It is 41 years since the French Citroën presented the all-new BX model on September 23, 1982, parked under the monumental Eiffel Tower. At first, only the basic engines were presented, because the time was ripe for the best.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The BX model debuted in 1982 under the Eiffel Tower.

However, the car almost immediately earned the nickname Citroën of the new generation from the local press, as it benefited from sharing aggregates and other components with the parent Peugeot. However, the car company did not give up on its reputation and was able to imbue new cars with unified components with the typical characteristics for which it was sought after by customers.

This also applies to the design and equipment, so you can’t help but notice that the BX wears an aerodynamic coat from Bertone (design father of the Favorit) and partly from Gandini (design father of the Countach), its suspension is provided by self-levelling hydropneumatics. The front axle then uses MacPherson struts, while the rear axle is independently suspended longitudinal arms. The car also boasts efficient disc brakes with so-called “machine control”, where the driver only affects the flow of hydraulic fluid, which has a constant pressure. The pedal step is therefore minimal, while the braking effect is high.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

Body design is Bertone and a little Gandini.

The BX also received a defatting treatment, so thanks to the use of plastic/composite body parts, it lost approximately 240 to 320 kilograms compared to previous models.

Citroën believed in its car, which it presented with an unusual warranty of 2 years or 100,000 km and a service interval of 10,000 km. Despite everything, the manufacturer maintained the easy repairability/replaceability of mechanical parts, which again scored points with the experts.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

With the BX, Citroën also scored points with the experts of the time.

You may be wondering why all the fuss? Well, before the launch of the BX, the previous models of the brand were often criticized for the unreliability of certain parts and the weak resistance of the bodies to corrosion. But suddenly there was a car that showed signs of rapid improvement in these directions as well.

The fresh cabin could boast of lightness, airiness, and spaciousness, which are, after all, interior attributes that we, as drivers, desire even today, but our chauffeur wishes from the manufacturers do not always come true.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The dashboard is dominated by an avant-garde steering wheel.

The dashboard again carried the Citroën DNA, therefore, as traditionally, it grouped all the small indicators and controls into different groups centered around the avant-garde steering wheel.

In March 1984, a version with a diesel engine was shown, a year later the powerful GT petrol version came, a station wagon was added to the bodywork and the rally version received a 4×4 drive. However, the juiciest serial version was already almost mature, only preceded by the Sport variant.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The BX cabin is airy. Even today, tall people can fit quite comfortably in it.

Ode to Sixteen

And it was precisely in 1985 when the limited Sport edition was presented as a performance version of the Citroën BX. Against the incumbent GT, it offered a fresh variant with double carburetors, a sports bodykit with a wing and a maximum speed of around 200 km/h. The design became so popular that it remained on the menu until 1986, when something even better, wilder, came along.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

Citroën gradually worked on the sporty versions of the BX and improved them.

It was a true and genuine GTi hot hatch that boasted the comfort of a family car and the characteristics of a sports kart. Its gasoline engine with a volume of 1,905 cm3 it had electronic fuel injection (goodbye, Mr. Carburetor), 125 horsepower and a top speed of almost 200 per hour.

But be careful, we don’t stop there. It’s 1988 and we present the best BX that Citroën has created for everyday drivers. The cars that, among other things, accompany you photographically in the article, bear the designation GTi BX 16 Soupapes / 16 Valve (sixteen-valve) according to the market.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The best is called 16 Soupapes / 16 Valve (according to the market) and it means sixteen-valve engine technology.

The naturally aspirated 1.9-liter 16 V/16 S engine with tuned pipes was able to get this agile lemon with a dynamic body kit (first plastic, later with laminate bumpers) and a shorter laminate hood (for cooling) thanks to 160 horses from zero to one hundred in less than seven seconds and then continue up to 218 km/h.

As part of the chassis, the car received stronger stabilizers, cooled front brakes, specific suspension balls and other shock absorbers. In the interior, the adjustable sports front seats caught the eye.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The GTi 16S / 16V variant is still considered the best that a regular driver can ride in the BX.

