Super, charged: DS E-Tense GT concept revealed

Published: 27 February 2016

► All-electric DS E-Tense GT concept revealed
► 0-62mph in 4.5sec; claimed range of 200 miles
► Showcases the DS brand’s design and intents

DS is jumping on the electric luxury bandwagon today with this, the all-electric E-Tense concept, which has been unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show.

It’s a two-seater GT that packs a 380lb ft electric punch and it’s claimed to be capable of 0-62mph in 4.5sec. The company says that the new concept encapsulates ‘the brand’s technological and stylistic vision’.

Sounds pretty potent. What’s underneath that angular exterior?

 A carbonfibre monocoque chassis, with double-wishbone suspension all round. A set of lithium-ion batteries are mounted beneath the floor, to help keep the car’s centre of gravity low, while a flat underbody and carbonfibre diffuser work to cut drag.

Slung inside this carbonfibre structure is an as-yet unspecified electric drivetrain that produces 402hp – no kW or BHP figure is specified – and a stout 380lb ft. DS says the concept is two-wheel drive and we think, based on its proportions and class, it’s safe to assume that it’s the rear wheels that are driven – which should grant it grin-inducing dynamics.

Considering it has a claimed kerb weight of 1800kg, it’s suitably punchy – in part thanks to the fact that its electric drivetrain produces peak torque from 0rpm. DS state that the E-Tense will sprint from 0-62mph in 4.5sec and, if you’ve the room and the charge, that it’ll go on to hit 155mph. 

You’ll be able to cover a relatively sensible distance, though, provided you keep within legal limits and refrain from deploying the E-Tense’s full motive force on a regular basis. DS says that the concept will travel around 223 miles at urban speeds, or around 193 miles on a more mixed cycle.

Michelin’s providing the tyres for this concept and they’re reputedly been specially developed to endure the high torque levels while delivering appropriate stability at higher speeds. They’re 235/35 ZR 20s up front, 305/30 ZR 20s out back. 

DS E-Tense concept

Any other slick features or highlights?

 Like the previous Divine DS concept, the E-Tense has no rear windscreen. The rearwards view is instead provided by a camera, the view from which is displayed on a screen mounted where you’d usually find a rear-view mirror. The E-Tense also features ‘stitched’ daytime running lights and rotating LEDs in its headlights for beam aiming.

Inside you’ll find a blend of luxurious, modern materials and design features. DS says it took the upholsterers 800 hours to design, test and fit the interior – and those dramatic, distinctive dash structures are inspired by ‘parametric design’. The driver gets a modern 12in high-definition display, providing a whole host of instrumentation, while a 10in touchscreen in the centre deals with media and navigation displays.

Other modern touches include a ‘clean cabin’ filtration system that purifies incoming air. There’s also a one-off watch, designed by BRM Chronographes, that’s fitted to the centre console. It’s angled and designed in such a way that you can see it while driving, regardless of whether it’s fitted in its cubbyhole or adorning your wrist. Wrapping up the high-end cabin is a 640W nine-speaker audio system provided by Hi-Fi company Focal.

In the pictures you can spot several other features, including paddle–shifters behind the rear wheels – implying that the DS has a variable regenerative braking system, or perhaps even a user-controllable gearbox. It's also worth noting the conventional door mirrors, air vents, steering wheel that looks like it has room for an airbag and switchgear elements lifted from existing models. Perhaps this isn’t as much of a concept as DS would have you believe.

DS E-Tense concept

So what’s the aim of the E-Tense?

 If there’s one way to help establish your fledgling brand, it’s to do something dramatic. You pull out all the stops, slave away into the dark hours and release something that really drives home what you’re trying to do.

That, it appears, is what the formerly lacklustre, somewhat indistinct and uninteresting DS brand has seemingly done. Realising it needed to take a further step away from the Citroen line-up, in order to become the high-end premium brand it seemingly aspires to be, it’s thrown all its energy into producing this attention-grabbing new concept.

A high-performance electric GT car is certainly one way to do that, particularly given the focus on alternatively powered vehicles at the moment – and the success of relatively young upmarket brands like Tesla.

DS E-Tense concept

Reminds me a lot of the Audi R8 e-tron...

You're not wrong. The R8 e-tron was a nigh-on 1800kg, two-motor, rear-drive electric sports car. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The all-electric R8 produced a similar 378bhp but a higher 604lb ft, and could get from 0-62mph in 4.2sec – which is on a par with the DS. The Audi’s top speed was limited to a lesser 124mph, though.

There are even visual, dimensional and hardware similarities. For example, the R8 didn’t have a rear windscreen – its large battery pack intruded into the rear compartment, obscuring any rearwards view – so it too had a camera-driven digital rear-view mirror.

Mind you, we’re not going to complain about another high-performance electric GT concept. It’s also refreshing to see DS come up with something distinctive, bespoke and coherent. Looks pretty realistic and viable, minor details aside, doesn't it? 

DS E-Tense concept

When can I see it?

DS is displaying the avant-garde E-Tense concept at the 2016 Geneva motor show. It's taken pride of place on the brand's stand alongside the recently revamped DS3 and the DS5.

The concept’s reputedly just a one-off at the moment, though, so don’t expect to be able to place an order for one in the near future.

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

By Lewis Kingston

CAR's online editor. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car