► Range-topping DS saloon
► UK prices start at £44,715
► In UK dealers autumn 2021
DS hopes to interest customers in its flagship 9 saloon with a combination of lower list price and a higher specification than for premium German rivals, the BMW 5-series and Audi A6.
The sporty DS 9 Performance Line+ will be the base trim, with the 225hp Puretech petrol costing £40,615 and the E-tense 225hp plug-in hybrid at £46,100.
For comparison, a petrol Audi A6 TFSi S-Line currently starts at £43,180 and a BMW 520i M Sport is £44,105; move up to plug-in hybrids and the prices climb to £57,985 for the Audi, and £52,325 for the BMW. Read on for more DS spec details.
What kit is standard on a DS 9 then?
Standard Performance Line+ equipment includes:
• 19-inch Monaco alloy wheels
• DS Active LED vision, with swivelling headlamp signature as you approach the car, and automated variable beam intensity and direction depending on your surroundings
• black Alcantara interior, with electric, heated memory front seats
• twin screens, with 12-inch central touchscreen and larger digital driver's display
• wireless 'phone charging, reversing camera, cruise control and blindspot warning system
The plug-in hybrid models will also get DS Active Scan Suspension, where – in Comfort mode – the infrared camera monitors the upcoming topography, so the control system can prime the adjustable dampers to smooth out approaching bumps and potholes.
The other trim level is the more luxurious and tech-packed Rivoli+ spec, where the petrol costs from £44,715 and the 225hp PHEV £49,200. Key features include leather seats with ventilation and massage function, 360˚ surround cameras and Level 2 highway assisted driving, covering lane control and proximity to the car in front.
DS claims you'd need to order an Audi A6 Vorsprung to match the DS 9 Rivoli+'s equipment level, while a 5-series M Sport would forego heated and massage seats, active cruise, wireless charging and 360˚ camera cover.
'We won't be cheaper on monthly rentals'
DS shipped a left-hand drive 9 to its Leicester showroom for an early preview, where Car spoke to UK managing director Jules Tilstone. 'Monthly rental is the [key] price in the marketplace, perhaps more than the on-the-road price. And we'll definitely not be cheaper than the German brands here,' he admitted.
The DS 9's residual values, the determining factor in setting a car's lease price as the depreciation has to be covered over the rental period, are yet to be set. But Tilstone is expecting RVs closer to Volvo's than the pre-eminent German brands', which will lead to higher leasing rates.
Tilstone continued: 'When you're a challenger brand, and you've got someone looking between the beautifully specced DS 9 and another car in its competitor set which is much more modest, then clearly it's a good reason for for someone to choose DS. But it's not going to be a car you choose because the monthly rental is more competitive.'
Jules Tilstone interview: how new DS cars and customer focus will unlock growth
DS 9: the product overview
The 9 is the third DS 'French luxury' model to be introduced after the brand secured its independence from Citroën, following on from the DS 7 Crossback and DS 3 Crossback.
‘Since the launch of new brand DS in 2015, one goal excited our team: being able to offer a large French saloon,’ said DS CEO Béatrice Foucher. ‘Our ambition to embody French luxury expertise in a car led to the arrival of a new benchmark in the premium saloon segment, and this desire to convey French culture through a car is translated today into DS 9.’
It’s big on the outside
There are some nice styling touches on the outside including the theatrical LED headlights upfront, Z-shape DRLs at the front and speckled rear light cluster continue DS’s family look. A nice nod to the car’s (named) heritage are the high-mounted rear lights, just like a 1955 Citroen DS's. But most obvious feature of the DS 9 is its cruise liner size.
At 4930mm long and 1850 wide, the DS 9 runs on 690mm wheels, and is almost identical in size to the current BMW 5 Series. Silhouette-wise it’s what you’d expect from a three-box, executive flagship saloon, but with a rear-raked window bang on trend with the current fastback style. One nice touch is a ‘Clous de Paris’ sabre, adding some detail to the acres of bonnet on show.
It’s clearly based on the Chinese-market version of the Peugeot 508, which has a longer wheelbase than the European version for maximum rear legroom. And that means a standard saloon boot, rather than the 508's life-up tailgate.
It’s original on the inside
If the DS 9 looks PSA-generic from the outside, it’s anything but inside. Both the driver and passenger are enveloped in the same unique style we’ve seen elsewhere in the DS range – although this time things have been turned up to 11. Expect lots of angles, origami-style design cues and everything else covered in Nappa leather.
DS has managed to squeeze in all the safety tech you’d expect from a range-topping saloon, too. The DS 9 comes with autonomous parking, a night vision mode as well as driver attention monitoring. Level 2 autonomous tech is also included.
Hybrid engines to begin with
The DS 9 will debut as a plug-in hybrid with a combined 222bhp. 108bhp of that comes from an 11.9kWh operated electric motor while the rest comes from a turbocharged petrol engine, and it’s all mated to an eight-cog box. The hybrid has a standalone EV range of 34 miles and sole-electric operation is limited to an impressive 84mph – more than enough for UK motorways. CO2 emissions are ratified at 33g/km, while it takes 8.3secs to accelerate from 0-62mph.
After that, there’ll be a 247bhp hybrid longer range, and following that, a 355bhp hybrid with four-wheel drive. DS says there’ll be a 222bhp petrol only version, for those not ready to electrify just yet. This PureTech 225 will crack the 0-62mph benchmark sprint in 8.1secs, and emit 155g/km of CO2. Transmission is via an eight-speed auto 'box.