Giant test Citroen SM 2.7 vs BMW 3.0 CS E9

2014 Drive-My

Five grand plus Citroen SM 2.7 vs BMW 3.0 CS. Driving the Citroen SM through the lanes of Oxfordshire only an hour or two after picking up the car we were all too-conscious that we were handling something out of the ordinary. The speedometer needle was flickering around at highly illegal speeds yet the car seemed to be wafting along at 50mph, the suspension literally soaking up the undulating road surface and ignoring potholes and manhole covers as if they did not exist. The tightest corner required a mere inclination of the wrist as the steering was as high geared as any modern racing car yet as light as power assistance can make it.

BMW 3.0 CS E9 test

And all the while the grumble of the Maserati V6 could be felt from in front, ready to yank the car up to three figure speeds. Just as a Festival Hall audience knows when it is hearing a master soloist at work, just as the crowd at Old Trafford roars when George Best sidesteps three defenders and scores the winning goal, so were we aware that we were in the presence of greatness. Yet a few days earlier we had been hurtling up the A5 in the brand new series E9 BMW 3.0 CS equally convinced that we were driving a fine car as the lusty straight six urged the coupe along at staggering speed. Somehow we had to make a choice between these two very fine cars and after long deliberation we had to plump for the mechanical sophistication of the Citroen even if we slightly preferred the simplicity of the BMW’s styling. Just to open the Citroen’s bonnet has got to be the biggest bit of one-upmanship ever.

citroen SM 2.7 test

The Citroen and BMW, both selling at around the £5000 mark, fall into a very interesting segment of the market. At one time there was a yawning gap between the mass produced excellence provided by Jaguar at around £2500 and the exotica (costing anything from £7000 upwards) which we all fondly imagined were lovingly put together by elves in the Black Forest to. some magic formula. But increasing affluence has led to a new class of motorist who feels he is above buying a Jaguar yet cannot run to the price and running costs of the really expensive cars. This seems to have led to a rash of cars in the £5000 bracket. Alfa’s Montreal will fall in this bracket when it finally arrives on these shores, the Aston Martin DBS just shades under £6000, the Ferrari Dino 246 has recently had a substantial price reduction to £5252, the Iso Rivolta comes in at just over £5000, the cheapest Jensen Interceptor sells for £5874, the new Mercedes 350SL is £5242, the Porsche 911S is £4987 and Lamborghini’s Urraco is expected to come in at around £5000. The manufacturers themselves are startled at the fantastic demand for their machinery, but are really too busy to work out the reasons. Ferrari have sold over 100 cars since the right-hand-drive Dino arrived here and Jensen are turning out a steady 18 cars a week, while Mercedes and Porsche concessionaires struggle to increase their quotas.

Citroen SM 2.7 interor

Both the Citroen and BMW have front-mounted engines and are nominally four seaters. Apart from this they have little in common, yet we found the comparison extremely interesting. The Citroen was introduced at the Geneva Show of 1970 but was slow to get into production and only during this summer did supplies start reaching Britain, and even then only in left-hand drive. There are no immediate plans to built right-hand-drive cars but it is hoped that by next year either the factory will be building right-hand-drive versions or the British subsidiary will have cars converted on arrival. The basic price of the car in the UK is £3750 which, with purchase tax, is inflated to £4689.38; however such extras as leather trim, air conditioning, tinted windows, radio, fog lamps etc. (most of which were on the test car), boost the price to around £5200. A range of eight colours is available and dealers report brisk demand for demonstration runs, although sales will be restricted until right-hand drive is available.

Introduced at the Geneva Show this year (1971, remark Drive-my), the BMW 3.0CS E9 is a straight development of the 2.8 litre version with some of the problems sorted out. The 2800CS was not a development of the 2800 saloon. It used the chassis and suspension of the old 2000CS which had inferior handling and braking to the saloon — and at a far higher price. BMW were obviously well aware of the deficiencies, so the three-litre coupe has been updated to equate with the three-litre saloon in more respects than the 2800CS.


