The DS9 is intended to embody the premium claim of the DS brand. He not only relies on the historical relationship to the legendary “goddess”, he also wants to score with extravagance. It would have been better, however, to have invested in the electric range of the plug-in hybrid.
Especially in social media, people like to present themselves as unmistakable, or at least as special individuals. The economy has long recognized this and has tried to give its products a similarly unique look. Curiously, this means that car advertising, for example, is more confusing than it may have ever been before. For example, when hip, young and definitely diverse small groups glide through the cool inner cities of the future in stylish electric cars.
It is difficult, however, when the task is set to turn actual mass-produced goods into more expensive, noble versions that can be sold, as some car manufacturers are now trying to do with various sub-brands. At Stellantis, DS takes on this role and wants to make people forget that they also fall back on the kits and drivetrains of less glamorous brands such as Peugeot or Citroën.
Essentially identical to cheap products
But if the core of an expensive automobile is ultimately completely identical to cheaper products, all that remains is to stand out from the bourgeois sister brands in terms of design, comfort or, in the best case, processing quality. The DS9 as the top model of the still young premium brand should, according to logic, achieve this best.
The 4.93 meter long sedan wants to shine with the usual business class insignia and has dressed in a classic notchback shape. With its large diamond grille, which is customary for the brand, the five-door model stands out on the road, especially when compared to serious – one could also say boring – competitors such as BMW 5 Series or Audi A6.
Especially since a clip runs in the middle of the bonnet, which ends just before the radiator grille with a colored brand emblem. But honestly? That’s just too much bling. Although the Chinese like it where the DS9 is built. And if you have forgotten that the brand was named after the incomparable Citroën DS, the position lights on the C-pillar will remind you of the “goddess” who made her debut in 1955. A throwback of the nicer kind.
If you disregard these design games, the DS9, standing on 19-inch wheels, cannot deny its relationship to the somewhat shorter corporate brother 508, which is based on the same EMP2 platform. After all, there is plenty of space, a lot at the front, a lot at the rear and with 510 liters the trunk is also big enough.
Windows in the center console
More problematic, however, is the operation, which poses some puzzles for new drivers. For example, one can hardly understand why the DS9 allows itself the still superfluous extravagance of moving the four window regulators into the center console. Sure, the front passenger also has access to all four windows, but in the end it is a waste of space and not very ergonomic. Because there are no switches in the bare driver’s door, not even for the electric exterior mirror adjustment.
The switches in the center console – including one for the central locking system, for example – are simply out of place there and, because they are elegantly trimmed, very difficult to read. It’s also hard to forgive that you can’t even buy a head-up display in the DS9 for an extra charge. As is often the case with PSA products, the DS9 also complained that the start button was not very sensitive to touch. The digital instruments are modern but conventional. Here, too, the driver looks at a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and in the middle of a 12-inch touchscreen.
40 kilometers purely electric
In terms of drive, the DS9 is modern and, as a plug-in hybrid (E-Tense 225), is also suitable for long journeys. In total, 225 hp are available, which the 1.6-liter turbo with 180 hp and an electric motor with 110 hp together provide. The plug-in hybrid has a rather small battery on board with 11.9 kWh, but it should roll almost 50 kilometers, which of course it does not. Cautiously you can manage 35, at most 40 kilometers.
You have to reload diligently if you want to save the ecological balance and say goodbye to the subsidy from next year, because it then requires at least 60 kilometers of purely electric range. Incidentally, those who do not charge the battery regularly and only rely on the small gasoline engine will be punished with consumption of over 8 liters not only because of the high vehicle weight.
If the battery is full, the plug-in hybrid does its job better than the solo gasoline engine, because the electric support provides more torque, especially in the lower speed range. The downside: To create space, the tank is 18 liters smaller than that of the internal combustion engine. The 42 liters available in this way are clearly too little for such a sedan.
Difficult situation in Germany
If the battery is full, the driving performance is also satisfactory. The DS9 goes to 100 km / h in 8.7 seconds. Up to 240 km / h is possible, but is not really fun in such a car. The Frenchman from China is a glider, tuned very comfortably and only has its problems with short transverse grooves. The Rivoli version also includes the camera-controlled active suspension system (Active Scan), which detects uneven road surfaces in advance and presets the shock absorbers accordingly. This is reminiscent of the suspension comfort of a DS, which was outstanding for the conditions at the time. In the basic version, Performance Line, the system costs 1,100 euros extra.
So here the DS9 lives up to expectations, not at all elsewhere. But maybe one shouldn’t compare the model with its Teutonic rivals either. The limousine wants to set its own accents and no great prophetic art is required to predict a difficult situation for it in Germany. In France, on the other hand, it is likely to find its customers as the top domestic luxury model in its class.