1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo Series-1 – road test

2015 / 2016 Drive-My

Billed as the fastest Citroen ever, the CX GTi Turbo Series-1 is competing against some of the swiftest big cars currently available. Few can match its comfort. Not quite the fastest Citroen ever, the CX GTi Turbo is certainly the quickest-accelerating. Massive mid-range torque means that Citroen’s new flag ship is very rapid across the ground and a fine 120 mph cruiser, though economy is only average. Dynamic ability is well up to the performance but CX isn’t the easiest of cars to drive smoothly. Superb ride and comfortable interior are further plus points, but gearchange and boot size are only average. Very good value.

 1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 road-test drive

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – perfect road ride

Citroen has always prided itself on being ahead of the automotive game. The Light Fifteen, the DS, the GS and SM, the CX: all cars of vision for the masses, even if the masses haven’t always shared the French company’s sense of the avant-garde.

Wind 5-10 mph  
Temperature 57 deg F/14 deg С 
Barometer 29.8 in Hg/1016mbar 
Surface Dry tarmacadam 
  mph kph
Banked Circuit  (4th gear) 129.6 208.5
Best ¼ mile (4th gear) 130.7 210.4
Max speed in (5th gear best result) 137.9 222.1
Terminal speeds  
at ¼ mile 90 145
at kilometre 111 179
Speeds in gears (at 6100 rpm): 
1st 32 51
2nd 56 90
3rd 84 135
4th 129 209



1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – happy owner

Take the CX. Definitely an acquired taste to drive — with its high-geared artificial feel steering, ultrasensitive hydraulically-powered brakes and oh so smooth hydropneumatic selflevelling suspension. It boasted a good aerodynamic drag factor long before most salesmen knew what a Cd was never mind what might constitute a good one. Moreover, the biggest Citroen looked aerodynamic in a positive way when most of its executive-class rivals were conservatively square-cut. That the CX no longer seems uniquely sleek, its Cd — at 0.37 for the standard car — less than exceptional, is a measure of its influence over the decade it has been in production: you could say the mountain has come to Muhammed.

Overall 20 mpg 14.1 litres/100 km 
Touring* 25.3 mpg 9.3 litres/100 km 
Govt tests 20.3 mpg (urban) 35.3 mpg (56 mph) 28.6 mpg (75 mph) 
Fuel grade 97 octane 
4 star rating 
Tank capacity 68 litres 
15 galls 
Max range* 390 miles 
627 km 
Test distance 1078 miles 1734 km 
Based on official fuel economy figures – 50 per cent of urban cycle, plus 25 per cent of each of 56/75 mph consumptions. 
Turning circle Lock to lock 11.6 m 38.0 ft 2.5 turns 
30 mph 64
50 mph 67
70 mph 72
Maximumt 77
Peak noise level under full-throttle acceleration in 2nd 
Distance recorder: 2.4 per cent slow 
WEIGHT kq cwt
Unladen weight* 1397 27.5
Weight as tested 1585 31.2
*No fuel  
Performance tests carried out by Drive-My staff at the Drive-My Industry Research Association proving ground, Lindley, and Millbrook proving ground, near Ampthill.
Test Data: World Copyright reserved. No reproduction in whole or part without written permission.


1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – small of-road drive

Yet there is one area of development in which Citroen has been curiously slow in coming forward. Turbocharging has effected a change on the face of motoring no less significant than the evolution of more efficient body shapes. It’s been a handicap for the French car maker, too not having a powerful petrol turbo engine in its armoury. While rival big car producers have been slugging it out at the performance end of the executive market Citroen has confined the CX to the sidelines. Not endowed with the basic muscle for the job (the 138 bhp 2.5 litre injected GTi M25/659 is struggling to crack 120 mph), the CX has long been a natural candidate for turbo charging but, until now, one denied us maker’s blessing.

mph sec kph sec
0-30 2.8 0-40 2.1
0-40 3.9 0-60 3.4
0-50  5.6 0-80 5.4
0-60 7.5 0-100 7.8
0-70 9.9 0-120 10.9
0-80 12.5 0-140 14.9
0-90 15.9 0-160 20.1
0-100 20.9 0-180 29.7


