Purchasing an XM

Potentially a risky business?
XMs have an unfortunate reputation in some quarters, but a well maintained XM can be a very sound purchase.
The somewhat exaggerated tales of unreliability have caused massive depreciation, even of the last registered examples. This can make an XM something of a bargain too.

There are three very important points to consider on buying an XM.
History, history and history.
An XM without a decent verifiable history is a leap in the dark, with unexpected horrors lurking in wait for the unwary.
I'm not saying if the car has a good, service history and a stack of MOTs verifying the mileage you should buy it - far from it. My first XM had a full history, which I didn't read until after I'd acquired it...
It might as well have had every page overstamped 'Do not buy this money pit'!

Read carefully, a comprehensive service history can tell you if you are looking at a good one or a bad one.
Some XMs seem to just go on forever (if looked after properly) without missing a beat. Others are a long running saga of problems.
You obviously don't want one of the latter, which is why the service history, and understanding it's implications are so important.

And before you dismiss the seriousness of buying a troublesome XM, reflect on the complexity of the machine - and the price of the parts!


Musing about buying - I guess deciding where to source your XM is number one.

XMs seem to either arrive unannounced and unintended - which is how I got my first, or after a long and frustrating search - which is how I got my current XM.

I wouldn't part with much money for an 'unannounced and unintended' XM, they are rarely worth it unless you fancy haunting your local scrap yard semi-permanently and enduring an endless mechanical challenge!
I swapped a car I was going to scrap for my first XM plus some cash, so I can't complain. Had I paid good money for it, I certainly wouldn't have bought another!

Of course you might get lucky. But most owners of this sort of XM seem to spend a lot of time justifying the time and money spent attempting to restore some semblance of reliable operation with the low original cost...

Far better to spend more money in the first place, on a decent condition later model, in my opinion.

This has the advantage that you can write down the ideal specification, then go searching for it.
Well I can save you a bit of time there... Don't bother.
It just doesn't seem to happen like that. I wanted a Manual V6 or Turbo around 80,000 miles with Aircon and Leather. You'd think that would be easy enough.

So why did I wind up, after some three months very active searching, with an Auto Turbo, at 52,000 miles, with a static inducing velour interior?
Simple. I have never seen so many excruciatingly bad examples of any car I have previously attempted to buy! Three months of that and sanity dictated that I'd have to compromise on the transmission and interior. And don't think that this fully historied low mileage 6-7 year old XM didn't need money spending to get it running right either!

So, if you want a reliable, 'properly' (*) maintained, historied XM in good condition, be prepared for quite a long search and a lot of frustration. Even if you have absolutely no preferences. If you want something specific, heaven help you if you can't compromise.
( * 'properly'? Ah, well. In case you didn't know, XMs don't take kindly to incompetent or skimped maintenance, and Citroën dealers are famous for their incompetence where XMs are concerned. Unfortunately some Citroën Independent Garages ('Indys') don't perform terribly well either... So while a service history is useful, it's no guarantee the car's been properly looked after.)

There is of course 'the third way'. Dealers.

What can I say? If you want to pay through the nose for a fully Valeted, interstellar mileage car with a dodgy service history, then engage in humorous dialogue with the dealer over the small print of his 'warranty' when things go dreadfully wrong, be my guest.
I looked at a quite a few and was seriously unimpressed.
What I eventually bought, privately, cost me around one third of what dealers were asking for older cars with twice the mileage... Apart from being a better bet from the mileage/age point of view, that leaves an awful lot of cash in the wallet to deal with any problems that develop!

To be continued...