of engine, transmission and road noises to the interior, while providing exceptional rigidity in order to ensure very high directional stability and to absorb front and rear impacts.
Power operated, dual circuit, outboard-mounted disc brakes were fitted, the front ones being ventilated, and a conventional brake pedal was used (Citroen being the only manufacturer where we feel we should point this out!). Optional power steering was similar to the SM system with powered castor return, but the servo control unit was isolated from the steering and moved into the passenger compartment and the gearing of the rack and pinion was lowered to give 2.5 turns lock to lock, instead of the very sensitive 2 turns of the SM.
The CX steering, without the optional power assistance, was geared to 4.5 turns lock to lock.
The four-door body had an exceptionally large window area. A single, centrally-mounted wiper arm cleared the vast windscreen and the steeply sloping rear window was of conncave shape, presumably so designed to help with the vortex effect and to keep the window generally free from rain and dirt (we cannot confirm or deny if this design actually worked); rain water from the roof was channeled down the middle of this screen. Like the GS and the SM, the CX had a flat floored, cleanly shaped boot of massive proportions.
The driver was confronted by a single-spoke wheel and a futuristic, demi-flying saucer-shaped instrument and switchgear unit mounted on top of the main facia. This brilliant design ensured all the switches were at finger-tip reach on "horns" protruding from the saucer. The speedometer and rev counter were an illuminated revolving drum type, as found on the GSs. On the down side, the array of warning lights was confusing in its complexity.
Understanding the brilliance of a Citroen required more than a trip to the local shops. On rough roads the CX would excell, and where the suspension of most conventional cars would make taking such roads at speed very unsafe, the CX in contrast would simply glide over them with hardly a ripple felt through the luxurious padding of the seats. Apart from the SM there was no car in the world which was so comfortable under such extremes of conditions.
The Citroen CX was always highly desirable, although this particular one even more so...
The power-steering on the CX 2200 was wonderfully precise and direct, and although the manual steering
was a little less precise because of the lower gearing, in both cases there was no transmission
of bumps to the steering
wheel and no noticeable torque reaction from the front wheels under acceleration, no doubt a virtue of the equal-length driveshafts.
The road-holding was exceptional, even on loose surfaces. There was no excessive understeer and if the natural reaction was followed to lift off the throttle when a corner was approached too fast, the tail would come out to set up the car for powering it round the corner in preference to ploughing straight on.
The Citroen hydropneumatic suspension
did produce a degree of roll, though this was not disturbing to the occupants. A natural cruising gait for both models was well over the 100 m.p.h. mark, a maximum speed of 111 m.p.h. being claimed for the 2200, 108 for the 2000 and 104 for the 2000 Economy.
At such speeds the CX was uncommonly quiet, it felt as though it was riding upon a cushion of air (which it actually was) and the stability was exceptional. Such behaviour made this Citroen a particularly long-legged car, ideal for long-distance highway cruising. However, in town the curved sides made its width very difficult to judge.
And while high-speed cruising came naturally to the CX, the same could not be said for rapid acceleration. It was by no means a slouch, but then again the DS-type engine was already long-in-the-tooth and was far from being power-packed. It was generally fuss-free, however, and gave little sign of having a mere four-cylinders. With the CX Citroen created a class of its own, setting new standards for a medium-sized sedan.
The CX won the Car Of The Year Award in January 1975
- the same year that the Birotor and SM were dropped from production. In 1977
, the range was further extended with the introduction of a fuel injected 2400 engine fitted to the CX Berline GTi and the replacement of the CX2200 with the CX 2400. In 1978
, the injected 2400 engine was available in CX 2400 Pallas
and Prestige guise, fitted with the C matic semi automatic transmission
as standard in the Pallas and as an option in the Prestige. A new CX 2500 Diesel
was also launched that year.
, the CX 2000 models were superseded by the Reflex and Athena models, fitted with a new 1,995 c.c. engine, jointly developed by Peugeot, Renault
and Volvo. A five speed gearbox was available as an option in most models.
, the Pallas and Prestige were available with a fully automatic gearbox as an option and the C-matic system was dropped, while the CX 2200 Diesel
, all the CX range received new front wings to accommodate wider tyres
on the injection models, and the CX 2400 carburettor models were dropped from the range.
If spinning wheels and burning clutches at the lights is not your cup of tea, then a classic Citroen may just reward you with a driving experience like no other. And if you dont believe us, why not ask someone who owns or has owned one. We are told by many that they get into your blood.