CITROEN has always been guaranteed to provide a spark of individuality. And now the French giant has hived off DS to become a separate prestige brand there's even more scope to explore innovative design.
The first model out of the blocks was the DS 5 which remains the range flagship. With new grille - with DS badge rather than the famous chevron - and redesigned headlights which incorporate LED running lights, it is distinctively styled though familiar looking.
Engine options kick off with the BlueHDi 120, but it's asking a lot of the unit to haul a car of this size, so possibly the best bet is the 2.0-litre 150bhp which has both better outright acceleration and, more significantly, more high-gear grunt for quick overtaking.
Despite the increased power, the turbo diesel engine is only marginally less economical with an official combined average of 68.9mpg, which in real-life terms measures up to a genuine 48-50mpg in normal running. Emissions of just 105g/km mean it is also cheap to tax.
With the 150ps engine - 147bhp in other words - the DS 5 is comfortable pacey rather than quick.
Top speed is 127mph and the 62mph sprint is covered in 10.6 seconds. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with long legged ratios which help to make cruising relaxed and refined.
The neat, leather covered steering wheel with height and reach adjustment emphasises the sporty character. Steering, itself, is relatively high geared allowing plenty of feel with a welcome directness.
Most potential buyers will be lured towards the DS more for its striking style than its practical nature. The cabin is more like a fighter jet cockpit than a family hatchback with its split glass panoramic glass roof and array of switchgear on the central console.
There is, however, a shortage of flat surface on which to put things when stationery and the rear visibility isn't that good because the spoiler runs across the back screen.
A large seven-inch infotainment screen dominates the dash and includes a standard sat-nav system. There's no doubt the interior has a premium feel about it with solid switches and big comfortable front seats that have ample adjustment...a necessary impression to enable the DS to combat stiff opposition from Audi, BMW and Mercedes that dominate the sector.
Space in the front is more than adequate if snug and driver orientated with ample leg and shoulder room. Those in the back seats are less well catered for with slightly restricted legroom by the class average. Headroom is plentiful for anyone below six-feet tall. Boot space is a reasonable 465-litres which measures up well to the opposition.
Bearing in mind the DS has a sporty nature, the ride is comfortable if firm over most surfaces with roll angles being kept to a low level.
Serious pot holes and ruts can disturb its composure and pass on jolts to the passengers but the research and development engineers have done a good job in improving the model's general comfort.