It is difficult to know where to start discussing the Citroen’s specification. It bristles with innovations from front to rear, which is one of the reasons why it took third place in our CAR of the Year contest this year behind its smaller brother, the GS, and the Range Rover. Similar self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension to that of the Citroen D/DS range is utilised in the SM with double wishbones at the front and trailing arms at the rear. The same adjustable ride height and wheel changing facility is incorporated and the suspension has been modified to eliminate one or two characteristics which are sometimes criticised on the D/DS series. Big disc brakes are fitted all round, inboard at the front, outboard at the rear, the activating assistance coming from the pressurised hydraulic system and the brake ‘pedal’ being the same tiny button used on the DS. The SM has a very complex steering system which is basically a hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion setup which has only two turns lock-to-lock. The system is designed to be sensitive to road speed so that the steering effectively stiffens as the speeds rises; there is also an hydraulic self-centering effect which is quite independent of the steering hydraulics. The engine stems from Citroen’s take-over of Maserati, the V6 unit being effectively the Maserati V8 with two cylinders lopped off. Since the eight is a 90 degree vee so is the six which, therefore, has unequal firing impulses and imbalanced secondaries ; this is not an ideal state of affairs but apparently Citroen wanted a new engine in a desperate hurry and the design had to be adapted from the V8. French road taxes (and some other Continental countries such as Austria) hit heavily at cars over 2.8 litres, which is why Mercedes and BMW for instance have popular cars at or below this limit. The six cylinder version of the Maserati 4.2 litre V8 turned out at 3.1 litres so a reduction of five millimetres on the crankshaft throw was necessary to end up with the final figure of 2670cc. The engine has twin-overhead-camshafts per bank, operated by an unusual two- stage duplex chain drive with a primary chain from the crankshaft driving a central jackshaft from which separate chain drives go to the camshafts on each bank. With a 9.0 to one compression ratio it gives 170bhp DIN at 5500rpm and maximum torque of 170lb ft at 4000rpm. The Citroen is, of course, front-wheel-drive, the five-speed gearbox and final drive unit being mounted ahead of the engine, the drive shafts having constant-velocity Hooke joints at the outer ends and sliding joints at the inboard end.

Citroen SM 2.7 engineering

By contrast the BMW is almost conventional and certainly far less complicated. It has basically the same Karmann-built integral steel chassis/body as the 2800CS, with front suspension by MacPherson struts, lower links and coil springs, with semi-trailing arms and coil springs at the rear — a similar tried and tested formula to that used throughout the range. A main improvement is to the brakes which are now of the ventilated type, 10.7in diameter front and rear with vacuum servo assistance. The engine has been increased 200cc by boring the cylinders out from 86 to 89mm to give a capacity of 2985cc. In most other respects the straight six remains unchanged, keeping the same chain driven single overhead camshaft layout. With twin downdraught Zenith carburettors and a 9.0 to-one compression ratio the engine gives 180bhp at 6000rpm, an increase of 10bhp over the 2800. The engine is mated to a four speed, all-synchromesh gearbox, although BMW do have a five speeder which is currently reserved for racing.

The attitude to styling could not be more different. One has the impression that BMW drew up their pretty shape then did their best to fit the parts to the car and sort out wind and road noise problems in testing. With the Citroen the impression is that they drew the best possible aerodynamic shape and then said ‘to hell with the looks the hunchback rear and cut off tail can by no stretch of the imagination be called handsome. It seems as though Citroen’s main styling effort has been centred on the interior where some items have been styled just to make them look more futuristic than functional.


