Blog : Citroën XM or Rover 75… or both?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

Citroen XM or Rover 75? Which would you have?
Citroen XM or Rover 75? Which would you have?

They say great cars – just like buses – come along in threes, and in a way, it looks like this might be happening at AROnline Towers. First, there was my Lancia Delta Integrale (which should be arriving home this week), then the arrival of my Rover 75 1.8 Connoisseur, which has proved an interesting mechanical challenge (but satisfying, as it’s been rescued from death’s door), and now – thanks to the impending emigration (temporary) of my old mucker Craig Cheetham, a Citroën XM 2.0SX Turbo Auto.

Clearly the Lancia is here to stay (it is my Rover SD1’s replacement, after all), and as one of the earlier Integrales out there, and in completely unmodified condition, it’s a bit of a find.

But the interesting questions surround the XM and the 75. Clearly both cars do a pretty similar job – they both ride well, they’re accommodating, and stand out from the crowd. So, logically, I should only keep one. After all, money’s tight, fuel is expensive, and running two lumpy execs like this is hardly going to be cheap. And yet, looking at them both, it’s hard to choose – I mean, how could I get rid of either?

The answer is, I can’t!

But I should.

But it’s difficult.

positives for the Rover include pretty good fuel consumption, an engine I can now completely trust, and the continued support of UK specialists who can offer parts and expertise at reasonable cost. It’s also pretty good to drive, cossetting, everything works on it, and – well subjective I know – it looks great.

As for the Citroën – it leaks, it chews through fuel, has a noisy exhaust manifold, some of the electrics have gone AWOL, and my ability to find good used ones in the breakers’ yards, where the supply is thinning more quickly than my hair, would prove increasingly troublesome.

And yet…

XMs and I have form – I’ve run them long-term before, and found them to be amazing all-rounders. They have all the space you’d ever need, great comfort, and perfectly good performance. They also look like nothing else on the road, and given just how rare they’re getting now, turn heads. In short, I love ’em.

In truth, I should just find a way of running both, and be happy with my choices. And in truth, that’s what I’ll probably end up doing. But I’d be more than interested to hear what you guys think…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

52 Comments

  1. “my ability to find good used ones in the breakers’ yards, where the supply is thinning more quickly than my hair, would prove increasingly troublesome.”

    Do you need anything in particular? I still have some XM parts in the garage.

    The last XM I had was a 2.0 turbo, I fitted a boost gauge and turned the boost up from 0.5bar to just under 1.0bar which made it as fast as my Xantia and C5 V6s. The economy was no worse if you didn’t make use of the extra power too.

  2. Sounds like your mind’s made up Keith! Plus the 75 is finished now and you need a new challenge, don’t you!

    (Speaking as a former BX owner, an XM will certainly be a challenge. I’d still have one though. And full recovery breakdown cover, obviously.)

  3. “Ooooh – how do I turn up the boost?”

    I just used a cheap nasty ebay adjustable valve, just make sure you get a boost gauge too and keep it below 1.0bar, the MAP sensor in the ECU only reads to 1.0bar so it wont ‘see’ any boost above that.

    This is identical to the one I used – http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400306093875

  4. I always preferred smaller Citroen’s to big ones so dont know as much about the XM. My brother used to have a Xantia company car which was nice despite high mileage wear & tear. I would choose the R75 though!

  5. 75 please,as individual as the XM is(give me a V624v though)the electrical gremlins would get on my nerves.

  6. The 4 XM’s that I had between 1994 and 2002 remain to this day some of the very best cars I’ve ever owned! The newest I had was less than 2 years and 16,000 miles old, while I parted company with my last one at 6 years and over 140,000 miles old. That was replaced with a brand new C5 estate that was a complete and utter disaster that put me off ever owning any (non XM) Citroen for life!!!

    Would I run one now? Surprisingly, no. These cars are just not built to be run into old age; the spares and mechanical skills to fix them properly aren’t around any more and all the rear sub frames will have rotted to bits and it simply isn’t worth replacing them. In addition, there’s only one engine worth having and that’s the 2.5TD (especially as the estate), preferably with AC fitted. Good luck in finding a good one of those, as they’ve all been hunted down by XM aficionados and every trace of useful life extracted from them.

