RE: Citroen BX GTI: Spotted

RE: Citroen BX GTI: Spotted

Saturday 17th February

Citroen BX GTI: Spotted

A 1980s GTI that isn't preposterously priced? Believe it or not, such a thing still exists...



Just as every 1980s children's cartoon superhero must have his sidekick, so every 1980s halo-model hot hatch must have a less powerful, more accessible equivalent: a 1.6 to the top-of-the range 1.9; a naturally-aspirated version of the turbo - or indeed, an 8v to the 16v.

So it goes in the case of this Citroen BX GTI - you're looking here at a bona fide sidekick. And that's rather appealing, to be honest, as more often than not it's the lesser models that get overlooked in favour of the faster, more honed, and more special stars of the show.

Evidence of that comes in the fact that prices of BX GTI 16vs are starting to creep inexorably upwards - though they still come up for sale, while rarely, with greater frequency than eight-valve GTIs. Or at least, eight-valve GTIs as clean as this one.


So what's the big deal? Well, under the bonnet sits the same XU9 engine as you'll find in a Peugeot 205 GTI. Actually, that oft-espoused fact is not quite true - the BX uses a 'J2' version of the engine with 123hp compared with the 128hp 'JA' variant found in the 205. So it's not as quick, a fact you'd probably already gathered from the larger body - albeit one with its weight mitigated by the considerable use of composite body panels.

0-60mph takes 8.1 seconds, mind you, which is brisk enough to be entertaining, and the GTI feels it thanks to a useful wodge of low-down torque, a willingness to rev and a rasping engine note. It's pretty good fun in the corners, too; there's a considerable proclivity for body roll - the payoff for the softer suspension which allows the BX to float over mid-corner bumps without being knocked off its line - but that is combined with a remarkably tenacious front end and the ability to provoke gentle, predictable oversteer with a mid-corner lift.

This example looks remarkably original - even if the wheel trims aren't quite right for the car - and it's rare to happen upon an early example like this one without the front chin spoiler and smoked rear lights. The mileage is distinctly reasonable, too, and the dashboard doesn't appear to be cracked either. If the seller's description is to be believed, it's also had four recent new spheres - always extremely handy - and comes with a decent amount of MOT, too.


True, the seat covers look rather baggy, but that's a common problem on these older GTIs to do with the metal cross-bracing in the seat base popping out. In short, it's easy for someone with the right know-how to sort out, just as long as the fabric itself hasn't worn through or faded. But there's little else to be concerned about here. So why hasn't it sold yet? After all, it's been for sale for a few months now.

The price may have something to do with it. It seems people simply aren't quite ready yet to spend that sum on a non-16v BX - especially one that looks barely any different to a bog-standard diesel. It wasn't all that long ago that a decent GTI could be had for well below £1,000, which makes the £2,000 being asked for this one feel a little steep.

But that may be short-sighted. The upward creep of 16v prices means that, whether now or in the near future, this GTI will be worth the money it's up for. And let's face it - this is a car which has lots in common with a 205 1.9 GTI - a halo model in its own right - yet costs a tenth of the price. Sometimes, buying the sidekick makes sense.


SPECIFICATION - CITROEN BX GTI

Engine: 1,905cc, 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 125@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 129@4,500rpm
MPG: 36
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1987
Recorded mileage: 92,000
Price new: £10,994
Price now: £1,995

See the full advert here.

 

 

Author
Discussion

aaron_2000

Original Poster:

1,876 posts

16 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
To think just how many were ripped apart to put the engine in the 205.

georgezippy

189 posts

128 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
A mate and I scrapped one of these back in 2002, it had a blown head gasket. It meant my scabby BX estate (I bought for £50) got a nice shiny interior. He fixed his crash damaged BX with other bits. Between us we had about 5 of the things, great shed motoring, the 1.9 was a fun nippy thing. Can't remember when I last saw one on the road.

mooseracer

357 posts

103 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
aaron_2000 said:
To think just how many were ripped apart to put the engine in the 205.
Surely it was the 16v's that suffered that fate?

Hub

3,917 posts

131 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
They don't look very gti-like do they? - apart from the badge on the rear pillar you wouldn't know.

I think it would have to be a 16v for me!

Performance isn't bad for the power - they were always lightweight flimsy plastic-y things though! Don't crash it - I saw the outcome of a BX crash back in the 90s and it wasn't pretty.

sandysinclair

157 posts

140 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Had a white one with a brown interior , the bonnet was made out of awful plastic which yellowed in the sun, the clutch broke, the gearbox broke , the electric windows had a mind of their own and would randomly go up and down of their own accord, the front sub-frame cracked and the rear driverside door dropped down to the pavement after opening it whilst at the cornershop as the hinges gave way. The central locking would unlock and lock itself but that's ok as the door locks would pop off so passenger door exit would be required. Sometimes the hatchback boot would not open usually when it was full of shopping so that had to be removed by lowering the rear seats . Went through 4 batteries in 18 months as there was unknown electrical drawdown. I could go on. . A truely hateful hateful loathsome car
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Agent57

463 posts

87 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Wow. I thought these at least had alloy wheels and body coloured bumpers and door mirrors.