Neither car can approach the sort of drag strip acceleration of the Anglo-American bastards or the true exotica from Ferrari and Lamborghini, but by careful balancing of gearbox and final drive ratios both cars combine more than adequate acceleration with top speeds which are deliciously illegal in Britain and ideal for fast trans-continental cruising in those countries which still resist main-road speed limits. Citroen claim a top speed of 135mph and true to their tradition of accuracy, the test car achieved exactly that, while the BMW lags slightly behind with a top whack of 130mph, although this would probably be improved upon by a more run-in car than the nearly-new test car. The BMW comes out slightly better on acceleration; its lower weight and slight power advantage give it the edge low down, but the sleeker shape of the Citroen pays dividends above 100mph. If we had had room to time them both to 120mph from a standstill we suspect the Citroen would just have beaten the BMW by a whisker. But to all intents and purposes their straight line performance can be considered as identical since both will hit 60 in around 8.5/9.0 seconds and 100 in around 23/24 seconds. In the matter of flexibility the BMWs paper superiority in torque is partly offset by the Citroen’s extra gear, but since both fourth and fifth in the Citroen box are less than one to one (0.97 and 0.81) they are not the most flexible of gears, although the Citroen’s final drive ratio of 4.375 to one is much lower than the BMW’s 3.45 to one. In practice the Citroen’s fourth gear is about equal to the BMW’s top.

If we had been presented with the Citroen without ever having seen it before and been asked to state which part of the car had been made by Maserati there would only be need for a couple of miles driving to discover that Ing Alfieri and his team had been responsible for the engine. It has all the thrummy noises associated with lots of chains and camshafts rattling round, accompanied by a low pitched rumble that we would swear was the warning of main bearings about to give up the ghost. As engine speed rises towards the 6500rpm red line the rattle becomes more pronounced but never disconcerting once the driver steels himself to ignore it. All the same we would hazard a guess that Citroen engineers are not too happy that the plushy silent softness of their chassis and body is marred by the relative harshness of the engine. Rumours of discord between Citroen and Maserati may well centre round this very problem. It’s certain that the car deserves a more powerful, more torquey engine than that provided by Maserati and although the imbalance of the 90 degree V6 has been well concealed it can be felt when lugging from low speeds in high gears. The test car started easily from cold with a whiff of choke for the three downdraught Webers but strangely the choke knob has no means of holding it open, so that it always springs closed; this necessitates the driver doing a complicated juggling act with his hands to get the car running. The car proved an awkward starter when warm as well, sometimes refusing to fire for 30 seconds or so. (Shades of early Fiat 130s, also V6 equipped.)


In distinct contrast the BMW’s straight six would delight the late S F Edge who did so much to promote the six cylinder concept with Napier in the early days of the motor car. It starts well with the aid of its automatic choke, which cuts out conveniently quickly, and is a real lusty unit, its song being suitably muffled for its role as a very grand tourer. But its smoothness cannot be denied and it once again proved to us that it’s probably the best unit of its capacity on the market today. It can be thrashed through the gears unmercifully without losing its tune and is always ready for more. Maybe Citroen engineers would like to have the BMW engine in the SM if only the long slant six could be made to fit amongst all that machinery.

Both cars have excellent gearboxes but we fell in love with the Citroen’s right from the first change. The central, floor-mounted lever protrudes through a metal slot which leaves no detents exposed into which to slot the lever, but the chrome plated surround has the gear position marked on it and all that is necessary is to slide the lever towards the appropriate number on the surround. The gear pattern is the normal H-layout with fifth to the right and forward and reverse straight back from fifth, but the lever has to be lifted before it will enter reverse. The lever is spring loaded towards the central third-fourth position and changing up or down is merely a matter of flicking the lever out of gear, allowing it to spring across the gate of its own accord and then sliding it into engagement with never a trace of graunching or any sign of beating the synchromesh. This is just what the Bugatti exponents must have enthused about 40 years ago. Gear ratios are nicely progressive all the way up the scale with gear speeds of 36,58, 85, and 115 in the lower four gears. The central remote control of the BMW is slightly more ponderous, but the box has excellent synchromesh and the sturdy lever can be whipped about effectively. The synchromesh has been strengthened in the saloon and CS which probably accounts for the slightly stiffer action. The clutch on both cars is as light and progressive as we have come to expect from diaphragm spring types but it cannot be long before Citroen think of some way of incorporating a clutch servo!


