Have you heard of the Citroën BX GTI 16v? I’ve no doubt that you, as an esteemed reader of this august publication, have.
Time was, nevertheless, that you could ask that question even of a proud car enthusiast and be met with a blank stare, such was the obscurity to which the BX GTI 16v plunged at the nadir of its exile to the bargain bin.
That it was even there is a pity. Numbers were culled drastically as the hot BX’s cheapness encouraged many a Peugeot 205 owner to buy one, strip the engine out and scrap the rest of the car. After all, taking a car with a suspension system optimised primarily for comfort and turning it into something with a propensity for being thrown hard at corners can’t result in anything worth saving. Can it?
Climbing aboard today, it’s easy to be disparaging at first. The interior is a sea of brittle plastics, and the door handles feel as though they’ll snap in your hands, while the driving position perches you high up in the car and places the large, heavily canted steering wheel low over your knees. But look deeper: that wheel has a direct effect on the front wheels, shifting the nose around deftly; the suspension, while comfortable, is stiffer than in many hydropneumatic Citroëns; and the engine thrums encouragingly. This bodes well.