The Citroën SM is a high-performance coupé produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1970 to 1975. The SM placed third in the 1971 European Car of the Year contest, trailing its stablemate Citroën GS, and won the 1972 Motor Trend Car of the Year award in the U.S.

In 1961, Citroën began work on 'Project S' – a sports variant of the Citroën DS. As was customary for the firm, many running concept vehicles were developed, increasingly complex and upmarket from the DS.[2] At some stage in the 9-year project, it evolved from developing a faster variant of the 1955 DS to developing an entirely new, thoroughly engineered car – in terms of engineering effort, a replacement for the high volume DS model.

Citroën purchased Maserati in 1968 with the intention of harnessing Maserati's high-performance engine technology to produce a true Gran Turismo car, combining the sophisticated Citroën suspension with a Maserati V6.

The result was the Citroën SM, first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. It went on sale in France in September of that year. Factory produced cars were all left-hand-drive, although RHD conversions were done in the UK and Australia.

This car was unusual for France – production of luxury cars was heavily restricted in the country by post-World War II puissance fiscale horsepower tax, so France had not had a production vehicle in this market sector since before World War II.

The SM had an engine of only 2.7 liters owing to these regulations; it was the first response to the luxury/performance sector since the export oriented Chrysler V8 engine Facel Vega in the late 1950s.[5] Citroën's flagship vehicle competed with high-performance GTs of the time from other nations and manufacturers, such as Jaguar, Lotus, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

The origin of the model name 'SM' is not completely clear. The 'S' may derive from the Project 'S' designation, the aim of which was to produce what is essentially a sports variant of the Citroën DS, and the 'M' perhaps refers to Maserati, hence SM is often assumed to stand for "Systeme Maserati" or "Sports Maserati".

Another common alternative is Série Maserati, but others have suggested it is short for 'Sa Majesté' (Her Majesty in French), which aligns with the common DS model's nickname 'La déesse' (The Goddess).

The SM did not find a sufficient customer base in the small European GT market, but much of the SM's technology was carried forward to the successful Citroën CX, launched in 1974 the DIRAVI steering being the most obvious example.

The same basic engine in enlarged 3.0 L form (some in Italy had 2.0 L) was used in Maserati's own Merak (1,800 units) and later with some modification in the Biturbo (40,000 units).[8] The Merak, Khamsin, and Bora, used Citroën's high-pressure hydraulics for some functions, and the Citroën gearbox in the Merak, during the Citroën-Maserati alliance.

Contemporary automotive journalists were effusive about the SM's dynamic qualities, which were unlike anything they had experienced before.[9] The SM provided a combination of comfort, sharp handling, and braking not available in any other car at the time.[10] The magazine Popular Science reported that the SM had the shortest stopping distance of any car they had tested.[11]

Automotive journalists marveled at the resulting ability to travel for hours at 200 km/h (124 mph) in comfort.

In 1972 Motorsport (U.K.) noted ..."that rare quality of being a nice car to be in at any speed, from stationary to maximum."

The touring range based on the SM's fuel economy and the large 90 l (20 imp gal; 24 US gal) fuel tank made long, fast, relaxing journeys possible.[14]

Because the SM had a smaller 130 kW (174 hp) engine than competitors, the acceleration was adequate rather than exemplary – some competitors were quicker. Some owners have fitted the similar sized 160 kW (215 hp) Maserati Merak SS engine, which does improve the driving experience considerably.

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