Why the Citroen SM is French, but not iconic

A few people have mentioned their disappointment about the Citroen SM being left out of our poll of iconic French vehicles, which is fair enough. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

Million-mile Saaber Peter Gilbert left a link to this video in comments overnight and I think it goes some way to showing why the SM is so wonderful in many people’s eyes. I think it also goes some way to showing why it’s not the French icon that the DS is.


So why isn’t it THE icon?

1. It’s wonderful and mad, but at the end of the day, it’s just finishing the DS’s work. Would the SM exist if it weren’t for the DS?

2. Anything with that dangerous a brake pedal can’t be considered THE icon (merely my opinion).

3. If you’re going to go to the expense and trouble of featuring a Maserati engine, then you should get the sound and performance of a Maserati engine. Again, just my opinion.


I thought I’d throw in this final video for a little extra Sunday Citroen viewing. It features the Citroen GT concept as well as the Citroen Survolt electric concept. It’s remarkable for two reasons:

1. The cars are quite remarkable simply by their designs. And check out the engine note on the GT – wow!

2. The cars actually run quite well on public streets. Most concept cars are built to be able to reliably run for 60 feet or so – the distance from their hiding spot to center stage at a motor show.

The Saab Aero X had an old Opel V6 under the bonnet and could move from it’s carrier truck to a display stand. The Saab PhoeniX concept had a Mini engine and could move quite well but I never saw it move at speed like these cars are doing. I don’t think either of them had manoeuvrability like this. The one Saab exception I can think of is the EV-1 concept, which has been seen doing donuts in the past, at the hands of it’s creator, Bjorn Envall.


Have a great Sunday!

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  1. True true and true regarding the SM. It Is quite a good looking car, it does have a strange choice of engine and it’s just a continuation of the remarkable DS but doing it less… well remarkable. But I doo like the SM.

    The GT does nothing for me. The design is Koenigsegg roofline and wraparound windscreen while the rest is just Hysteria. The exhaust? Nice but not unique.

    The Aero X on the other hand is an automotive beauty. Yes It’s a shame that they did not plow another 2 million SEK into it and offered a Really potent Ethanol engine in it and a competent chassis… Wow would That have given the journos something to write about. Oh the wrote about how beautiful the car is… But the pictures of the car without it’s front end on showing that ol Opel/Vauxhall Omega/Carlton engine shamed the car a bit.


  2. The SM is like the 900 to the DS’s 99. Yes, it’s an evolution of the original, however there are many reasons to love the later model.

    The reason that it’s not as iconic is that it had a shorter production run and was thus not as well-adopted by the public.

    Citroen is a unique brand that I miss in the US. There are still many reasons for their demise here which stem from the US-banned height-adjustable suspension in their vehicles. We are the losers, not Citroen.

  3. “The SM is like the 900 to the DS’s 99. ”

    Nicely put. So what does that make the CX, then? 🙂

  4. The SM is the best, iconic or not.

    At least in design.

    When I first saw one, I was stunned. Truly. I still remember the suroundings etc. (a horse riding competition). As if it came from the future.

    I have been hoping for years that Citroen might come up with a next generation, like this one:
    But since the wonderful C6 is flopping, that will not happen.

  5. Here is another recent SM-interpretation :

    Design-wise Citroën found back their mojo a few years ago. After the small C3 & Pluriel, then the first C4-series, especially in coupé version, the rather well done C6 and now a whole bunch of ‘DS’-variants, altough nothing in common with the original DS/ID, all very interesting with at the most tempting the DS5 diesel/hybrid.
    So maybe that SM II will occur someday.
    But there is, pardon there was altough from a different french terroir a Grand Coupé Française: I always regarded Renaults attempt with the Avantime as a possible inheriter of the SM-spirit.

  6. Il like the sound from the GT. But it does not really sound like a Citroën engine 🙂 , so what is it?