Time Machine: 1981 Citroen Xenia Concept - AllCarIndex

Time Machine: 1981 Citroen Xenia Concept

Feb 09, 2022


In the autumn of 1981, on the cover of issue 65 of the Citroën house organ of the time, a new silhouette appeared, neither sedan nor station-wagon, extremely aerodynamic, with a predominant glass surface compared to the sheet metal of the body.

It was the last great creation of the Citroën Style Center which, only the previous year, had produced the car with the original "pyramid" shape Karin and which now with this new concept, christened Xenia, was projected towards the future by proposing a innovative line that was ahead of its time (it was already "twenty years ahead") and would not have disfigured a salon of the 2000s!

The mechanical basis heralded that of the Citroën BX, which would go into production in 1982.

The overall length was 420cm, the width of 175 and the passenger compartment could be accessed through two large gull-wing doors that allowed you to sit on four armchairs equipped with every comfort.

Another feature of the Xenia was the advanced exploration of the possibilities offered by the on-board electronics, a research capable of astonishing visitors to a car show thanks to details that would have become indispensable on any modern car, for example the solar radiation sensor that regulates the on-board air conditioning. Anticipating what would be available a few years later on the CX and BX, an on-board computer calculated fuel consumption and residual range, the average speed and helped the driver with the cartography, at a time when GPS satellites (those launched) were reserved for military use.

Speaking of "satellites", the dashboard of Xenia, designed by Michel Harmand, showed off the most technological technology that the research of the 1980s could offer: all the functions were controlled without taking your hands off the steering wheel, the ZF automatic gearbox ( which would have been adopted from that year on the CX and later on the BX) incredibly smooth in its operation, it allowed the driver to use the lever only when starting, maneuvering and arriving.

Forty years ago, Xenia showed the world the great ability to innovate of the Citroën Style Center, that is, what is possible to do with technology and without limits to creativity, reinventing the car every time.

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