Although the XM is not yet a classic in legal terms, it certainly is rare here in Germany – very rare in V6 Estate guise. But that is no reason to save it from the daily plights. In fact, it is such a nice car, that it would be a crying shame not to use it. So, in between my regular (let’s say annual) updates, it has seen plenty of action, carrying me, family, work colleagues or endless stuff across half of Europe.
A nice cosy garage – no thanks. It has got its own roof, can create hot or cold air as you wish and can whisk you 300 miles down the autobahn before you even realise your not in the armchair in the living room anymore.
So, from being caked in crusty salt (above) to the heat of the Mediteranean coast (see temperature reading right) or towing hefty weights (below), the XM took it all with ease.
Was it reliable? Oh yes, totally.
Did it need servicing and re-airs? Yes, too.
After the cambelt change at 290,000kms, miles piled up – until last summer when the exhaust note changed. The original exhaust system started to split in multiple places. As replacements are not available at all (tailpipe) or cost an arm and a leg (main pair of silencers) a little weld-athlon was started and the exhaust put back together using a couple of meters of welding wire. After that, the car soldiered on until crossing 320,000kms (200k miles) just after New Year’s eve.
Increasing noises from the front suspension and an occasional flicker of the brake pad warning light had me schedule a service – a larger one at that. New brakes up front and some new suspension components saw braking power restored and the clonks nearly eliminated.
A month and about 1000kms later, though, and the XM failed to get us to our destination for the first time. On the motorway, a water hose split – not totally, but the leak was considerable. With some water and a little care, we drove home, so at least we were not left stranded on the side of the road. Here is the downside of the V6: spotting the leak took nearly one hour, replacing the hose – which was, of course, not available (NFP is PSA-language for NLA) – took about 4 1/2 hours including the manufacture of a replacement.
Sadly, there was more to come: a small drip from the main pressure switch of the Hydropneumatic system changed into a proper leak. On dismantling, it revealed a bodged repair from one of the previous owners (see right), basically using an angle grinder on the housing to withdraw a circlip. The introduced edge caused a crack to develop – quite amazing that this lasted over 80,000kms in my hands alone. €50 for a second-hand spare and again 4 1/2 hours of work and the loss of green fluid is gone.
Over the last four weeks another 4000kms have been covered – all back to normal, the bonnet did not need to be lifted at all. All in, not too bad considering the car’s age and mileage.
Okay, granted, running and taking care of an XM V6 is not bangergnomics. There are cheaper to run cars out there. However, there are not many cars out there which offer the same combination of comfort and practicality – and style!