Recently replaced by the Citroen C5, the XM was Citroen's executive car from 1989 to 1999. It was the last gasp of the paper-folded wedge school of design, and it was also the last truly distinctive sci-fi Citroen. It had a Knight Rider-esque dashboard and Citroen's distinctive hydraulic suspension system.

During its life it wasn't a great commercial success. It cost much the same as a decent BMW 5-Series, but was bedevilled by niggling electrical problems which were expensive to put right. The hydraulic system scared off buyers, and depreciation was catastrophic - a car that cost £25,000 brand new was worth £17,000 the moment you drove it home, and £3,000 three years later. There are lots of them driving around London with broken windows and smashed lights, because they're very cheap to buy but expensive to put right once they go wrong.

There were hatchback and estate versions split between two distinct revisions - the original cars had a Citroen logo on the bumper offset in one direction, whilst the second and final model had the logo in the middle of the bumper.

There were 2.0 litre and 3.0 litre V6 petrol, and 2.1 litre and 2.3 litre diesel engine options. The 2.3 litre diesel estate was the most practical and desireable of the lot, especially as the hydraulic suspension was self-levelling. However, prospective buyers of an expensive estate were more likely to go for a Volvo, the polar opposite of Citroen's avant-garde wackiness, and thus the XM died.

Notice the date and time above. At this point in the writeup, a man called Miles Northrop walked past my desk to tell me that there had been a plane accident, at the World Trade Center. I stopped writing this and went to watch the television instead, fully expecting to see a story about a light aircraft bashing into one of the towers, as had happened with the White House a couple of years before.

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