At its online launch, the reason behind the brand swerving an EV option was put down to it wanting to play to its customer base and offer a ‘half-way’ solution. In the case of the DS 4, which is based on Stellantis’ (formerly PSA Group) EMP2 multi-fuel platform, the E-TENSE version comes with a familiar PHEV powertrain which we have previously seen in the DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE 225.
DS claims that the platform has been evolved for the 4 is made up of 70 per cent new or exclusive parts, enabling designers to save weight and space.
Fitting the E-TENSE 225 powertrain into the C-segment DS 4 should make it a stout performer; with 222bhp and 265.5lb-ft it is a significant uplift compared to Citroën’s most powerful C4 which maxes out at 153bhp.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 179bhp which works in tandem with a 108bhp electric motor to produce that total system power of 222bhp. This is sent through the front wheels via an ë -EAT8 eight-speed automatic gearbox. Battery capacity is 12.4kWh and DS reckons that 30 miles is a real-world possibility on electric power.
At the launch event, the brand’s spokespeople didn’t rule out a fully electric version in future. Don’t hold your breath though as it may be more than a year away – if it happens at all.
In the C-segment hatch area of the market, the DS 4 cuts a striking pose. At 4.4 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and 1.47 metres tall, it is a comparatively square footprint, whilst the height puts it in a hinterland between hatch and small SUV.
Up front, DS Matrix LED vision lighting is a big part of this, ensuring the car sits comfortably with the DS 3 and DS 7 it shares a stable with. The so-called DS Wings link the headlights to the grille, which is made of two parts with diamond motifs, giving the grille a real three-dimensional look. Side-on, the DS 4 has a certain sense of purpose thanks to a long bonnet and a sharply raked rear window, highlighted by a thick C-pillar, and a short rear overhang. It’s a nice looking car.
Aside from the standard car, DS is also offering a DS 4 CROSS version, which uses black paint tones on the window surrounds and grille, as well as new alloys and roof bars, to make the car appear more SUV-like. It even gets traction control with off-road settings and hill descent assist. At the other end of the spectrum the DS 4 PERFORMANCE LINE uses an exterior colour pack to make the most of the car’s athletic stance.
As you’d expect from DS, there’s a high level of standard equipment and a focus on comfort. Depending on the interior option selected, buyers can expect lots of leather, Alcantara, carbon, wood and enough high-density foam in the seats to cosset them over even the longest of journeys. Cooling and massaging seats are optional.
The DS 4 gets lots of tech, too. There’s a 10 inch, dash-mounted touchscreen, a digital instrument binnacle and augmented reality head-up display as standard equipment, as well as a centrally mounted, 5 inch DS SMART TOUCH touchscreen beside the gear selector. This essentially acts as a remote control for various functions which are augmented onto the central screen – including gesture and fingertip control for mapping, and even handwriting recognition. It can probably turn up the volume on the 690 watt FOCAL ELECTRA, 14-speaker sound system as well. For those who don’t want to use their hands, voice control is available.
Driving assistance comes in the form of DS DRIVE ASSIST 2.0, which offers level 2 autonomy, allowing for not only smart cruise but also semi-automatic overtaking, speed adjustment for corners and anticipated speed recommendations from signposts.
DS ACTIVE SCAN suspension, which scans ahead for imperfections in the road and pre-loads the suspension to suit, keeps things even more comfortable on board. Night time safety can be enhanced with a night vision option, which uses an infrared camera to spot pedestrians, animals and other hazards up to 200 metres away.
DS hasn’t revealed the price for the DS 4, but our estimate for the plug-in E-TENSE version is around £40,000. It will be available to buy in the autumn this year.