    What ever you do, don’t buy a V6 24v; they were an unmitigated disaster!

  7. Chalk and cheese – they do the same thing but differently.

    I think both is the only answer and, as an XM is much cheaper than a DS but still a bonkers Citroen, you are actually saving money.

  8. Which 24v? Early or late? Very different engines!

    I’d disagree with the 2.5 TD being the only good one, for two reasons. One, the heads appear to be made of china given the tendency to crack, and two, the inevitability of them being run into the ground now.

    I had a 2.0 carb model. That was remarkable – low-down torque, surprising economy (44mpg when it was regularly thrashed down the M6), a couple of Turbos (one flambé), and a 2.0i estate. I’ve driven most versions bar the V6s 🙁

    I find the 8v 2.0 engine to be perfectly serviceable in the XM; what I’d watch out for are the strut tops as well as subframes. And I want a late 24v V6, if only to have had one.

  9. I am not aware of any V6 24v’s that worked.

    The 2.5TD’s that I had ran to 80,000 miles and 140,000 miles respectively; neither used a drop of oil between services and never gave me a problem apart from one issue: There is some highly complicated routing of the diesel feed pipe around the cylinder head which, when the pipe splits and lets in air is impossible to trace! The only solution is to bypass it and route a new diesel feed pipe from scratch!

    My first was a 2.0i (non turbo) which was okay, but not as quick as my previous 2.0 HL Montego and probably on a par with my previous 1.6HL Montego, which meant it was pretty underpowered for a car of that size and weight. I’m not sure how I would have got on with the carb version.

    The 2.1TD was okay, but a little hampered by the auto box which it invariably had.

    I drove one V6, briefly. It was very nice, but I wouldn’t have inflicted it on my tame Citroen mechanics at Richard Walkes in Tavistock.

  10. 75 has to go…

    The XM is fabulous, I drove a delightfully scruffy auto example from Barcelona back to Essex split by just an overnight stop back in 2006, perfect on the French Route National’s – so relaxing.

    However the XM has to go too!

    You keep buying cars you have owned!!!! Get an yank tank or something else, but not another one of these!

  11. “My first was a 2.0i (non turbo) which was okay, but not as quick as my previous 2.0 HL Montego and probably on a par with my previous 1.6HL Montego, which meant it was pretty underpowered for a car of that size and weight. I’m not sure how I would have got on with the carb version.”

    Well, I was a bit of a tearaway in my youth, and I really didn’t find the 2.0 XM sluggish – and I’d jumped into it from an Audi 90 Quattro. 115mph cruise from J44 M6 to Forton services was regular on those relatively deserted roads (with the window open thanks to the XM’s great aerodynamics and quarterlights). I found the 2.0i a little gutless by comparison; peak torque on the carb-fed one was around 2,250 rpm rather than near 4K for the injected one. And I’d argue that driven properly an XM would be quicker through the twisties than a Montego – and a lot less work. Working an XM would slow you down, you have to relax and have a dialogue with the car rather than diving in there with commands.

    Tyres were critical. One of mine had some Technics remoulds on and I nearly crashed, I was so used to the response from Michelin rubber in the wet. Car went straight on and I had to do a lot of brake tapping and writhing to regain traction! Got four of the right ones on after that experience…

  12. @17 – Francis, yeah, that’s the one I want to try. Much as the fabled original 24v is interesting, LHD with DIRAVI and F1-style tech, there’s only so much complexity I can handle in a modern Citroën. A nice W-reg Exclusive in blue with cream leather…

    You know, I SO regret not being able to buy Moulton’s car when it came up for sale a couple of years back.

    http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/2010/07/13/alex-moultons-citroen-xm-for-sale/

  13. Ohh the number of negative comments on Moultons car (Renault shedran vs XM.. XM ANY DAY!).. have they ever driven one? In reality a good XM is pretty damned good, the suspension is nothing like the issue all the nay sayers think it is as long as the spheres are changed (maybe I was lucky with my 5)