26.9 Standing 1 km 29.0
Standing ¼ mile 15.3    
mph sec kph sec
20-40 12.9 40-60 7.5
30-50 9.7 60-80 5.3
40-60 7.2 80-100 4.4
50-70 8.0 100-120 5.0
60-80 8.1 120-140 5.1
70-90 8.6 140-160  6.3
80-100 9.8 160-180 9.2
mph sec kph sec
20-40 7.4 40-60 5.8
30-50 5.1 60-80 4.4
40-60 5.1 80-100 3.7
50-70 5.1 100-120 4.2
60-80 5.7 120-140  4.7
70-90 6.3 140-160 5.4
80-100 8.3 160-180 7.8





1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – original flat alloy disc

Quite why it has taken Citroen so long to come out with its big gun turbo is uncertain. But now the GTi Turbo is here, the company is pulling no punches. Launched at the 1984 Paris Salon, the new CX flagship (which sells alongside the normally aspirated GTi) is being billed as the fastest Citroen ever – yes swifter even than the C114/03 Maserati-engined SM of the early ’Seventies. That means a top speed of 136 mph and a sub-8 second 0-60 mph time. Make no mistake, the CX GTi Turbo is hunting in Audi 200 Turbo C3-series territory.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – uncompromising design

The logical turbo development of the existing M25/662 2.5-litre, four-cylinder CX GTi. Citroens new star is more than a simple up-tempo number. Although the fundamentals of the blower installation read predictably enough — Garrett T3 upstream of Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, wastegate boost control, electronic detonation detection — the system has been engineered to produce a healthy, flat I torque curve rather than an impressively high power figure. Not that 168 bhp (DIN) at 5000 rpm is anything to be ashamed of, but it’s nothing special for a blown 2.5-litre unit (Audi, for instance, manages to extract 182 bhp from just 2144 cc in its 200 Turbo). The GTi Turbo’s torque, however, is remarkable, it develops 144 lb ft at just 1500 rpm (that’s just 10 lb ft less than the normally-aspirated GTi peaks at) and a walloping 217 lb ft at 3250 rpm, or 40 per cent more than the GTi.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – classic curves of the body and put together in the vanguard remains the same futuristic as 41 years ago graceful body

The boost pressure curve peaks (0.57 bar) at this relatively low point m the rev range but tails-off progressively thereafter so that at maximum power (reached at 5000 rpm) it has, already fallen to 0.43 bar. This is the engine’s first defence against detonation. The second is a knock sensor linked to the electronic ignition which alters the timing at the onset of detonation. As with the normally-aspirated version of this alloy-head, pushrod “four”, fuel is supplied by Bosch L-Jetronic injection which also limits the maximum engine speed to 6000 rpm by cutting off the fuel supply. A sensor on the turbocharger does the same thing if boost pressure builds too high through a wastegate failure.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – fast B-road drive

Power drives to the wheels via a five-speed gearbox featuring what would be an overdrive 25.2 mph/1000 rpm fifth gear in most cars: such is the GTi Turbo’s mid-range strength it pulls maximum speed in this ratio, which is almost 20 per cent longer than the ordinary GTi’s. Chassis changes are small but necessary view of the extra urge, despite the large margins of ability and stability inherent in the hydropneumatic suspension common to all CX models. Although the nitrogen-filled spheres that are the car’s springs remain the same, the damping has been uprated and the diameter of the front and rear anti roll bars increased to cut down body lean in fast cornering. No change to the ultra-quick Vari-power rack and pinion (DIRAVI) steering but for sharper turn-in and increased grip. 210/55 VR 390 Michelin TRX tyres on new 150 TR “run- flat” alloy wheels are fitted, the latter incorporating larger air scoops for improved brake cooling.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Great M25/662 series engine – Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – completely authentic engine – roots stretching into the unit M23 series whose base was the engine 1955 DS19. Spare wheel lives under the bonnet with the muscular 2.5-litre turbo.

