The DS 9 is DS’ first saloon in decades

25th February 2020
Bob Murray

DS has unveiled its most DS-like car so far, a week before it takes its bow at the Geneva Motor Show. Neither hatchback nor SUV, the new DS 9 is the most conventional car yet from the avant garde arm of the French PSA giant – and the car closest in concept to the classic 1955 Citroën DS “goddess” from which the brand takes its inspiration.


The DS 9 is the brand’s first four-door saloon, in the mould of its famous forebear if not in the same design league – nothing ever could be. It is still a pleasingly handsome machine. There are plenty of cues here – most notably the rear lights in the roof – that suggest the designers were trying to capture a little goddess magic.
“Since the launch of new brand DS in 2015, one goal excited our team: being able to offer a large French saloon,” says Béatrice Foucher, CEO DS Automobiles. “Conceived in France with DS genes and a global purpose, it’s fully aligned with DS lineage.”

Making its world debut in Geneva on 3rd March, the DS 9 is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid that plays up traditional French saloon attributes: comfort, luxury, technology and lots of room. They are qualities that are expected to play especially well in China where the newcomer will be built and where it goes on sale first within the next few months.


The brand’s new flagship model will also be sold in the UK, likely priced against cars such as the Audi A4 and Mercedes C Class but offering accommodation and features of a car a class higher. At more than 4.9m long, the DS 9 is big for a medium-size saloon with what the pictures show to be an acreage of rear-seat room. The group platform that underpins it is the same as that of the Peugeot 508 but has been specially lengthened in the wheelbase for the DS 9 to an Audi A6-like 2.9m.

The 508 is still the DS 9’s closest relative and it shows up in the car’s profile, dominated by the same fastback rear end and stubby tail. We like to think there’s a faint echo of the (very avant garde) Citroën C6 in there too, while of course the whole thing is adorned with signature DS styling cues and expensive “jewellery”: the three-dimensional diamond effect front grille, the “sabre” on the bonnet in an expensive looking guillochage finish, the 3D effect rear lights that DS says recall French coachbuilders of the 1930s. Then there are the cone shaped lights at the outside edges of the roof – just where the goddess had its lights.


DS plays up sophisticated French elegance whenever it can and for its new flagship has gone to town with its “DS Lounge” interior that’s plush in the extreme: the dashboard is trimmed in watchstrap-design Nappa leather, there’s more leather on the door handles, Alcantara covers the roof lining, there are crystal-shaped touch-sensitive buttons, multi-colour welcome lighting and the seats are heated and cooled. They will also give you a massage, what DS says is a first in the class.

That’s just for starters. Four very Parisian-sounding interior themes – Bastille, Rivoli, Performance and Opera – are available to customise the interior with more leather or Alcantara, ‘Pearl Stitching’ on seats, dashboard and door panels, and more of the iconic watchmaking-inspired guillochage finishes on the dashboard. One of them even has a very fancy clock from BRM (the French watchmakers, not British Racing Motors…) at the top of the centre console. Craftsmanship married to hi-tech luxury with a dab of heritage? That’s the aim, along with a back seat as comfortable as the front seats.

Under the skin the DS 9 previews DS’s latest E-Tense electrification technology to join the existing E-Tense DS 3 Crossback and DS 7 Crossback. The 9 isn’t pure electric, like the battery powered DS 3, but a plug-in hybrid that combines petrol power with an electric motor and enough battery power to travel on electric power alone for up to 30 miles – handy when you come to a zero emissions zone. There’s a special switch to ensure the car always has battery power in reserve for when you need to switch to electric-only mode.


Left to its own devices the hybrid juggles petrol and electric power for optimum performance and efficiency appropriate to which of several driving modes available has been selected. The Sport setting should mean the top version of the DS 9 gets a decent move on: it has a combined petrol/electric power of 360PS (355bhp) distributed to all four wheels.

The regular model gets 222bhp with another 109bhp from the electric motor. Other versions will follow including a pure petrol model and a two-wheel-drive hybrid optimised for maximum electric range. All models are equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Semi-autonomous driving features, comfort orientated suspension with cameras that scan the road for bumps, parking pilot and other drive assist features, night vision, driver tiredness monitoring, access using your smartphone, and active LED projector lights all feature. And yes, in Citroën DS tradition those lights do turn to see round corners – as well as doing a great deal more besides with their five different automatically selected modes.

There’s another car on the DS stand at Geneva this year with clever headlights but it’s not the original DS. It is instead a Citroën SM, another great French classic that was unveiled in Geneva 50 years ago. Having it there is a nod to the DNA of DS Automobiles, they say, but really it’s because Citroën like other PSA brands isn’t turning up in Geneva this year.

DS will have the spotlight to itself then – it will be interesting to see if this latterday goddess can blind us with its beauty.

  • DS

  • DS 9

  • Peugeot

  • 508

  • Citroen

  • Geneva 2020

  • Geneva Motor Show

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