    But I can fix the LH display although the part to do it is shockingly overpriced (£30 odd)

  14. The 2.5 deisel is renowned for cracking heads though, its too cramped in the engine bay and gets very hot, and working on it is limited due to little space around it. The 2.5 engine is XM only and found in nothing else although related to one of the van engines it’s not the same and you can’t just swap them

    The 2.1 is not bad but head gaskets are an issue. The 2.0i TCT is the engine to have, very similar torque curve to the 2.1 TD in fact, cheaper to buy, easier to work on, pulls just as well. Works very well on LPG as well and then it stomps all over the later EPIC 2.1 in terms of fuel costs

  15. If you look at the XM forums you will see a lot more issues with the diesel engine posted than the petrol

  16. Well Keith, I think all contributors to this site know where I’m going to cast my vote!!

    Yes, the XM is different, distinctive. However, in terms of special, timeless the 75 has it well and truely licked.

    Selling a 75 is a no no! I’ve just had fears of HGF no.3 Things now don’t seem quite so desparate but at the peak of the crisis I’d rather have seen “AD 53 LKE” become an automotive garden summer house than leave her at the scrapyard!!!

    Keep your 75!!

    I’m now doing a more leisurely search for my second 75. Driving around in a 75 looking for another 75. Automotive heaven!!!

  17. The thing is, when the XM does go wrong, and it will, your bank balance will scream in abject terror, and what little barnet you have left will fall out. You have the double problem of both cars being worth the square root of naff all too, but now you have fettled the 75, it should be a reliable car. The XM could easily leave you stranded on the hard shoulder. Sell the XM to be honest

  18. I would have a 24v XM anyday,the leather seats plusher than any similar car of the day,citroens are not overly complex once understood,people baulk at 75 clutches i dont understand why,ok,parts can be scarce but there are enough dedicated citroen specialists about and i would dare say a damn sight more helpful and knowledgeable than main dealers,which reminds me-a renault dealer tried swerving me for £500 which disappeared to nil when he realised ive been in the game 23 years and was trying to rip me off for thier own cock-up,cheeky bastards!

  19. I’ve had 5 XM.. and over 150K miles in XMs only problems I have had with them has been either engine (same as used in many pug minicabs) or embedded skip truck related. Not had a 75, but would like to one day, so I have to say keep both.

  20. Oh I forgot, XM’s are not worth nadff all anyomore, they are climbing in value, the day of the cheap XM is long gone

  21. I have a Citroen enthusiast friend in Co Down who breaks XMs.

    If you ever need parts for one I can pass you his details…

  22. 3 out of 4 of my XM’s came from a specialist in Oxford, Paul Johnson, at the Citroen Centre. When I bought my last one from him there were over 30 used XM’s in his pound! It was always a treat to see what he had but, unfortunately, XM’s eventually became harder and harder to find and he eventually had to move into selling C5’s and even worse! 🙁

    If only I could find the pictures that I took of his pound the last time I went there around 1999….

  23. Well my ‘next 75 search’ has made me wonder “Is there such a thing as a trustworthy used car dealer?” The term “hen’s teeth” springs to mind!

    Now that I’ve finally added the K Seal to my current 75 with apparent success my search has become more leisurely, more thorough. I’ve seen some initially promising, interesting 75’s out there but every time they’ve failed my inspection. Here’s the best example –

    1.8T, 53 plate, 11 months MOT, fully stamped service book, unmarked (if a fraction grubby) and only 38k miles. The dealer was aware that I knew my stuff when it came to 75’s. He saw me checking the car.
    My expansion tank check revealed that now familiar sight of additive and mayo. Incredible but true – the dealer still asked why I didn’t want it!!!!!!!!

    However, I’ve left my details with a dealer which gives more the impression of a new car outlet. Clive Goldthorp will know it – The Wright Car Centre just a stone’s throw from him.

    But, all in all, I’m having damn good fun!!!