Looks like a base model to me.

andySC

675 posts

91 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
I had one of these in 1992. I bought it from a pal at work for £2000, which for a 4 year old car seems reasonable enough even now. I was only 19 at the time & these were cheap enough to insure when compared to the cars I really wanted (Renault 5 GT Turbo or 205 GTI ). My fuzzy memory recalls it went quite well, it had all the gadgets (that worked) and my mate reckoned it had the dashboard from The Millennium Falcon (?). I had it for a year or so and it made a few runs from Yorkshire to Cornwall without a hitch. The only problem I had with it was shorting the battery to the ECU(my fault) and buggering that up and my parents driveway had quite a steep slope & whilst reversing out of the garage I lowered the suspension instead of raising it & I beached the car & pulled the exhaust apart (my fault).

Leins

6,503 posts

81 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Hub said:
They don't look very gti-like do they? - apart from the badge on the rear pillar you wouldn't know.
I wonder if that's more to do with the current phase of having even cooking models of every car looking like they belong in a race-series

andySC

675 posts

91 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
I had one of these in 1992. I bought it from a pal at work for £2000, which for a 4 year old car seems reasonable enough even now. I was only 19 at the time & these were cheap enough to insure when compared to the cars I really wanted (Renault 5 GT Turbo or 205 GTI ). My fuzzy memory recalls it went quite well, it had all the gadgets (that worked) and my mate reckoned it had the dashboard from The Millennium Falcon (?). I had it for a year or so and it made a few runs from Yorkshire to Cornwall without a hitch. The only problem I had with it was shorting the battery to the ECU(my fault) and buggering that up and my parents driveway had quite a steep slope & whilst reversing out of the garage I lowered the suspension instead of raising it & I beached the car & pulled the exhaust apart (my fault).

leggly

1,253 posts

144 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
I arrived at work one night in my BX, opened the door and it fell off rofl

Tannedbaldhead

2,068 posts

65 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Wonder if there are any Visa GTIs left.

Ex Expat

26 posts

8 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
This must be the week for my ex company cars! S60R and now this..
Had a couple in the early 90s, GTi swift and comfortable though always felt flimsy. Followed by the rare GTi 4x4 which felt heftier thanks to the drivetrain and could embarrass ‘real GTis’ through bends and roundabouts. Was lower geared than the front wheel drive so thirsty but would hit the rev limiter in fifth just below 120 mph.

406dogvan

5,264 posts

198 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
When I first got into cars, Citroens were my idea of hell - I hated them and wouldn't give them a 2nd glance.

Now, there are probably more Citroens on my "cars I'd love to own if I had the money and time" list - yes, I know they'd be a PiTA but they're just so - well - unique.

From a Traction Avant through the DS, SM, GSA, CX, BX, XM, C6

The only Citroen I nearly bought was a Xantia Activa (still the Elk Test Record Holder at the time!!) but the steering column wouldn't get out of the way of my legs, which is ironic because Citroens typical put the driver ahead of everyone else - hmmm

My only drive in a BX was a revelation - a 270degree roundabout was like rowing a boat, it was astonishing. A rutted road simply wasn't a rutted road!

p.s. I'd also have this 2CV - just this one

https://youtu.be/BNdKdxUZYa4?t=70

Who wouldn't?

martin12345

40 posts

22 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Back in ~1987 or 1988 I tried one of these, an MR2, an Audi 90 and an Astra GTE when deciding what to replace my Cavalier SRi with
(a pretty diverse range of options if I say so myself)

Whilst the BX went well and rode beautifully, I could not get past the perceived build quality (everything felt like it was about to break and nothing fitted nicely and the amount of roll in corners which made me almost sea sick

In the end I went for the GTE as it was a faster, nimbler Vauxhall (having loved the SRi apart from the rust !!)
The Audi 90 felt too stodgy but nicely made, the MR2 fantatic fun but no luggage space at all

aaron_2000

Original Poster:

1,876 posts

16 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
mooseracer said:
Surely it was the 16v's that suffered that fate?
I meant the 16v, didn't make that clear :P

E31Shrew

5,792 posts

125 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
Had a new one in 1987 and covered 80000 miles in 3 years. Great car and would have one again albeit probably looking through rose coloured specs.
AFAIK the 16v had alloys as standard

Are you sure it was over £10k new? Seem to recall mine was about £6.5k

shedweller

140 posts

44 months

Saturday 17th February
quotequote all
My dad has a 4x4 Gti that he uses more or less Daily, It has less than 40k on the clock currently and goes well..... especially on the recent snow.

JD2329

162 posts

101 months

Sunday 18th February
quotequote all
Very capable, individual machines.
The lightly built feel shouldn't be confused with lack of reliability, or longevity. If I was dipping my toe back into hydraulic Cit territory again I would lean towards an XM or CX, but the quick BX's are very eager, fun cars.

ChickenvanGuy

185 posts

104 months

Sunday 18th February
quotequote all
Had a blue one, G649 WMJ, I think.

Pretty fast for the time, very comfy, well equipped. It broke down, oh, every 5 or 6 minutes...

The piston rings went & it burned oil.

Coolant leaked.

Oil leaked.

Suspension fluid leaked at times

The distributor failed and it ran on one cylinder.

P-ex'd it before I'd finished paying for it. Hateful thing.

I will never own another French car. I know that doesn't make sense, but I don't care!

MuscleSaloon

601 posts

108 months

Sunday 18th February
quotequote all
Tannedbaldhead said:
Wonder if there are any Visa GTIs left.
A totally forgotten car and must be very rare .. along with the previous GT with the twin carbs.