CITROEN bx GTI 4X4

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Citroen BX GTi 4 x 4

Citroen has extended its already successful BX range with two fourwheel-drive cars, the BX GTi 4×4, and the 4×4 estate. Apart from the major changes to the transmission the models remain similar to the BX GTi and the BX 19TZS estate.

The four-wheel drive system involves a transfer box which is bolted to the existing gearbox, and gives a front/rear torque split of 53/47 for normal road use. The transfer box has both front and centre differentials, with the latter being electronically lockable for particularly adverse conditions. The lock can be engaged at speeds below 6 mph, and can be left engaged up to 25 mph. Another impressively useful feature of the car is the driver controlled vehicle height adjustment, which means that the ground clearance can be increased to nine inches for particularly difficult roads. The cars also incorporate Citroen’s self levelling suspension.

ABS is fitted as standard to the GTi models, and the limited slip rear differential is replaced by a Torsen differential which feeds torque to the gripping wheel when there is lack of traction, but also permits differential speeds for the two shafts when cornering. The BX GTi 4×4 uses a fuel injected 1905cc engine which produces 125 bhp at 5500 rpm. Citroen claims an acceleration

time of 9.7 seconds to 60 mph. This is a similar time to that of the 160 bhp Peugeot M116 4×4, although the two cars top speeds are 119 and 133 mph respectively. The Citroen didn’t feel as quick as the Peugeot but probably gained time in acceleration because of its far better gearbox. Changing gear in the Citroen was a quick, smooth, and precise affair, whereas in the Peugeot the change from first to second was so cumbersome and notchy that it was preferable to change early, and use second gear to accelerate. Doing this avoided the inevitable dive and squat effect of changing through from high revs in first. Contrastingly the Citroen could be wound up in first, and then notched into second without losing the accelerative squat position, and so the whole process was far more comfortable if a little less dramatic. The Citroen handled admirably whilst being driven quickly along poor quality roads. There was no wheelspin over mud or across surfaces of variable tractability, and the brakes when tested on the descent of a steep, muddy and wet hill pulled the car up sharply and smoothly.The pedal was nicely progressive, and compared

well with the rather sudden ‘on or off’ brakes of the Peugeot.

The Citroen also inspired confidence on faster A roads. It would cruise comfortably at high speed: the steering was positive, if a little too light, and the ride was firm but comfortable. It was a light and untiring car to drive quickly, and could be guided round corners and roundabouts with effortless precision. From an overall point of view the Citroen is an excellent compromise, but that also might provide grounds for criticism. It is fairly quick and handles well, but is not a red blooded sports car. It has four-wheel-drive and useful features for difficult terrain, but is hardly for agricultural use. It is comfortable without being luxurious. One might say that it is a jack of all trades and master of none, but it would be wrong to say that insultingly. Indeed there is a place for just such a vehicle, and the Citroen manages to straddle its various stools quite comfortably. At £13,900, it is also reasonably priced, being significantly cheaper than all but one (Vauxhall Cavalier 2.0 L4x4) of its four-wheel-drive competitors. CSR-W