Several journalists, perhaps overcome with the joy of handling thoroughbreds after a spell with more mundane machinery, have likened the handling of both the Citroen and the BMW to tiny sports cars like the Lotus Elan; unfortunately this is just wishful thinking. In comparison with such machinery as the Elan and Porsche our Giant Test cars are lumbering elephants. One has only to study the sheer size, weight and power characteristics to discover that they never could equal the more nimble sports cars and we had that fact demonstrated to us when a well-driven Elan comfortably vanquished our Citroen in the Oxfordshire lanes. On corners taken above 70mph the two cars might just about be able to equal a sports car’s cornering capability but anything below leaves them way behind; angle of roll is a great deterrent even if the tyres are willing to stick. This is not to say that the Citroen and BMW do not hold the road well for, by big car standards, they are extremely good — just don’t expect to see off V12 E-types on the bends!

The handling of the BMW is the most straightforward of the two since it corners predictably and rapidly with a trace of understeer. It can be flung through fast, smooth bends very rapidly and only bumps will show that the basically 2000CS chassis of the 3.0CS is less torsionally stiff than its saloon brethren. Roll is not quite so severe as on the Citroen but there is probably more than on the equivalent saloon BMW. The choice of tyre is very critical on the BMW: with German-made Veith-Pirellis the test car was quite suicidal in the wet, for it wanted to point in every direction except forwards. When the BMW was switched to Michelin VRs things improved 100 percent and while the wheels could still be spun in the lower gears and the tail could be made to break away it was much more controllable.

The handling of the Citroen is very much tied in with the steering. Until the driver becomes completely accustomed to driving the SM it is difficult to judge the handling and steering objectively. A private owner who drives no other car will probably have better opportunity to do this than professional testers who are constantly jumping from car to car. The SM’s steering is so sensitive at speed that it is difficult not to corner rather jerkily unless a great deal of finesse is used; even when we became fairly accustomed to it we were not entirely happy and were probably not cornering at much more than 75percent of the car’s potential. Even so it was noticeable that fairly strong understeer predominated, as one would expect with a front-wheel-drive car and on several occasions when trying hard on a clear road we ran across the central white line coming out of a bend. This can be overcome by setting-up the car before the bend in racing style but it’s hardly a procedure to be recommended on the road. The SM corners very quickly indeed — don’t get us wrong on that score — but it is just not quite the ultimate that some people would have you believe. A very impressive feature of the car is the way the steering ignores bumps without transmitting reaction to the steering wheel; in fact as far as the driver is concerned the steering might just as well not be connected to the wheels. There is virtually no indication when driving that the car has front-wheel-drive apart from the fact that the front wheels will spin on rapid take-offs in first gear. The BMW’s steering feels rather low geared after the Citroen’s, since it takes four turns lock-to-lock (against the Citroen’s two) but being power assisted it is light and has reasonable road feel. As on most BMWs the wheel is too large.

There is not too much to worry about with the braking of either car. The BMW now has ventilated discs all round in place of the criticised disc/drum layout inherited from the old 2000CS. The pedal feels a bit heavy until the brakes are warmed up but then the anchors really haul the car down from three figure speeds with no fuss or drama. The Citroen’s pressurised all-disc setup is slightly less reassuring, for only a light pressure is required to get the brakes biting well. After several stops we noticed some fade and a strong smell of burnt lining material. However, they recover quickly and completely, but they might cause trouble in really arduous conditions. The button brake pedal is mounted on a raised platform so that it is possible to make heel and toe gear changes if you need or like to.


