The DS had attained legendary status during its 20-year production run by setting new standards in ride quality, handling, and braking — not to mention earned plaudits all over the world for its aesthetics.However, by the Seventies it had begun to show signs of age, but the burning question on everyone’s lips was how would Citroën replace such an icon of the motoring industry? It had been around since 1955 in saloon, estate and convertible body styles and was the people’s favourite, what with just under 1.4 million finding happy homes. The successor would need to be extra special — and the 1974 CX sure was.
Unveiled at the Paris motor show, it looked like a hatchback — but it was in fact a saloon and had a separate boot with 476 litres of space. It was an instant hit thanks to its bold design but its beauty wasn’t only skin deep; it featured all sorts of fancy tech, namely its hydropneumatic suspension and power-operated self-centring steering system to help leave an indelible mark in the industry.
Three trims were offered at launch (CX 2000, CX 2200 Super and CX 2200 Pallas) and their bodies were joined to the chassis by means of 16 flexible rubber mountings, which helped the CX establish a reputation for offering supreme ride comfort, not to mention impressive road holding ability. The CX 2000 had a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine nestled transversely in the bay and mated to a four-speed manual but it was its 2.5-litre diesel engine that helped it to conquer the European tourer market in 1984, what with its excellent fuel efficiency. It was also the world’s fastest diesel saloon at the time and could hit a top speed of 195kph.
Exceptionally comfortable and futuristic, buyers made sure it wouldn’t languish in the shadow of the DS; more than 1.2 million units were sold by the time production ceased in 1991. During that highly successful run an estate version joined the ranks, as did a bigger Prestige variant and the potent CX GTi Turbo with 168 horses. The latter will set you back around Dh60,000 today.