The Citroën BX 4TC is a Group B car you forgot

16th November 2022
Adam Wilkins

Think of Citroën in rallying, and your mind probably conjures an image of Sebastian Loeb dominating the World Rally Championship in his Xsara. But it wasn’t always life at the top for the French marque. The Citroën BX 4TC was its pitch at Group B rallying, but it would prove short-lived and lacking in success. Several decades on, though, who cares about that? Just look at it!


While an illustrious motorsport career no doubt adds lustre to many historic competition cars, sometimes it’s the outliers that make for a more interesting story. Citroën’s arrival in Group B was late compared to its rivals, so it was always going to be at least one step behind. As it turned out, it was several more paces behind than that. Where its rivals were ground-up designs using spaceframe chassis and composite panels, the BX 4TC was based on the same monocoque structure as the regular showroom models. It also retained the hydrolastic suspension.

Something that wasn’t shared with a normal BX was the styling. By turning the engine through 90 degrees to make it longitudinal, the front overhang was extended to make space for the engine. It made the four-wheel-drive transmission easier to accommodate, but there was still no room for the radiators, which were moved to the back of the car.


Four-wheel-drive was good news, but the lack of centre differential meant the car couldn’t make the most of it, especially on tarmac stages. More bad news came from the fact that, despite turbocharging, the 8v SOHC engine could muster just 380PS (280kW). The car was less powerful than its rivals and 190kg heavier than the minimum regulatory requirement. At least the car’s unique-for-class suspension gave it an advantage on rough surfaces.

Reliability problems marred the BX’s record and, of the three rallies it entered, a sixth place finish in Sweden was its best result – and indeed its only finish. Citroën took a break to develop the car, and by the time it came back the writing was on the wall for Group B. The short-lived attempt was over. The mayfly-like lifespan means that Group B BXs, and their road-going equivalents, are now rare and the intrigue more than makes up for the paucity of victories.

The car at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard was the one that was driven to that sixth place by Jean-Claude Arudet, and despite having some historically accurate reliability problems it drew a crowd all weekend.

Photography by Joe Harding.

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