  24. @34 Could a MG-ZT 130BHP,77k replacement engine new mot conjour your senses? has good provenence,fresh engine due to lady owner lending car to son (dumb teen)and his teenage angst stopped him using his head.£1395. A good honest car,drivers seat squab chaffed (fat previous owner).

  25. its north manchester,if interested i could email photos for your perusal,franbre@live.co.uk it has not sold as yet,3 month guarantee on engine as well.

  26. Used car adverts. Especially the Gumtree ones are overly optimistic (and poorly grammared)

    “Shud isopon out but I just having got teh time”… 😮

  27. If the XM’s a goodun I’d keep that – even better ride quality than the 75 and more practical. I loved my XM, the C5 V6 which I replaced it with was rubbish in comparison, faster yes, but rode badly (for a big Citroën) and just didn’t feel special. My CX Turbo 2 was my all-time favourite car – and I’m a Jag man at heart!

    I keep looking at C6s – somebody stop me!

    All that said, the Rover 75 is a very nice car to drive.

  28. I meant to post, the XM is now safely occupying half my garage and looking a little sorry for itself 😀

  29. It’s getting a new nosecone and I’m waiting until I have time to fix the brake valve – it’ll be better soon!

  30. Well done Richard.
    Fixing a leaking doseur valve is easy and cheap, you just need the rubber button for the end, but it’s worth checking it’s not just a rubber return pipe split.
    The blowing exhaust will just be the exhaust manifold gasket needs replacing.

    XM v 75. No comparison, even for a series 2 XM.

  31. Pop over to CLub-xm.co.uk and say Hi, you will get a wealth of information and advice. One member can supply the headlamp washer covers you need.

  32. Err,the blowing exhaust might be the exhuast manifiold gasket. My TCT exclusive was suffering a ‘blown manifold gasket’ however when examined it turned out to be a cracked turbine housing. However thank to Paul on club-xm I rapidly had a replacement.. fitting it is not so rapid.. thanks to the wonderfull summer weather!

  33. My first one was a blowing manifold gasket. This one is lower down, feels like a downpipe. I need to give the car a proper going over underneath, make sure it’s worth putting the effort in!

  34. Check the turbine housing where the elbow joins it. If you look on http://www.club-xm.co.uk and under ‘petrol engines’-‘turbo removal’ you will see mine. So far it’s not been a bad job. I had put it off and off but now I am moving with its not bad at all. The down pipe is welded to the cat by the way, but I got a new one for £75 off Ebay (it’s going on after this is all done and sealed).

  35. Just called back to look at that photo of the beautiful XM again! Out of all the cars I’ve had, the 2.5TD XM is probably my all time favourite and the last time I drove one was back in 2002. I did sit in one again about a year ago and it simply hadn’t dated.

  36. I have grown up with nothing but citroens in the yard; cx’s, xm’s, a ds, gsa’s, a c6 and I’ve learned their setups reasonably well. From what I’ve seen if you take good care of them (like any car really) they are amazing, but unfortunately some people don’t! Electric problems, while they seem head-wrecking, are actually quite easy to sort on xms. The window winders need their cables replaced at a certain stage ( only needs to be done once, and not that difficult). The only big problem I find is the jacking points being bent and becoming weak because of people jacking the car wrong!
    I drive a 2.5 TD on a 70 mile commute everyday returning ~43mpg with 186k miles and counting, apart from servicing, a new battery last year and the window cables being replaced, it’s spot on! And it’s not just one, there’s a second the same at home with 198k miles and a two 2.1 TDs with 140k and 250k miles respectively. I’m happy to live with the little things for the level of comfort, space, the performance and the unique looks.

  37. The Citroen XM turbo diesel estate would be my choice with the magic carpet wafting Hydropneumatic suspension which floats over bumps lumps and thumps in the road and feels silky smooth wafty and so luxurious.

    However if Rover didn’t go belly up, I’d choose the extra long wheelbase Limousine Rover 75 in tourer estate form for ultimate rear passenger comfort and bootspace which combines luxury comfort and panache in a British made (but German owned) package.

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