It should also be added that this TOP version gave birth to another racing Supertourism designed for the Supertouring business. However, there we are talking about a turbocharged 1.7 liter engine, 380 horsepower and 4×4 drive.

However, the 1987 model year also brought a change in terms of the use of a revised dashboard, the installation of more visible indicators and the inclusion of the ABS system as an optional equipment. In the following years, the four-wheeler was added (1989) to mass-produced models, and due to emissions, the first catalytic converters began to appear (1988).

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

Also, the top BX GTi “restricted” the catalyst over time.

Katík also got into the top-of-the-line BX GTi 16 Soupapes / 16 Valve, which meant minus 10 horsepower and weaker thrust from 5,000 rpm, but better performance at low rpm, for which we can thank the lambda probe and the knock sensor.

Citroën BX in general

  • High luminance of main lights
  • Easily replaceable parts
  • Powerful heating
  • Gradually improved anti-corrosion protection
  • Gradually improved electrical installation
  • Comfort
  • Creaking dashboard
  • Disturbing sounds coming from the skylight
  • At low speeds, exhaust gases can be felt in the cabin (models with a sunroof and without a bent tailpipe)
  • Susceptibility to corrosion before the facelift

Comfortable off-roads

If we are to sum up the gearboxes used in the BX models, then four-speed or five-speed manuals were standard under the hoods depending on the type, but automatic lovers who had to settle for only four qualts were not forgotten either.

Photo: Lukáš Kukla

The magic of the hydropneumatic chassis has not been overcome to this day.

Regardless of the variant, although we consider the 16-valve GTi BX to be the best in which an ordinary motorist could ride, it is necessary to highlight the hydropneumatic suspension used, thanks to which the driving comfort of the car is equal to driving on a fluffy cloud.

How does the GTi 16 S drive?

A short ride with the red sixteen-valve GTi took us back to the days when Citroën paid for a breakthrough brand. Although the model does not have an adjustable steering wheel, people almost two meters tall can fit into the cabin. The layout of the interior is also done in the spirit of ergonomics, so that the main control elements are comfortably at hand.

On the one hand, the car impresses with its hydropneumatic suspension, which few can beat. The pinnacle of joy, however, is the engine, which behaves almost like a racing car. In this modernized GTi, it is a little more moderate from the bottom, but once it reaches higher revs, it starts to pull noticeably. The great thing is that the thrust does not stop even at the highest revolutions, so even at seven thousand revolutions per minute the car has the desire to accelerate.

It is also worth noting the brakes, on which you can feel that they are under pressure and the driver measures their effect by the degree of depression. This, combined with the others, enables a highly precise sporty drive, which fulfills the spirit of a true GTi.

In addition, the ground clearance can be regulated manually, so even the dynamically tuned BX will go through light terrain like a knife through butter. Another advantage of hydropneumatics is that changing a punctured wheel is no nightmare, as there is no heaving.

The death knell of the BX model sounded in 1993, when it was replaced in the product portfolio by the Xantia – a car with a completely new concept in architecture and technology. A total of 2,316,234 BXs were produced (other sources claim 2,315,739), making the type the French marque’s most popular vehicle of all time after the Duck 2CV.

Technical data Citroën BX GTI 16S
Body hatchback
Number of seats 5
Motor gasoline inline four-cylinder
Fuel petrol
Displacement volume 1,905 cm3
Max. power 118 kW at 6,500 rpm (without CAT)
Transmission five-speed, manual
The volume of pal. tanks 66 l
Maximal speed 218 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h less than 7 s
Standby weight 1 070 kg
Combined consumption 8.2 l/100 km
Tires and tires 195/60 VR14
Front wheel suspension 2× McPherson
Rear wheel suspension independent, trailing cast iron arms
Suspension hydropneumatic
Handbrake effect on front wheels
Length 4 237 mm
Width 1 682 mm
Height 1 350 mm
Wheelbase 2 655 mm