A NEW flagship model has been launched into the DS range bringing Parisian flair and chic to a segment that is generally dominated by German manufacturers.
The DS 9 is a stylish four-door saloon with plenty of panache inside and out. And with plug-in hybrid technology, which the French car maker calls E-Tense, it brings added appeal to the mix.
At launch there are two power options available - a 225hp petrol unit or a 225hp petrol-hybrid option. Customers can also choose between Performance Line+ or Rivoli+ trim levels, both of which are generously equipped.
We opted for the DS 9 with plug-in hybrid technology and that meant the combination of a 1.6-litre petrol engine working in tandem with a 110hp electric motor.
Costing £49,200 (£53,015 with options) this model in high-end Rivoli+ trim could complete the 0-62mph dash in 8.3 seconds, topped out at 149mph and delivered combined fuel efficiency of 176mpg with carbon emissions of 34g/km.
Obviously, the official fuel figure would only be achievable if the car was driven for extended periods of time in EV-only mode, which is limited to approximately 34 miles between charges, depending on the driving style. But with its low CO2 figure it would make very good sense for the business driver who would reap financial gains through taxes.
And there's no denying the DS 9 is a head-turner. It oozes style but not in a garish way with sleek streamlining, chrome DS wings, dark tinted rear windows, flush fitting door handles, a 3D-effect grille, E-TENSE badging on the bonnet and an E-TENSE monogram on the tailgate, gloss black door mirrors, DS Active LED Vision headlights that follow the direction the steering wheel is turned and 19-inch Versailles alloy wheels.
Moving inside the interior is pure quality and elegance throughout with fine leather seats that are power-operated, can be heated and offer a massage function for added comfort.
There is a real sense of premium styling and creature comforts are plentiful too with the likes of a 12-inch high definition touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 14-speaker sound system (£990 option), Mirror Screen for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, DAB radio, voice recognition and plenty more besides.
When it comes to performance, the DS 9 is beautifully refined with the petrol-hybrid technology working seamlessly together in the background to deliver the best driving experience.
The acceleration out of the blocks is good and this car cruises effortlessly eating up the motorway miles. It does feel quite large in busier town centres, but the DS Park Pilot, costing an extra £700, introduces automatic parking.
Drive modes called Electric, Comfort, Hybrid and Sport alter the reactions of the car and the eight-speed automatic transmission is well timed with steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement.
There is a real emphasis on comfort within the DS 9 and refinement levels also impress with excellent insulation protecting occupants from engine, road surface and wind noise, while the efficient suspension set-up smooths out bumps and dips along the way. It does get a little more aggressive in Sport mode, but it's nice to be able to switch across to Comfort for a more relaxed experience.
The DS 9 is a large family saloon stretching 4.9 metres in length and 1.8 metres across so with those dimensions there is plenty of space for back seat passengers to stretch out and bags of storage room too.
The boot can swallow 510 litres of luggage and the rear seats can be lowered to increase the storage capacity even further. Elsewhere there is a glovebox, central cubby bin, front and rear cup holders, seat back nets and door pockets.
The car's 11.2kWh battery is stored beneath the rear seats and can be charged from 0 to 100 per cent in one hour, 45 minutes from a domestic 7kW wallbox.
Although the car is yet to be tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, it boasts a wealth of safety features and driver assistance aids. These include an extended emergency braking system, blind spot detection, lane keep assist, cruise control with speed limiter, a full suite of airbags, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition and a DS Connect box emergency and assistance system.
All in all, the DS 9 is a welcome newcomer to the bustling executive saloon sector bringing with it luxurious styling and comfort, impressive handling and a competitive price-tag too.
225hp, 1,598cc, 4-cylinder, petrol-electric motor combination driving all for wheels via 8-speed automatic transmission
176 (EV Range 34 miles)
3yrs/60,000 miles (battery 8yrs/100,000 miles)