Theme: Special – 1992 Citroen BX Millesime

Marcello Gandini designed the BX and it appeared in 1982. The design resisted tinkering and looked freshly out of this world even towards its end in 1994.

1988 Citroen BX Ourane: source.
1992 Citroen BX Ourane: source.

Twelve years is a very long run for a car in the competitive middle-sized class and it’s a credit to the original engineering and styling that it still remained believable right up to the end. However, even Citroen had to face the realities of the market and succumbed to a succession of special editions to try and generate interest in their car.

One of the ways they did this was to increase the equipment levels and package them in a set of special editions, notable in some cases for having proper 3D badges made. Among them were the Calanque, Image, Ourane and this, the Millesime with its distinctive paint scheme and not-terrible spoiler. These versions tended to have A/C and ABS fitted as standard along with the limited-run paint schemes.

The 1988 Ourane has a rather fetching spoiler (the sagging bumper is less appealing). Unusually for the class of run-out and late-model special editions, these are quite good-looking cars which manage to be a little more than a paint scheme and a sun-roof combo. Other manufacturers such as Opel and Ford rarely raised special editions to this standard of not-quite a fully-fledged standard trim level.

The BX specials seem to be have been desirable in their own right, rather than merely cars bought because they were good value, if a little uncompetitive in other ways. The BX differed from the Sierra and Vectras in that despite their age, they still had unique styling and their proprietary suspension systems whereas the other cars, no matter how nice the trim, were still rather ordinary devices, good but ordinary.

A diesel Ourane can be yours for €1400 here.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

13 thoughts on “Theme: Special – 1992 Citroen BX Millesime”

    1. The GTI did very well for a short time. We bought a BX 19 Break for work new from a London dealer in 1986. On the misunderstanding that I was about to sign for a GTI one of the other showroom guys had a mini altercation with his colleague, since he had already earmarked it (the last one for several weeks) for his client. That’s how hot GTIs were back in the Land Of Yuppie.

      I don’t think many of the above special editions made it to the UK.

  1. That brings back memories. Spent many years in the back seat of various diesels, BX included. Agree with Richard on the styling, however completely agree with Jacomo about the diesel. The nicest way you could describe it was agricultural. Not a nice way to travel.

  2. I’d rather hoped that ‘calanque’ and ‘ourane’ were rare types of monkey, but disappointingly. they turn out to be a steep valley beside the sea (with a secondary meaning as a type of swimming costume) and the Greek word for ‘sky’.

  3. Thanks for the Millésime video!
    It reminds me of a time, now sadly missing, when Citroën were still proud of their suspension and didn’t hesitate to show this in their ads.

    Actually the BX Diesel (especially with the turbo) was considered one of the best diesels that could be had, even in the German press. I’ve never driven a BX with a diesel engine, but after rejecting a BX 16 Valve because it was quite loud on the motorway, I imagine that the diesel wasn’t a quiet ride, either.

    1. I have owned four BX’s, three diesels and one petrol. It seems that the BX was designed to be a diesel from the outset and the robust XUD was suprisingly refined, more so than the petrol versions. It was regarded as the best diesel engine of the 80’s by the motoring press and I would concur with that assessment. Even in naturally aspirated 72bhp form, the BX diesel would cruise quietly and effortlessly at 90 mph all day. The Turbo would leave XR3’s for dead if there was an uphill gradient involved. Brilliant cars, notable not just for their great ride and smooth diesels, but also the short travel precise controls so different to the spongy brakes and leg stretching clutches prevalent at the time.

    2. There´s no question the BX had a lot of strong points. I remember how well it was rated in tests. After nearly thirty years it is also still a very believable design too. We have a few articles here on that aspect of it if you go hunting around.
      I´ve had a short test drive of the BX and I enjoyed the fabulous way it dealt with road bumps and lumps, better than my XM actually. I would like to try driving the BX again but they never come up for sale around here. I see one or two now and again and I think at this stage they are in the hands of their long-term owners now.

    3. Although I generally agree with Jacomo on the subject of old diesels (though I’d generally extend that even further to all diesels), all things are relative and I certainly remember the Turbo XUD getting very good press at the time. My own experience was only of a non-Turbo XUD which was a complete slug.

      The BX Break I mentioned above (1.9 petrol automatic) should have been an excellent car but, alas, my memories are tainted by its unreliability, and the fact that I don’t really like (relatively) small engined autos. I think it had two gearbox swaps under warranty (a known fault) and a list of other small things. A great pity and I don’t suggest that it was typical of the BX. The other disappointment is that it was a facelift model, so the satellite controls had been replaced by a series of bland and tactilely unpleasant switches.

  4. The calanque is also called a cala (not too dissimilar). It’s a narrow inlet found on carbonate limestone coasts. I once knew an enormous amount about limestone geomorphology but I’ve forgotten most of it now. What remains is a recollection of the time I identified a calanque in Co Clare but it wasn’t a Citroen.

  5. In France “calanque” is mostly associated with the surroundings of the city of Marseille.

    1. Yes, insofar as calanques is where you go to escape the city…

  6. I stumbled across this video showing BX development and testing, so I thought I’d put it here. The use of what looks like plaster of Paris for making models surprised me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.