The SM probably has the most outstanding ride of any car in the world today. On smoothish English roads it is probably equalled by the XJ6 and the NSU RO80 (both past CARs of the Year incidentally) but on the really rough stuff encountered in the northern parts of its native country it must be considered as die best riding car in the world. The characteristics are similar to those of the DS range, of course, but the ride is definitely firmer, which is all to the good since the car copes with unexpected undulations much’ better than the more mundane members of the Citroen family. It floats over the roughest road, even the worst bumps being more heard than felt and the SM is really only caught out on things like hump-back bridges which are not met all that often these days. On some of the few remaining stretches of cobbled road in London it totally ignored the surface, only road rumble through the chassis indicating that the surface was anything out of the ordinary, while traversing a normally bumpy level crossing made us wonder if the rails had been removed. They hadn’t. Cats eyes tend to make a noticeable thump through the tyres at low speed but not at higher speed. The anti-dive suspension keeps the car level under the fiercest braking although the nose tends to lift during hard acceleration until the hydraulic gremlins get to work to level the car out. Naturally the Citroen SM has the same ride-levelling load compensating capability of the DS, and when loading the boot the car gently hisses away to itself as it brings the rear end level with the front. It also has the differing ride levels of the DS with high ground clearance being obtainable via the short lever beside the driver’s seat. This lever has five positions, the normal ride position being in the second notch from the front on the quadrant, while the third and fourth positions can be used on rough roads. The rearmost notch raises the car to its maximum height for off-road motoring over boulder strewn territory or the like. The extreme forward position is used in conjunction with the rearmost position for wheel changing.

By comparison the BMW’s otherwise quite advanced coil-spring independent suspension feels almost plebian. It copes well with most road surfaces though, having a pretty fair balance of characteristics. The slight lack of rigidity is manifested in some rattling and squeaking on rough surfaces. Bumpy corners make the car pitch and patter somewhat and while the BMW certainly cannot be put in the Jaguar XJ6 / NSU RO80 class, nevertheless it is near.

In the matter of seating Citroen seem to have gone out of their way to be different. The front seats have been consciously styled for appearances sake, the central sections being heavily pleated. After an hour or two at the. wheel these pleats make themselves felt as a minor irritant rather than as a noticeable discomfort. The reclining mechanism is also unusual because the seat breaks about a foot above the cushion, only the top half of the backrest reclining; we found this a trifle uncomfortable too as the break didn’t always coincide with the natural bend of our drivers’ backs. The seats have a good range of fore- and-aft adjustment, the forward edge of the cushion can be raised by a separate lever and when folding the squab forward for access to the rear, the whole seat slides forward on its runners and then returns to its pre-set position once the back passenger is installed. Integral adjustable headrests are incorporated and the test car had the alternative leather upholstery — a costly £186 optional extra.

The BMW’s separate front seats are large and sumptuous looking, with side rolls on the cushions and backrests to keep the occupants in place. The cushions are quite firm but very comfortable and covered in a velvet cloth trim which is both cool in warm weather and non-slip. There are knurled wheels for rake adjustment and the backrests tip forward for access to the rear compartment.

Both cars are nominally four seaters but the BMW is marginal in this respect as leg and headroom are insufficient for an adult to be comfortable in the rear compartment over any distance. The Citroen is slightly better off, having more legroom if the front seats are not put on their aftmost stop. Neither car could be classified as a full four seater, but it will be interesting to see if Citroen improve the SM in this respect when the four-door version is eventually announced.

The Citroen has by far the noisier engine but the BMW suffers from wind whistle and roar around the pillarless centre section, although this has improved over the 2800CS. Therefore under acceleration the BMW is quieter but at high cruising speed the Citroen just about has the nod. Transmission and axle noise is not noticeable on the SM or the BMW.

Luggage space is not abundant in either car. The Citroen’s would be good were it not for a large spare wheel plonked right in the middle of the boot which means that only small cases or holdalls can be accommodated. BMW have put the spare wheel below the boot floor and this reduces the depth to 12 inches, but most cases are shallower than that so the CS should hold more conventional luggage than the Citroen. The Citroen does have the advantage of a large parcels shelf over the boot but the BMW has a large full-width front parcels shelf as well as a glove locker.


