The BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class have, between them, an entire stranglehold on the European giant luxurious automotive market, their mixed gross sales accounting for 71 p.c of the phase within the first quarter of 2022.
The Lexus ES that tops the U.S chart is means down at 1.9 p.c of market share within the European tables, and DS Automobiles’ DS 9 grabs simply 0.4 p.c of patrons. Solely 410 DS 9s had been registered throughout the entire continent within the first 4 months of the yr, and fewer than 750 in China, its solely different main market, and the place the place what’s shaping as much as be a French folly is constructed. Are luxurious drivers lacking a trick, or is the DS 9 actually that unhealthy?
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Refined traces, sturdy particulars
The DS 9 has obtained a little bit of a kicking from European reviewers who criticized it for trying too boring. However within the metallic it’s fairly a good-looking form with a particular face due to the LED lights that revolve to greet you as you stroll in direction of it, elegant flush-fit door handles, and a a lot sportier roofline than its German rivals.
The place issues develop into extra controversial is within the detailing. You’ll both love or hate the central chrome strip that stretches from the bottom of the windshield to the entrance grille, and the unusual snakeskin-like tail lamp design that seems to bleed pink gentle from between the serpenty scales. There’s additionally a refined nod to the unique Citroen DS of 1955 within the small lights mounted on the high of every C-pillar.
Dimension-wise, it comes up barely wanting its German rivals for wheelbase, using on a 2,895 mm (114-inch) platform it shares with the long-wheelbase Chinese language-market Peugeot 508L, however matching the A6 and 5-Collection for total footprint with a toe-to-tail measurement of just below 5 meters (197-inches).
If you happen to like the 9’s barely flamboyant exterior detailing, you’ll most likely love the inside design, which we’ve seen earlier than on different DS automobiles, together with the DS 7 SUV. A revolving BRM clock sits on the high of the sprint, under which lies a large 12.3-inch touchscreen that homes virtually all the automotive’s controls, although there are a minimum of a couple of laborious keys on the base of the show.
It’s a reasonably sluggish system (as is the digital instrument cluster) and it may be irritating having to dive into the display to make easy adjustments to one thing just like the fan velocity when conventional rotary controls would work so significantly better. Dropping all 4 home windows, as you would possibly when returning to a sizzling automotive, can also be a sluggish affair as a result of the switches are mounted both aspect of the highs-set central tunnel. Seems cool, works badly.
One bit of fashion that actually does work although, is the chronograph strap-style leather-based upholstery that replaces the plain inventory upholstery when your order the flamboyant Opera trim pack. Actually the general atmosphere is nice. The DS 9’s inside design could be overcomplicated, nevertheless it actually appears to be like and feels distinctive.
The DS 9’s range structure is extremely easy, a minimum of within the UK, the place patrons get to resolve between the bottom Efficiency Line+, which begins at £48,300 ($57,123) and comes customary with keyless entry, LED lights and 19-inch wheels, and the higher-spec Rivoli+ that prices £51,400 ($60,789) and provides wi-fi charging, managing leather-covered seats and adaptive suspension that reads the street forward of it, a trick Merc pioneered on the S-Class years in the past. If you need the cool watch-strap inside and a beneficiant protecting of cow on the dashboard and door panels, the Opera inside prices one other £3,000 ($3,548).
Solely the Rivoli+ could be ordered with the Opera pack, however each fashions get the selection between E-Tense 250 and E-Tense 4×4 360 drivetrains. Each are plug-in hybrids powered by an electrically assisted model of the turbocharged 1.6-liter Peugeot-Citroen petrol engine hooked as much as an eight-speed automated transmission. However whereas the the front-wheel drive 250 will get a 197 hp (200 PS) engine and single electrical motor for a 247 hp (250 PS) whole, the 360’s 355 hp (360 PS) output comes courtesy of the identical combustion engine and two electrical motors. It’s the second of these motors, mounted on the again axle, that makes the 360 all-wheel drive.
Hope you’re not in a rush
DS quotes a reasonably wholesome 5.6-second zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) time for the recent one, however a much more leisurely 8.1 seconds for the 250. We’re really driving the older 225 that predates it, and which takes 8.3 seconds to do the identical run, however the expertise is broadly the identical. It accelerates fairly rapidly as soon as into its stride, however takes some time to get going, sounds barely strained below load, and infrequently lurches clumsily right into a downchange if you’d moderately it depend on its torque.
And also you do need to depend on the torque, as a result of DS is pitching the DS 9 as a luxurious antidote to sport-obsessed German automobiles. Even with its fancy road-scanning suspension I don’t suppose the 9 rides in addition to a 5-Collection, whose double-wishbone suspension setup has an unbelievable skill to isolate you from street imperfections. Nevertheless it’s actually clean at motorway speeds, and impressively quiet.
Throw the console change into Dynamic mode to vary the dampers up and it does corners too, however once more, it has to provide second greatest to that BMW for enjoyable and agility, and what you acquire in roll-resistance and extra steering heft, you lose in trip consolation.
Economic system and driving vary
Like all PHEVs the DS 9 boasts the sort of mpg and electrical driving vary numbers that make Nineteen Sixties Detroit gross horsepower figures look plausible. Within the case of the E-Tense 250 meaning as much as 256.8 mpg (Imperial, WLTP; equal to 214 mpg U.S.), and 43 miles (69 km) of zero emissions driving. Although pure fantasy, that 43-mile ranking represents a theoretically helpful enchancment over the 33 miles (53 km) quoted for the sooner 225, and comes courtesy of a battery pack enlarged from 11.9 kWh to fifteen.6 kWh. For reference, a BMW 530e is rated at solely 37 miles (50 km) on the WLTP cycle, however you’ll want the DS 9 E-Tense 360 to beat the BMW’s 5.9-second 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time.
Smaller cabin, larger cargo bay than rivals
There’s loads of room up entrance within the DS 9 however a barely smaller wheelbase in contrast with the 5-Collection means it provides away just a little in rear seat area, whereas the sloping roofline sacrifices just a little rear headroom. It’s nonetheless a roomy automotive, and the rear seats additionally recline, until you’ve the therapeutic massage seat possibility fitted.
Associated: Sorry, Wagon Lovers, A DS9 Estate Isn’t Going To Happen
If BMW wins the inside area battle, DS fights again within the cargo conflict. It’s rated at 510 liters (18 cu-ft), which is 30 liters (0.7 cu-ft) lower than a combustion 5-Collection, however the hybrid model’s battery pack placement drops quantity to only 410 liters (14.5 cu-ft). Nevertheless our check DS 9 had the non-compulsory Focal Electra sound system, and the subwoofer on the rear shelf hangs annoyingly low, making it tough to load what’s already a shallow baggage bay.
If you happen to’re a long-time fan of wise, well-executed German four-door luxurious automobiles, you’re unlikely to be persuaded to vary your habits by the DS 9. However in case you’re the sort of purchaser who finds the apparent German decisions with their glorious infotainment programs a bit too, effectively, apparent and glorious, and had been contemplating a Jaguar XF or Volvo S90, then possibly there’s sufficient right here to seize your consideration.
The DS 9 is effectively geared up, quiet, snug and whereas the bottom mannequin is not any supercar relating to acceleration, it’ll be virtually as uncommon a sight. Perhaps it’s a automotive that may develop on you over time. Whether it is, we’ll discover out. I’m now working this one for Automobile Journal’s long run check fleet and shall be posting some updates on Carscoops that dig into what it’s wish to reside with a DS 9. Obtained something you need to learn about it? Drop a remark under.