Citroen’s cosmetic efforts have concentrated on distinguishing the GTi Turbo from its lesser stablemates instead of making any fundamental charges to the CX s shape. Rather than taking the opportunity to knock a few points off the GTi’s 0.36 Cd by cleaning up the details (especially on the underside of the car), the addition of a rather ugly tail spoiler is said to improve high-speed stability and nullify the extra drag created by the wider wheels and tyres, but no more. Neater aesthetically are the disc-type alloy wheels, the colour-keyed bumpers, the matt-black window trims and the “T” – for Turbo badging on the bonnet, rear pillar and wheels. Inside, plusher black velour covers the seats, a conventional array of dials replaces the controversial and typically Citroen “Cyclops Eye” instrumentation but little else has changed.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

The grille on the back does not lift the glass is nothing but a fad 80s

The Citroen CX GTi Turbo Series-1 is mixing it with some highly esteemed machinery but at £ 12.990 (1984 UK base price) is very competitively priced nonetheless. Audi’s 200 Turbo (Series-2), for instance, costs £17.013, E28 BMW’s 528i £14.035. Ford’s soon-to be-replaced Granada Ghia Xi Executive £14.885 and Rover’s very rapid V8-engined Vitesse £15.775 (Rover SD1), Saab’s 900 Turbo 16S (First series) (£ 13.490 in four-door form) comes closest to matching the Citroen’s price in our rivals line-up but, despite its very close  paper specification, simply lacks the French car’s acceleration.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Concise and streamlined profile

Because, doubt it not, this Citroen packs a mighty punch. And nowhere is this more evident than in the mid-ranges. In fourth gear, all 20 mph increments from 30 to 70 mph are covered in just 5.1 sec apiece, and 70-90 mph in this gear takes just 6.4 sec. Statistically, none of the French car’s rivals listed in our comparison chart come even remotely close to challenging this sort of pulling power (which is firmly in the supercar class).  Cross country, it translates into blistering overtaking ability without the need to be constantly changing gear. Even in fifth, the 50-70 mph increment is disposed of in a trifling 2 sec which, again, puts all our selected rivals in the shade, even the 182 bhp Audi 200 (7.7 sec).

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Rear GTi Turbo badge

The GTi Turbo Series-1 faces stiffer opposition when it comes to sprinting from a standstill and certainly has to give best to the Rover in the dash to 60 mph which the British car covers in a sizzling 7.1 sec. Even so the Citroen’s 7.6 sec almost equals the Audi 200’s 7.5 sec and fractionally betters the E28 528i BMW’s 7.7 sec. And it’s accomplished with a remark able sack of drama: traction off the line is excellent, the engine’s solid torque doing all the work. But as we suspected when driving the GTi Turbo at its launch in Bavaria. Citroen’s 136 mph top speed claim is somewhat wide of the mark Round Millbrook’s high speed bowl, we achieved a maximum of 129.6 mph with 130.4 mph coming up on the wind assisted leg. This confirms the subjective impression that the engine runs out of steam quite quickly beyond 5000 rpm. The big Citroen will cruise with little apparent effort at 120-125 mph but when the chips are down on the autobahn, the Audi 200 Turbo (139.5 mph), the Saab 900 Turbo 16 (133.6) and the Rover Vitesse V8 (132.1) are capable of seeing it off.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Interior very cosmic – leather was very expensive at the time the option and our test car unfortunately satisfied with fabric interior, however, most are sold in Britain Turbo first series were modestly equipped. Conventional dials in a traditional CX setting (above left and above). Plenty of interior legroom (left).

As important as outright performance in this class, the GTi Turbo’s lack of fuss and its basic mechanical smoothness deserve high praise, especially for a “big banger” four. The engine is well insulated from the cabin: although the sound it makes under hard acceleration lacks the crisp sporting edge of say the BMWs it is, at least, muted and unobtrusive. Starting is reliably prompt, warm-up brisk and hassle-free. Driveability is excellent for a turbo, not only with regard to the neck tensing push available from low revs but the clean and essentially lag-free response to the throttle.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Trying to squeeze out of the car limit values, because fortunately it turned out condition of the engine and chassis ideal