The Citroen’s fascia looks as if it was designed for something being fired out of Cape Kennedy rather than merely as a car instrument panel. The oval shaped instruments live under a hooded cowl to eliminate reflected glare and consist of a 240kph speedo with total and trip odometers while the 8000rpm tachometer is flanked by a multi-purpose instrument with warning lights for about every eventuality. These are for hazard warning, fuel reserve light (it began flickering when the tank was still half full on the test car but should start when two gallons are left), headlamp main beam, winker repeaters, brake-pad wear warning light, water temperature, hydraulic-brake-pressure warning, oil-pressure warning, alternator charge; side-lamps on indicator, handbrake on indicator. There is also a large red light almost two inches in diameter in the centre of the dial with the word STOP printed on it. This lights up in conjunction with the oil pressure, water temperature or brake failure lights so there is no excuse for missing them. An electric clock is fitted in the centre of the fascia and below it are three small gauges for water temperature (as well as the light), fuel contents and engine-oil temperature. The usual Citroen column-mounted stalks look after wipers/washers, lighting, and horn/lamp flashing/winkers. As usual with Citroen direction flashers they are not self cancelling, which is quite infuriating in such an automated car as this. As well as the normal through-flow ventilation via fascia and tunnel vents the test car had the optional air conditioning which flooded the interior with freezing air seconds after starting up. The temperature can, of course, be adjusted and vents in the central tunnel ensure that the rear-seat occupants receive their share of air. We found it difficult to strike a compromise between having frost on our eyebrows and cooking in the strong sunshine of our Indian summer, but no doubt this is a knack which comes from more acquaintance with refrigeration systems. It costs £206 as an extra. The SM has electrically operated windows as standard while such touches as a map reading light, electrically heated rear window, cigar lighter, ashtrays, sun visors and armrests come as standard equipment. The radio, which is an optional extra, sits vertically in a box beside the handbrake.

The BMW is also fairly well supplied with instrumentation but in a simpler form than that of the SM. The fascia is rather incongruously faced with wooden trim and the instruments are confined to a panel in front of the driver, consisting of speedometer, rev counter, electric clock and a combined instrument containing the fuel gauge and water temperature gauge plus the various warning lights. Fresh air ventilation is fitted, the controls giving good distribution and flow. Electric windows are standard on the CS but a radio is not. The majority of minor controls are steering column mounted stalks, the CS having the excellent wash and wipe wiper switch with intermittent wipe available as well. The CS has a heated rear window as standard and all the usual accoutrements of this sort of car such as sun visors, armrests, ashtrays, map pockets in doors, electrical rear quarter lights and so on.

Lighting should be excellent on both cars as the BMW has four Hella quartz-halogen headlamps while the Citroen has no less than six Cibie quartz-halogen units, the inner pair of which swivel with the wheels to light up sharp bends or driveways. The lamps are hydraulic- ally connected to the suspension so that they remain level at all times. Both sets of lights were, surprisingly, slightly disappointing; the BMW’s because of incorrect setting and the Citroen’s because of diffusion through the plastic protective screen in front of them. This screen will have to be removed fairly soon as it is becoming illegal in more and more countries.


Taking a cold, clinical look there can be no doubt whatsoever that on a value for money basis the Citroen offers a great deal more for its £5200 than does the £5300 BMW. The SM is crammed with mechanical novelties from stem to stern, the majority of which work better than the conventional systems of the BMW. This is not to say that the BMW is not a very good car, but virtually identical performance can be obtained from the saloon version at a price of around £3500/£3600 together with a great deal more accommodation, slightly better handling and lower noise level. The extra cost of the coupe is paid to Karmann for the pretty body while the high cost of the Citroen is paid out for the veritable mass of machinery.

The main snag with the Citroen is the fact that it will not be available with right-hand drive for some considerable time, so those who are brave enough to buy it in left-hand drive form will have to suffer the inconveniences which that entails as well as the massive depreciation of lhd cars in the UK. However, the SM offers an almost incomparable ride, top-class steering, braking and handling, a punchy if noisy engine and a futuristic appearance both inside and out. On that basis can there be any choice but the Citroen SM?

The fascia panels of the Citroen and BMW could not be more different. The BMW’s is utterly conventional but the SM’s seems to have been deliberately made futuristic; the oval shaped instruments live in a heavily sculptured hooded panel but are easy to scan at speed. The multi-purpose warning light instrument has no less than 14 different warning lights! Among all this sophistication it is strange to find non-cancelling direction indicators. The BMWs instrumentation is simple but logical, although the main dials are a trifle small keen drivers will probably feel that the absence of an oil pressure gauge is a retrograde step — an item that is also missing on the Citroen.

