Citroen SM Reviews from North America

1973 Citroen SM 3.0

Model year1973
Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership1976
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 3.0 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.3 / 10
Distance when acquired19010 miles
Most recent distance58345 miles
Previous carJaguar XJ6

Summary:

It is worthy of a Greek tragedy that this car doesn't get anymore credit to its name than it does.

Faults:

Brake accumulator - replaced.

Pressure regulator - replaced.

Cam chains and timing chain replaced - tend to break.

Jack shaft seal replaced twice - 1st time seal was damaged during installation causing the next fault.

All radiator hoses and sensors replaced, heater core and radiator boiled due to oil contamination from jack shaft seal. (My fault, not cars)

Original exhaust valves replaced - tend to break.

Rear wheel bearing replaced.

Spheres replaced 2 times - periodic replacement.

Voltage regulator quit

Alternator quit, both replaced with new style alternator with internal regulator.

Oil cooler lines replaced as a precaution.

Starter damaged by water, 25 years later because of rust, driving through flooded are in early 80,s - replaced (my fault, water was 4 feet deep, shouldn't have gone through it, but a credit to the car it made it with no problems at the time.

General Comments:

All in all not that many issues in 31 years of use!

This car is an engineering marvel; never seen anything quite like to this day and it was made in the early 70's.

The steering, breaking, and suspension are all controlled by a hydraulic pneumatic system.

The steering radius is tighter than a VW bug, and this car is 16 feet long.

Car has automatic centering steering, and steering wheel can be taken front tilt to tilt with 1 finger when car is running and sitting still.

The car can be driven on only 3 wheels.

The suspension is automatically leveling thus balancing out the car with uneven loads in it, or going around lots of tight corners.

Due to the hydraulic suspension you do not need a jack to remove any of the wheels.

It can do 149 miles an hour with 4 full grown adults in it.

It has headlights that rotate with the steering wheel when turning - European version.

The car's shape was designed in a wind tunnel thus giving it about the same drag coefficient of a Lamborghini Diablo.

I have NEVER got this car stuck in the snow and I live in Colorado. I have even got up hills I saw 4 wheel drive cars unable to get up.

This car may seem to other people that it is labor intensive, and by today’s car standards it may be, but I can tell you it is easier to work on than a Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW or Triumph because I have owned all 4 of those. If properly maintained, it is not unheard of to get more than 300k miles out of this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2007

1972 Citroen SM V6, 2.8 carb.

Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership1981
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission V6, 2.8 carb. Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.5 / 10
Distance when acquired45000 miles
Most recent distance69000 miles
Previous carCitroen SM

Summary:

The most beautiful car ever made

Faults:

Spheres need periodic replacing.

Back up light switch replaced.

Exhaust system replacement.

Radio not the best.

Power windows need attention, sometimes the plastic gear breaks in half, difficult to replace.

Spheres are replaceable easily.

Break sphere requires removal of left front fender.

General Comments:

This car is the most technically sophisticated car ever made in the 1970's.

Very reliable if you stay on top of the maintenance.

A ride like no other car.

A rolling museum piece.

Always a car show winner.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th August, 2004

19th Aug 2004, 20:03

The Citroen SM was a beautiful failure from the beginning. A person has to be obsessed and have more money than sense to waste their time and effort in order to maintain this ill-conceived and poorly executed luxo-cruiser. Good luck to all who have them, you'd probably also enjoy a Fiat 124 Spider and an MGB to shed tears over. Maybe if you search really well you could find a Cadillac Catera that you could try to keep up.

1973 Citroen SM 3.0 carburetor

Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 3.0 carburetor Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired54000 miles
Most recent distance59898 miles
Previous carMazda MX6

Summary:

An automotive icon that deserves an understanding owner and a fine automotive technician

Faults:

This Citroen SM sat too long and needed spheres.

Its entire oil cooling system burst and had to be replaced.

Its intricate 3 timing chains needed replacement as well as a total overhaul of the distributor.

Front brakes quite sensitive to wear.

General Comments:

This SM should be kept by true connosieurs of automobiles or mechanics with engineering degrees. It's a marvel when running correctly.

Nothing surpasses this car as a fast, freeway flyer.

Steering fantastic, affording maneuverability of a Mazda Miata.

Fingers always crossed when I am behind the wheel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th April, 2002

24th Aug 2003, 16:36

Comment from owner: Thanks for your individual comment. Citroen SM still running as per usual. Should note that ALL 1973/74 SMs built after 01/73 or so came with the 3.0 V6, whether or not a 5 speed or automatic was chosen. This is an original equipment vehicle, fully documented from new. There was no conversion of its transmission.

Average review marks: 6.5 / 10, based on 3 reviews