Archive for citroen sm

A question of coupés (3)

Posted in Crap cars, Desirable machines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 18/02/2011 by Alexander
  • The French It’s debatable whether the French have consciously tried to put up a fight with the Germans in the coupé segment. Some notable adversaries were the legendary Citroen SM, the Renault Fuego and the lovely Peugeot 504 coupé, but to be honest, it would seem that the cheese-eating so-and-so’s have decided to leave that niche alone and focus on more mainstream segments. Which is definitely a pity, because they’ve always put up an interesting fight.

    Peugeot 407 coupé – Argh. What a bloody awful car. If looking at it on its own isn’t dismal enough, when you consider it was preceded by beauties such as the 504 and 406 coupés, it makes you wonder what the hell were Peugeot thinking. Both the 504 and 406 had a fantastic trait that was to be able to be different from their saloon versions, making them look like whole new models even though they were practically the same. And they were gorgeous. This 407 coupé manages to incorporate all the ugliness of the saloon version and none of the inherent coolness of coupés.

    Peugeot RCZ – Dang, this thing’s nice. I’ve said it before, though my prediction that it would become a runaway success was biblically wrong (I tend to never be able to foresee which cars will sell like hotcakes and which will flop terribly). I won’t delve into its pros and cons, because I’ve already done that in the article linked above, but I’ll say this: it blows the Audi TT out of the water in every way (except for sales, by the looks of it).

    Renault Laguna coupé – Renault don’t delve much into the coupé market. Fortunately for car lovers, they did, with the Laguna coupé. And what a courageous move it was, with Renault making a car for one of the most badge-snobbing segments of the market. The result is interesting, to say the least, a breath of fresh air in a segment dominated by mostly the same solutions. The Laguna suffers from looking too much like its saloon counterpart (as you can see by now, it’s a common sin), which in turn was ugly to start with. So much so, in fact, that it’s the first version of the Laguna and one of the only Renaults that’s not disputing the top sales spot in its segment. Anyways, even though the Audi A5 is the best rational choice for a coupé, this two-door version of the Laguna is the best emotional choice available. And that’s important, since buying a coupé isn’t rational to begin with.

  • Citroen – Citroen doesn’t have a coupé in its line-up, and hasn’t had a proper one since the fantastic SM back in the 70’s. Which is a huge loss to anyone who appreciates cars, because when Citroen delves into the upper end of the market, it always makes something interesting, beautiful and that usually ends up getting cult status, as the DS, CX, SM, XM and C6 attest (not that their lower-end cars are bad, in fact, they’re quite the contrary in most cases). The problem is, if Citroen were to decide sit down and make a coupé right now, it wouldn’t be as good as it should, given that Citroen’s current styling cues are debatable to say the least. And Citroen wouldn’t consider it, since their strategy nowadays is to try to imitate the Germans and steer clear of their fantastic but risky projects. Just look at how they’ve abandoned future development of both the current C6 and a successor. Morons.

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Dream garage #4 – Citroën SM

Posted in Desirable machines, Dream garage with tags , , , on 26/07/2009 by Alexander

Citroen-SM_1972_800x600_wallpaper_03

This was Citroën’s first and, to date, only foray into the sport coupe segment. And for something that was an initial effort and rather brief, the SM was a tremendous automotive success.

It’s sales figures may not have been impressive, but it’s gained an enviable cult status matched by few other cars. So what made it so special? Lots of things contribute, but perhaps the most obvious are the looks. That smooth, long bonnet, the swivelling glass-covered headlights, and the tapering rear remind the beholder of Citroën’s own DS. The interior is eye-catchingly gorgeous, and puts to shame a lot of the crappy innards current car manufacturers have the gall to grace their products with. The seats, the dials, the funky little gearstick, all look like they were lovingly crafted by a team of architects, engineers, painters, sculptors and 60’s fashion designers.

Another very important datum to keep in mind was the fact that Citroën owned Maserati at the time, and it’s the italian brand that gives the SM its sporty pedigree. It was powered by a V6 engine, either a 2.7-litre or a 3.0-litre, while the gearbox was available in either manual or automatic depending on the market. Because the SM was only produced for 5 years (1970-1975), and there were only around 12,000 units produced, SMs are rare… and expensive. I saw a shiny black one with a very inviting brown interior on sale near my house for a whopping €17,000.

Their upkeep can be steep from what I’ve read, because of the exclusive Citroen technology. That also seems to have been a factor in its early demise. But perhaps what contributed most to its end was the 1970’s  oil crisis, a recession at the time and new U.S. car regulations that closed the American market off to Citroen.

And so this short stint came to an end, but even so, Citroën had themselves yet another legendary car in their history.

Citroën SM Gallery