The BMW wins the luggage space stakes easily because the SM’s vast spare wheel sits right in the middle of the boot floor.

The BMW boot is shallower (little more than a foot deep) but it is wide and unobstructed. The BMW has the better front seats, too. They are fairly conventional cloth covered, reclining and with removable headrests. There is sufficient side support to hold the driver in place on corners. The SM seats seem to be styled for effect rather than comfort, the pleated joins becoming disagreeable after an hour or two at the wheel. The reclining position and headrests are also less comfortable than those of the BMW. The Citroen has more room in the rear seat, though.

The mass of machinery under the Citroen’s bonnet must send shivers down the spine of even the most competent mechanic, yet the majority of maintenance items like oil, water, windscreen washer and hydraulic fluid filler caps are all accessible. Although the battery can be topped up quite easily it has to be removed via the front offside wheel arch. The BMW is a piece of cake in comparison for there is quite a’ bit of room round the slant-six engine, especially if the large pancake air filter is removed. The fact that the BMW’s bonnet hinges forward slightly hinders access.

Car Citroen SM 2.7 BMW 3.0 CS E9
Wheelbase 116in 103in
Overall width 72in 66in
Front track 60in 56in
Ground clearance (unladen) 6in 6in
Front headroom (seat uncompressed) 37iin 37in
Rear headroom (seat uncompressed) 35in 34i n
Front legroom (seat forward/back) 37/43in 35/40in
Overall length 192in 183in
Overall height (unladen) 52in 53in
Rear track 52in 55in
Front shoulder room 57in 56in
Rear shoulder room 55in 51 in
Rear legroom (seat forward/back) 23/28in 20/26in
Mechanical Specification     
Weight (in lbs kerb)
3197 3050
Steering rack & pinion ball and nut
Turning circle
34ft 6in  33ft 11 in
Turns (lock to lock)
2.0 4.0
Brakes discs front – Diameter (in) 11.8, disccs rear – Diameter (in) 10.0, with servo, 
discs front – Diameter (in) 10.7, disccs rear – Diameter (in) 10.7, with servo
Material (cylinder head) lig htalloy (block) light alloy (cylinder head) light alloy (block) cast iron
Main bearings (number)
four seven
Cooling system
water water
Valve gear layout
four overhead camshafts single overhead cam
three Weber 42 DCNF two Zenith 35/40
Compression ratio
9.0:1  9.0:1
Capacity (cc)
2670 2985
Bore (mm)
87.0 89
Stroke (mm) 
87.1 80
Power (net bhp/rpm)
170bhp at 5500 180bhp at 6000rpm
Torque (net lb ft/rpm)
170lb/ft at 4000rpm 188lb/ft at 3700rpm
five speed all synchromesh four speed all synchromesh
Top gear mph per 1000rpm 22.5 mph 20.7 mph
Ratios: 1 st 2.93 2nd 1.94 3rd 1.32 4th 0.97 5th 0.81 1 st 3.86 2nd 2.2 3rd 1.4 4th 1.0
Final drive ratio
4.375:1 3.45:1
Clutch : Make:
Citroen Fitchel and Sachs
single dry plate diaphragm
spring single plate    
Wheels and Tyres     
Wheels (type and size) steel 15in x 6in rims light alloy 14in x 6in rims
Tyres (type and size) Michel in 195/70 VR-15X Michelin XVR 195/70 14in
Replenishment & Lubrication     
Type of oil 20W/50  SAE 30
Engine sump capacity (pints) 12.25 8.8
Engine oil change interval (miles) 3000 4000
Gearbox and final drive capacity (pints) 3.9
SAE 80
Gearbox capacity (pints)  2.1
Final drive capacity (pints)
Type SAE 90 EP
Number of lights six four Hella
Tungsten halogen Quartz halogen
Battery (make) Fulman Varta
12 volt 300/70 a.h. 12 volt 55 a.h.

