On September 23, 1982, a great crowd gathered on the Champ-de-Mars below the Eiffel Tower, their gaze fixated on the Eiffel Tower's first floor, where a wooden box was hung with the inscription "Voila la nouvelle Citroen." The wooden box was slowly lowered to the earth in a dizzying light and sound extravaganza. The bodywork finally parted to reveal the Citroen BX, launching its spectacular career to a standing ovation - with the Eiffel Tower decked out in double chevrons and covered in a massive fireworks display.
On September 30, 1982, the 69th Paris Motor Show opened its doors in the Porte de Versailles exhibition hall, officially launching sales of the BX, which quickly became one of the fair's uncontested stars.
The Citroen BX project, which began in 1978 under the codename "XB," was completed in November 1979. The future BX's key goals were to be known as a modern, unique vehicle emphasizing innovation. The BX was designed to be a transversely engineered vehicle with little mass to provide good acceleration and low fuel consumption, representing cost savings. The BX, like all Citroen top-of-the-line automobiles of the time, used a hydropneumatic suspension system to assure comfort and excellent road grip. The BX was a five-door hatchback.
The Vélizy technical center led the development, investing substantially in CAD (computer-aided design) to hasten design convergence and enhance performance. The Citroen BX attained a respectable aerodynamic coefficient of 0.34 due to this strategy. It used composite materials for sections such as the bumper, trunk lid, hood, and side panels, and it weighed only 885 kg. The engines of the BX were taken over from the group's drive bank as the first car of the PSA era. The Citroen BX was unexpectedly dynamic with powerful engines since its initial debut (62hp and 72hp 1360cc, 90hp 1580cc).
Citroen has set a dual purpose with the BX: to present the entry into the upper-middle-class car market and replace the GSA. The Citroen BX relied on cutting-edge technology to provide comfort, dynamism, and economy, as well as a novel shape with a ground-breaking design.
Citroen commissioned the BX's design from renowned Italian coachbuilder Bertone. Marcello Gandini (father of the Miura, Countach, and Stratos) then presented an innovative shape that was both robust and devoid of irregularity. It stood unusual in the automotive environment of the time, but it became the BX's symbol. The cockpit was also appealing, with a CX-inspired dashboard and signature details like satellite controls on either side of the steering wheel and a backlit tachometer.
The Citroen BX, which was wholly modern and packed with appealing features, quickly won over the press, captivated Citroen customers, and acquired new consumers: it was a significant financial success. It sold over 2,337,016 million units when production halted in June 1994 at the Rennes La Janais plant in Brittany and the Vigo plant in Spain. The BX, as one of Citroen's best-selling vehicles, undoubtedly contributed to the brand's resurgence in the 1980s.
The body underwent various alterations during the BX's 12 years on the market. The Evasion, an attractive family station wagon 17 cm longer than the sedan, was added to the lineup in 1985, as was the corporate version that had emerged a year before. The BX received a dramatic facelift in 1987, with a softer appearance and an entirely new dashboard.
Sunroof, air conditioning, digital instruments, velvet upholstery, alloy wheels, digital clock, and onboard computer were all included, allowing the Citroen BX to maintain its image as a modern vehicle.
Mechanically, the Citroen BX remained cutting-edge, with engines producing up to 160 horsepower, electronic injection with a catalytic converter and lambda sensor, a diesel engine, automatic transmission, permanent four-wheel drive, and ABS brakes. There was even a 200-piece limited series of the street version of the Group B racing car BX 4 TC (2141 ccm, 200 horsepower, 220 km/h).
The Citroen BX debut advertising campaign portrayed the BX as a car that lived, thought, and breathed, focusing on the hydropneumatic suspension's varied sounds and movements. Citroen was the first French manufacturer to launch an automatic diesel model in 1985. In 1987, the business advanced still again by introducing the first French production automobile with a 16-valve engine.
The Citroen BX has always been on the cutting edge of technology, being the first production vehicle with a compressed polyester fiberglass composite hood, an injected polyester fiberglass composite tailgate, a bonded rear window, and even headlamps with parabolic reflectors and two focal reflective surfaces.