Motoring: Time for some tough torque - Roger Bell is impressed by the muscular new Citroen XM 2.5TD Room to move: Citroen's XM 2.5TD / Road Test - Motoring - Life and Style - The Independent

Motoring: Time for some tough torque - Roger Bell is impressed by the muscular new Citroen XM 2.5TD Room to move: Citroen's XM 2.5TD / Road Test

THE TORQUE generated by an engine, its twisting power, is not the usual stuff of saloon-bar conversations. It should be. Torque represents the muscle behind snappy acceleration; and Citroen's new XM 2.5TD musters more of it than any rival. Many larger, more powerful petrol engines, including Citroen's own 3.0-litre V6, do not get close. Even BMW's acclaimed six-cylinder turbo diesel is well beaten, although it does develop more horsepower.

The introduction of a new high- torque diesel is among a range of sales-boosting improvements made by Citroen to its flagging flagship, still shunned by the British as a Gallic oddity. With prices starting at pounds 15,995 (down from pounds 17,590) for the petrol 2.0 16v SX, you get a lot of car for your money. The 2.5-litre turbodiesel, which supplements the existing 2.1TD version, is more expensive: pounds 20,525 for the saloon, pounds 20,995 for the estate tested here. But it still undercuts the opposition.

All 15 XM models get improved suspension (already unique, and very effective), restyled facias and new trim and switches. Fears about reliability have been allayed by the introduction of a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, backed by roadside breakdown recovery. With these moves, Citroen is hoping that some of the success of the ZX and Xantia, the models largely responsible for the company's booming UK sales, will rub off on the XM.

Family holdalls do not come much roomier than the XM estate, which is 10in longer than the saloon and several inches taller. Legroom in the back is sufficient for beanpole passengers, and the extended deck is of camp-bed length, almost as long as the Volvo 940's. Comfort is a strong suit, too. Complementing armchair front seats is suspension, dubbed Hydractive 2, that floats the car over foundation bumps, though it deals less smoothly with surface abrasions.

Gas/oil springs, activated by a central high-pressure hydraulic system that also works the brakes and steering, are the secret. No matter how heavily the boot is loaded, the self-levelling suspension prevents tail droop - ideal for an estate. By pulling a lever, the suspension can be lowered to ease loading or raised to increase ground clearance on rough roads.

Despite its soft ride, the XM handles crisply. Body lean is controlled, so that the car can corner 'flat' despite its supple springs. Steering is sharp to the point of being nervous. As the touch-sensitive brakes require delicacy, too, clumsy drivers should look elsewhere: the XM is an acquired taste that rewards finesse as readily as it punishes errors.

Its new 2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine is as gentle on the ears as it is on the wallet. When idling, there is no mistaking the offensive diesel clatter. As car speed rises, though, the noise of the engine subsides. (It is fitted with counterbalance shafts, like those used by Porsche and Saab, that smooth away vibration.)

All-out performance of the 120mph 2.5TD estate is nothing special: floor the throttle at 2,000rpm in fourth gear, though, and the big Citroen lunges forward as effortlessly as an elephant rolls logs. To match its energetic overtaking in a petrol rival would mean dropping a gear or two and racing the engine. All this - and 40 miles to the gallon as well.

Citroen is determined to thrust the slow-selling XM back into the limelight through keen pricing. Anyone in the market for a big, roomy, comfortable car that goes well on little fuel would be foolish to ignore it. Apart from being good value, the XM is one of the last true 'characters' left in a market of lookalikes.

SPECIFICATIONS

Citroen XM 2.5TD VSX estate, pounds 20,995. Engine: 2445cc 12- valve four-cylinder turbodiesel, 130bhp at 4,300rpm, 217lb ft of torque at 2,000rpm. Five-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive. Performance: 0-60m in 11 seconds, top speed 120mph. Fuel consumption: 38-42mpg.

COMPARISONS

Audi A6 2.5TDI estate, pounds 23,116. New name (and mild facelift) for the superseded 100. Stylish, roomy car; refined turbodiesel engine. All-galvanised body.

Ford Granada 2.5TD Ghia estate, pounds 18,795. Prices of Ford's handsome estate start at pounds 16,845 for the turbodiesel, pounds 1,000 less than the cheapest XM estate, which it rivals for space and equipment.

BMW 525tds Touring, pounds 23,950. Powered by the world's best diesel engine, virtually indistinguishable from a petrol 'six'. Good driver's car. Not as roomy as the XM.

Renault Espace 2.1TD RXE, pounds 21,175. Best of the van-shaped MPVs: acres of room, versatile seating/luggage arrangement, interesting styling, durable body/chassis unit. Diesel a bit slow and not that economical.

Volvo 940 2.4TD SE, pounds 21,595. The archetypal boxcar estate: big, imposing and ungainly. Roomy, and strong on practicality, safety and space. Six-cylinder engine fairly smooth, but lacks muscle.

(Photograph omitted)

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Sport
David Moyes and Rio Ferdinand
FootballRio Ferdinand on why the former manager failed at United
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
News
i100
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Energy Markets Analyst

    £400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

    Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    Nursery Manager

    £22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

    Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week