Safety belts Yes, Tool kit Yes, Heater Yes, Rear window heater Yes, Jack Yes, Radio Extra Windscreen washers Yes, Cigar lighter Yes, Map light Yes Fog lights Extra Spot lights Extra Clock Yes Fresh air ventilation Yes Hazard warning Yes Sun visors Yes Tachometer Yes Sliding roof No Vanity mirror Yes Reversing lights Yes Coat hooks IMo Grab handles Yes Reclining seats Yes Wipe — wash facility Yes Map pocket Yes Bootlight Yes Engine compartment light Yes Adjustable steering wheel Yes Oil pressure gauge No Oil temperature gauge Yes Water temperature gauge Yes Ammeter No Electric window winding Yes Petrol filler lock Yes Fuel low level warning Yes Underseal Yes Glove locker Yes Parcels shelf (front) No Parcels shelf (rear) Yes Headrests Yes Steering lock Yes Parking lights Yes Door armrests Yes Rear armrest No Front armrest No.

Safety belts Yes, Tool kit Yes Heater Yes Rear window heater Yes Jack Yes Radio Extra Windscreen washers Yes Cigar lighter Yes Map light No Fog lights No Spot lights No Clock Yes Fresh air ventilation Yes Hazard warning Yes Sun visors YesTachometer Yes sliding roof No Vanity mirror Yes Reversing lights Yes coat hooks Yes Grab handles Yes Reclining seats Yes Wipe/wash facility Yes Map pocket No Boot light No Engine compartment light No Adjustable steering wheel No Oil pressure gauge No Oil temperature gauge No Water temperature gauge Yes Ammeter No Electric window winding Yes Petrol filler lock No Fuel low level warning Yes Underseal Yes Glove locker Yes Parcels shelf (front) Yes Parcels shelf (rear) Yes Headrests Yes Steering lock Yes Parking lights No Door armrests Yes Rear centre armrest Yes Front centre armrest No. 
Front Independent with double wishbones and self-levelling, interconnected hydropneumatic units Independent with MacPherson struts,lower wishbones trailing links, coil springs, damper units
Rear Independent with trailing arms and self-levelling, interconnected hydropneumatic units

Independent with semi-trailing arms and coil springs

Price structure (1971)
Basic price, £ 3750 4237
Purchase tax 939 1061
Extras (including tax)  
Leather trim 186 230
Tinted glass 48
Airconditioning 206 365
Radio 112 basic equipment
Fog lamps—2 18
Automatic transmission 300 239
Power steering basic equipment 114
Airconditioning (including tinted glass) 464
Indicates fitted to test car
Price as tested £5130 £5299

Length and conditions of guarantee Six months, labour and materials. Exceptions to guarantee Lubricants, anti-freeze, tyres, glass. Number of free services One at 600 miles.

Length and conditions of guarantee Six months, labour and materials. Exceptions to guarantee Lubricants, anti-freeze, tyres, glass. Number of free services Three at 1000, 4000, 6000 miles.


Cost of schedule servicing for 12.000 miles or one year exclusive of oil. hydraulic fluid, filters, etc. Not yet available. Cost of oil change at £1.20 per gallon £1.30.

Cost of schedule servicing for 1 2.000 miles or one year exclusive of oil. hydraulic fluid, filters, etc. Not yet available. Cost of oil change at £1.20 per gallon £1.30

Braking (Actual stopping distance in feet)  
30mph  47  53
70mph  156  170
Fuel consumption  
Overall (mpg)
22.4  24.0
Driven carefully (mpg) 27.1  26.7
Star rating 5  4
400/440 miles 350/400 miles
Tank capacity
20 gallons 15.4 gallons
From standstill to mph. in seconds
0-30 3.3 3.9
0-40 4.8 5
0-50 6.4 6.7
0-60 8.2 8.7 
0-70 11.4 11.8
0-80 14.3 15
0-90 18 18.9
0-100 23 24
0-110 30 31 

Speeds in gearsFrom minimum to maximum in each gear.


37 33
2 60 60
3 90 90
4 115 130
5 135

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