1980s / 1990s / Citroen / French / Future classic

Is the Citroën BX a future classic?

citroen-bx-5The Bertone-designed Citroën BX is one of the quintessential cars of the 1980s: Unabashedly boxy and available with a host of high-tech gizmos like an on-board computer and a digital instrument cluster (offered exclusively in the 19 Digit), it was the poster child of futuristic cars when it landed in showrooms across Europe in late 1982.

The BX is also a symbol of Peugeot’s takeover of Citroën. While the GSA, the car the BX was tasked with replacing, was powered by a purpose-designed air-cooled flat-four engine, the BX relied on a panoply of Peugeot-sourced four-cylinder gas- and diesel engines that were mounted transversally and often tilted backwards towards the firewall. Its chassis formed the basis of the Peugeot 405 which was introduced in 1987 and briefly offered in the United States shortly after.

The BX broke with the past in nearly every way and it was even offered in a variety of performance-focused models like the Sport, the GT and the GTi.

The transition into the 1990s was painful. The adoption of a massive rear spoiler, smoked tail lamps and new trim levels like “Millesime” did little to help its cause, and its main selling point became the unparalleled level of comfort provided by the hydraulic suspension, one of the only points it shared with the GSA. Replaced by the Xantia, the BX was phased out in 1994 after over two million examples were built.

There are BX enthusiasts out there but the hatchback is largely considered a throwaway car and most are driven into the ground, junked or sold for parts for a handful of euros.

Will the BX gradually fade out of memories and disappear from roads like the GS/GSA has, or will it eventually go back up and become sought-after by vintage car enthusiasts?

10 thoughts on “Is the Citroën BX a future classic?

    • It certainly is in France, loads of beat-up ones in the classifieds for 250 euros or so, lots of them in local junkyards, too. It’s a shame, I’m a big fan of these cars.

      Good to see that there are clubs dedicated to preserving the BX in the UK, though.

  1. In Finland BX 16 GTi was very popular as a rep car: this “16” is not the 16 Valve version but the smaller engine GTi with the 1.6 litres engine from 205 GTi. I guess these were available mostly in Italian and Finnish markets.

    Nowadays it is a common phrase “the price of the BX equals 500 g package of roasted coffee”. If the car is really good, buyer might offer buns as well…

    However there are plenty of BX fans in Finland and I assume most of the best survivors are already in the good hands.

    One interesting version is a BX Van created in Finland. This was very popular car because of its commercial vehicle tax and lower price level. Over 2000 examples were converted, they are all red or white and have rather high plastic roof. All vehicles are based on BX Break model.

    And for the Finn going fast is in the blood: good example of this behaviour is this dyno video of BX Van Turbo

    Lego BX Van can be seen on

  2. There’s certainly a small but enthusiastic following in the UK with really mint, low mileage examples fetching a couple of grand and upwards; the early mk.1’s are particularly sought after with a recent ‘barn find’ GT fetching five grand. Looking at the small ads on Leboncoin the French also seem to be asking proper money now for tidy cars. Presumably, as in the UK, there are still a fare few hacks limping around but considering how ubiquitous they once were that’s hardly surprising; they’re not out of the woods yet, but do seem to be leaving bangerdom firmly behind them. I think people forget what a great looking car they were when new; being so lightly built they can look very tatty very quickly. I’ve got two and absolutely love ’em! 🙂

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  6. I adore these, always have. My dad had a red diesel estate when i was young. Now at 24 i drive a phase 2 16v in white. Love everything about the car. Still quick by todays standards too. Get one and cherish it. Life is too short for boring souless modern cars
    Alan

    • I like the 16vs, they’re rather uncommon today.

      A neighbor of mine has a remarkably clean BX 14 in his garage. It’s been sitting there for about a decade but he’s not interested in selling it.

  7. I had a GS that I adored – people viewed Citroen cars with suspicion in the UK because of their “odd suspension” – Cue BX and they shoehorned those XUD diesels under the plastic bonnet and wow what a car – everybody wanted one – save save save while we can

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