In a class not noted for its abstemious habits at the petrol pumps, the Citroen holds no surprises Its overall consumption of 20.0 mpg (while just 0.1 mpg worse than the figure returned by the GTi with old M23/622 2,35-litre 128bhp engine we tested in 1977) by a small margin collects the wooden spoon m the company of the rivals selected for this test, though even the best car in the group (the Audi 200) can manage no better than 22.5 mpg. On relatively gentle runs the car returned about 23-24 mpg, suggesting a touring figure of around 26 mpg and a theoretical maximum range of 390 miles on a 15 gallon tankful of 4-star. The GTi Turbo isn’t blessed with the smoothest of clutch actions The gearchange itself, however, is easier to come to terms with a little imprecise, maybe, but adequately positive across gate and impressively quick if you’re in a hurry. The ratios are excellent: short enough to keep the turbo spinning and responsive in normal driving yet long enough to ensure good mechanical refinement when you’re pressing on.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Get up from behind the wheel is not like a car does not let go until the last minute

Tighter camping and thicker anti roll bars combine with fatter, lower-profile tyres to elevate the CX’s chassis still higher up the ladder of dynamic prowess. Judged by the criteria of grip, stability and composure over bumps, the Citroens self-level ling hydropneumatic suspension system ranks with the very best. But we’re still no fans of the artificially weighted Vari-power (DIRAVI-system) steering which, apart from being very high-geared, always returns to the straight ahead left to its own devices whether the car is moving or stationary. Since very few roads are perfectly straight, this means the car always has to be consciously steered, the driver constantly making small corrections. The very quick steering in any case requires the smoothest handling if the car isn’t to lurch untidily through a bend. A smooth approach is the only approach with a CX, and it has to be said that it isn’t made any easier by the greater breadth of performance available with the GTi Turbo Series 1. In all but the tightest bends, understeer is well con tamed and while the suspension can be caught out by a series of sharp crests, its ability to stay on course through most bumpy bends is almost without peer. Which is more than can be said for the low speed ride. If anywhere it is here that the GTi Turbo’s squatter tyres and heavier damping are most noticeable, manifested as a degree of small bump harshness surprising in a Citroen The ride over long amplitude humps and un-made roads at speed, however, is nothing short of superb. Undeniably powerful, the brakes fall into the same category as the steering: too sensitive. Hydraulically served and with less than an inch of total pedal travel, pressure is difficult to regulate smoothly On the other hand, if you simply want to stop very quickly, the GTi Turbo is immensely reassuring, hauling off speed with ridiculous ease and almost a complete absence of nosedive.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Futuristic ashtray not the most convenient invention – but looks like a million dollars

In most other respects the GTi Turbo is much like other CX’s, our views on which have been well documented in these pages Apart from a boot which might be considered modest in a car of this size accommodation is spacious and comfortable. But while height/tilt adjustment is provided for the driver’s seat, some of our testers complained that the cushion was too high even on its lowest setting leaving little room for their thighs between seat and steering wheel. The seats themselves, however, were judged to be very comfortable not only large but combining soft padding with good support. The most significant change inside is the adoption of an instrument display composed entirely of conventional dials and gauges which are clearly marked and easy to read. While obviously a big departure for Citroen it is undoubtedly good news: few of our testers mourned the passing of the “Cyclops Eye” speedo.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Quiet and leisurely rides too could give pleasure

Will Citroen abandon its idiosyncratic pod-mounted switch gear we wonder? The Citroen CX has never had very good ventilation and the Turbo is no different. The GTi Turbo’s interior looks plush and inviting but rather gloomy, the predominant trim material being black velour.  Equipment levels are good there are head restraints front and rear, electric windows, tinted glass, central locking, remotely adjustable door mirrors, driver’s seat tilt/height adjustment and audio pre-fit speakers and areal.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Have mud flaps and hitch

But then that’s no more than you would expect in a £13.000 car. What is remarkable about the CX GTi Turbo is that you get so much else besides: a 130 mph top speed, stunning acceleration, tremendous cornering ability and superb comfort. For the money, there’s nothing else that comes close. The only snag is the nature of the car itself. First and last, it s a CX — a car ahead of its time, but a taste some never acquire.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

It is time to say goodbye to this wonderful, controversial frame-based pseudo-sports car and to think that the best CX is the first series LWB car with an automatic ZF transmission, the test that we just had not long ago ( SWB Pallas IE)

Competitors similar in speed performance and price.

