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DS 9 E-TENSE Plug-in Hybrid unveiled

Once upon a time, large French saloons from the likes of Citroën and Peugeot offered a left-field alternative to the traditional luxo-barges from Germany. Having fallen out of favour since the mid-noughties, the DS 9 E-TENSE looks to be bringing French opulence back to the market along with zero emissions capability.  

Until now, the DS 9 has only been available in China – famous for its love of large saloons. However, it is now going on sale here.  

It’s a welcome addition to the market – if a bit of a niche one – given the seemingly never-ending trend for carmakers to equate luxury with SUVs. However, DS is a comparatively left-field manufacturer by today’s standards, so launching a low volume D-segment saloon that will go head-to-head with the likes of the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF makes sense. 

What’s more, of those main rivals, only BMW and Audi offer a PHEV version of their large, premium saloons. In that sense, the DS 9 is part of a fairly rare breed of cars.

Design and styling 

Based on DS’s EMP2 architecture in a long wheelbase form, the DS 9 is no shrinking violet, measuring 4.93 metres long and 1.9 metres wide. It has DS’s signature front-end, with the 3D diamond-effect grille, daytime running lights and headlights all familiar against the brand’s other larger cars. On the bonnet there’s a ‘Clous de Paris’ sabre – the first time it has been used outside of the cockpit of a DS model.  

The DS 9 cuts a sleek pose, largely thanks to the heavily raked rear end. As a nod to the original Citroën DS from 1955, the C pillars have a modern interpretation of the ‘DS Cornets’ on their outer edges, which now house signature taillights. Despite retro throwbacks, the DS 9 is every inch a modern, good looking saloon.  

Powertrain 

DS is offering the DS 9 in PHEV E-TENSE form, with up to 360hp in its highest state of tune. The bulk seller, however, will be the E-TENSE 225 which is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged PureTech engine, good for 177bhp, supplemented by a 107bhp electric motor for a total system power of 221bhp. This power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed gearbox. If you opt for the 355bhp version, power is sent to all four wheels enabling the DS 9 to keep up with the aforementioned German rivals.  

Providing storage for electrical power is an 11.9kWh battery pack which offers 33-34 miles of range on the WLTP test. In Electric mode, the DS 9 can reach 84mph, though most people will likely use the car in hybrid mode, most of the time. Sport mode enables the full power of the petrol and electric motors to be deployed, as well as sharpening up the control responses and active suspension. E-save ensures a pre-set level of charge is maintained. 

Charging using a wall box and the 7.4kW on-board charger takes just 90 minutes.  

High levels of comfort and equipment 

Something we’ve grown used to with cars from DS is comfort and shed loads of standard kit. Using the DS Lounge concept, the interior of the DS 9 comes swathed in quality materials, such as Nappa leather, and hand stitched elements for that additional level of luxury. The 2.9 metre wheelbase offers loads of rear seat space and – in a first-in-class move – the rear passengers can have heated, cooled, and massaging seats.  

DS Inspirations is a new personalisation scheme, through which buyers can customise their DS 9 based on themes that take their inspiration from famous quarters of Paris. Details such as the crystal-shaped, touch-sensitive controls, stitching and watchstrap design of the upholstery – complemented by a B.R.M timepiece on the dashboard, should make the interior stand out compared to rivals. 

Keeping everyone inside comfortable is DS’s Active Scan suspension, which scans the road surface and pre-loads the suspension to compensate for imperfections. DS Drive Assist offers Level 2 semi-autonomous driving at up to 110mph through lane assist and adaptive cruise control with stop/start functionality. DS Night Vision, Driver Attention Monitoring and Active LED Vision headlights are also optional.  

Price and availability 

The DS 9 is available to order straight away and the Performance Line + E-TENSE 225 starts at £46,100. The high-spec Rivoli + version comes in at £49,200. There’s no word on how much the more powerful version will be, but we will report back when pricing is announced.  

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