Why We Love Citroëns: Gruppe B Edition

As Mr. Lieberman’s lovingly crafted ode to the most complicated car in the world, and the Autoblog podcast featuring our own Tim and Jeff conclusively showed, Hooniverse loves Citroëns. Here’s another reason – the BX 4TC (no relation to XTC, sorry new wave fans).

A normal (well, the 16V variant) BX.
For those of you who don’t have the entire lineage of the double-chevron marque etched into their distressed synapses, the BX was the successor to the delightfully bizarre GS/GSA, powered (I use that term quite loosely) by an air-cooled flat four and in some instances, the star-crossed Corotor Wankel, and of course using the company’s trademark liquid hell suspension of death hydropneumatic suspension. Despite basically bankrupting the company and forcing it into bed with its arch-nemesis, Peugeot, Citroën rallied (pun intended) to develop the less-quirky but still amazingly French BX. The Gandini-penned shape was, to pick a single word, fussy. It sort of looked like a Lada auditioning for a role in Blade Runner. But under the skin, the BX was the subject of a whole host of either improvements or perversions, depending on your views of the state of the French auto industry. It shared a platform with the highly conventional Peugeot 405, but retained the hydropneumatic suspension. One of the reasons for platform-sharing was the dubious reliability of the GS, and so another nod to reliability was a host of, frankly, boring, tiny motors that I won’t bore you discussing. So the BX was weird but more conventional than its predecessor – why am I writing about it again? Oh yes, the 4TC. Let me get a couple of caveats out of the way here. It was a Gruppe B car, but in competition it basically sucked. It hit the course rocking a Peugeot 505 mill, and ultimately Citroën was so horrified by its ineptitude as a racer that they destroyed as many of them as they could get their hands on, so their shame wouldn’t be paraded around in front of them like some sort of misbegotten tattoo. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLZDhIb9xZw[/youtube] So it wasn’t very successful on the track – so what? Is the Bill Thomas Cheetah derided because it never got its teething problems sorted before its race career ended? Hell no, the Cheetah is hotter than a wet t-shirt contest of full of Megan Fox clones. And so it is with the BX 4TC – 430 HP (380 HP in the roadgoing homologation versions) and 2500 lbs make for an exciting combination under any circumstances except for the batshit madness of Gruppe B competition at its height.
BX 4TC engine, je t’aime.
In addition, it used a competition version of the selfsame hydropneumatic suspension, giving it an unparalleled potential on broken pavement. The car was underdeveloped and so never realized its full potential, but just look at that brace of foglights, that stance, that forced-induction longitudinal lump … well, here’s six minutes of justification for the BX’s credibility as a hoonworthy car. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Qn7Kp8NQg[/youtube] Now, imagine it’s just you and a competition spec BX 4TC, the Col de Turini laid out in front of you, a too-cool-for-école French vixen perched next to you and coddled by the hydropneumatic ride, the black night pierced by your quad driving lights as the snow roostertails away from under your blistered fenders … c’est magnifique, no? First image courtesy of GroupBRally.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here