Audi 200 Turbo £17,013

The blown 200 achieves superb performance and a very impressive top speed from only 2,1-litres, combined with excellent economy. Precise handling, strong grip and outstanding stability are further plus points as are the generous accommodation and fine finish. Ride and refinement are slightly disappointing. Standard equipment includes ABS, air conditioning, central locking and electric windows. Overall the 200T is a superb machine.

BMW 528i E28 £14,035

Good performance from silky-smooth M30B28 in-line six. A fine driver’s car with taut handling, excellent driving position, and pleasant gearchange Instruments, finish, high cruising and heating/ventilation are all points in its favour. Ride comfort, however, is not as good as in many rivals, and the engine sounds fussy around town. Quite well equipped, with a wide range of options available at extra cost.

Ford Granada Ghia Xi Executive £14,885

Ford’s roomy Granada is refined but no particularly economical in this rapid company, and tall gearing, with manual option, affects its low speed flexibility. Safe and forgiving handling is aided by efficient fade-free brakes. Accommodation is excellent and the heating system is powerful and sensitive, although integral ventilation is not very effective at high heat settings. Looking pricey against the opposition. New model next year (Ford Scorpio / Granada 1985)

Rover Vitesse (SD1) £15,775

The SD1 Vitesse gives outstanding performance married to excellent flexibility and acceptable economy The handling is predictable and most enjoyable — despite over light steering — and ride quality is adequate, the brakes rumble, but do not fade, when used hard. Otherwise much like any other Rover with mediocre accommodation (though very good load capabilities) for its size, and improved finish. A splendid car and quite good value.

SAAB 900 Turbo 16S 4-door £13,490

High performance flagship of the 900 range has an advanced 16-valve 175 bhp version of Saab’s 2-litre four. Very good maximum speed and upper speed range acceleration, though it is disappointingly slow through the gears. Virtues include precise, taut handling, powerful brakes and excellent accommodation for a sporty car. Solidly built and very wen equipped.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1

Of non-original parts on our test car painted in the body color bumper (in the original, they should be the color of stainless steel) and a modern audio system.

1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1


1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo series 1 – “T-logo”


Car 1984 Citroen CX GTi Turbo Series-1
Made in France
Type Citroen M25/662 Turbo charged
Cylinders 4 in-line
Capacity 2473 cc
Bore/stroke 93/92 mm
Cooling Water
Block Cast iron
Head Aluminium alloy
Valves Pushrod ohv
Cam drive Chain
Compression 7.75:1
Turbo Garrett T3
Fuel system Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection
Ignition Electronic
Bearings 5 main
Max power 168 bhр (DIN) 122 KW at 5000 rpm
Max torque 217 lb ft (DIN) 310 Nm at 3250 rpm
Type 5-speed manual
Clutch dia 9.0 in
Actuation Hydraulic
Internal ratios and mph/1000 rpm
Top 0.674:1/25.2
4th 0.882:1/19.2
3rd 1.207:1/14.1
2nd 1.833:1/9.3
1st 3.167:1/5.4
Rev 3.154:1
Final drive 4.2:1
Rust warranty 12 months
Aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd) 0.36
Front Independent by equal length parallel transverse links, with anti-roll bar and hydropneumatic self-levelling springs.
Rear Independent by trailing arms with anti-roll bar and hydropneumatic self-lervolling springs.
Type Rack and pinion
Assistance Varipower varying assistance DIRAVI system Citroen
Front Ventilated discs, 10.3 in dia
Rear Discs. 8.8 in dia
Park On front wheels
Servo Yes, fully powered by engine-driven hydraulic pump
Circuit Dual, split front/rear
Rear valve Yes
Adjustment Automatic
Type Aluminium alloy, 150 TR
390 FH
Tyres 210/55 VR 390 Michelin TRX
Pressures 33/21 psi F/R
Battery 12 V, 60 Ah
Garth Negative
Generator Alternator. 80A
Fuses 8
type Halogen H4
dip 110 W total
main 230 W total

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