|The introduction of a new Citroën top-model always
creates a lot of excitement, because every successor of
the legendary DS is expected to offer technical
innovations as well as esthetic orginality.
Project Y-5 (the XM successor) which is unveiled here, will not infringe this traditon, but after the commercial disaster of the XM, Citroën will put a lot pragmatism in its new top-model which is expected for the year 2000.
Y-5 in short :
|The big Citroëns always had a long career and the XM is not going to make an acception there. Citroën has delayed its replacement in favor of other projects, especially that of a small monospace. So the XM has to wait for at least four more years to be replaced. In the mean time the XM isn't selling very well, only 18.500 units world wide in 1995, this is five times less than the Volvo 850 !|
This is almost unbelievable knowing the remarkable qualities of the XM, like the exceptional road-holding and comfort. But when the XM was launched in 1989 its reliability was far from flawless. And that in an era where quality became a leading factor in industrial production, an era in which BMW and Mercedes were able to take advantage of the excellent "Made in Germany" reputation. The reaction of the market was inevitable, the model update in 1994 didn't change much. The only small comfort is the fact that the Peugeot 605 (the XM's sister model) isn't doing very well either.
At Citroën however the future is seen with optimism. The delay in the presentation of a new top-model will be used to develop a car without problems. Based on a new platform, which is shared with the Peugeot 605 successor, the Y-5 will be 20 cm longer than the XM. The design combines seduction and originality and won't shock anybody. Pragmatically the stylists didn't search for superfluous originality and provocation. They used the two and a half box design with integrated fifth door, which was so well accepted on the Xantia, again. Of course this doesn't mean that the Y-5 is just a XXL-sized Xantia. The lines of the Y-5 are more flexible, with alternating concave and convex curves, and harmonic folds. The front posts of the roof, curved like an arch, start way in front on the front-wings. On the front of the car we see a prominent grille. The rear direction indicator lights will be positioned in the upper corners of the rear window, very similar to the DS. In total the Y-5 has a dynamic and prestigious style.
Due to the 20 cm increase of length compared with the XM, the interior will be very spacious and comfortable. The interior will have some orginal style elements like an elliptical shaped dashboard. The suspension, allready impressive on the XM, will be even more refined. The Y-5 will have a further improved version of the hydractive suspension currently available in the Xantia Activa models.
New petrol engines will put the new Citroën on the same level
as its German competitors. The smallest engine available will be
a 2.2 liter, 4 cylinder with 150 HP. The new 2.9 liter V6 ES with
190 HP already offered in the Citroën Xantia and the Peugeot 406
will be available in the Y-5 as well. But there will also be an
even more powerfull 3.3 liter with 240 HP for the top of the line
Diesel engines will be available in 2.0, 2.2 and 2.5 direct injection versions with 110, 130 and 150 HP respectively. All petrol and diesel engines have four valves per cylinder.
The - traumatic- commercial disaster of the XM has taught Citroën a lesson and guided it to an impressive reaction. The brand with the double chevron has the talents to develop (and certainly sell !) cars worthy to the Citroën tradition (i.e. creative and innovative in style and technical solutions) and the pragmatism to discriminate between originality and excentricity. The Xantia prooved that. The new Citroën top-model will follow that example, it has all the trumps at its disposal to do so.
Translated and modified from an article in AutoPlus no: 432 - 17.12.96, by Jint Nijman