Motors with Tony Conlon - Definitely worth a look at the dashing DS

A RECENT drive to Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge for the launch of DS Automobiles’ new DS 4 brought back fond memories.

It was in the Ever Ready Garage in Donnybrook that I first clapped eyes on my first DS model. Driven in the past by the rich and famous, including presidents and archbishops, the luxury French car was considered back then as being a car ahead of its time.

It oozed style and technological advancements, especially from an underpinning viewpoint.

On the beautiful autumn evening in the County Cavan lakeside town, Gowan Distributors (DS Automobiles’ importer in Ireland) invited motoring writers to drive the stunning-looking new DS 4, a crossover with its DNA harking back to the original of the species.

While the DS 4 is the latest model in the DS Automobiles line-up, it’s already an award-winner, having nabbed the title of the Most Beautiful Car of 2022 at the 37th Festival Automobile earlier this year.

Inspired by the DS Aero Sport Lounge concept, the silhouette of the DS 4 is unique in its market segment. The car features a benchmark width of 1.83 metres and large 720-millimetre wheels (alloys up to 20 inches, 19 inches as standard from Performance Line and Trocadero grades in the range). It has a length of 4.40 metres and a height of 1.47 metres.

A new light signature dominates the front. The very slim projector headlamps feature the DS Matrix LED Vision system that combines matrix and directional lighting. They are further complemented by daytime running lights, made up of two lines of LEDs on either side (the whole system comprises 150 LEDs).

With flush fitting door handles, the car’s roof stretches down on a steeply sloping rear window, the rear wings reveal a muscular appearance with curves and sharp edges while the C-pillar, which has a gloss black finish, is branded with an inset DS Automobiles badge.

The boot features 430 litres of space with hands-free opening and a powered tailgate.

However, the beautiful design does not stop at the exterior of DS 4. Inside, the French master upholsterers have showcased their expertise: premium touches are evident, such as hand-made watchstrap upholstery on high density foam seats in Nappa leather (depending on grade) which feature hidden seams.

The feeling of harmony inside is emphasised by ambient lighting which can be personalised, and a 690-Watt Focal Electra sound system which has 14 speakers. The DS 4’s acoustic side glass front and rear is another first in the segment.

Based on the EMP2 platform, the plug-in hybrid version I drove, the DS 4 E-Tense 225, inherits many findings from DS Performance with its four Formula E championship titles.

This car is both high performing (360Nm of torque) and efficient (1.3 litres/100km). Going by the book and driving mostly on electric, this power unit features a 4-cylinder 180hp 1.6 PureTech engine and a 110hp electric motor with a 12.4kWh battery which has a zero emissions range of up to 55km (on the WLTP combined cycle).

A 1.2 PureTech 130 automatic petrol engine, plus a 1.5 BlueHDi 130 automatic diesel are also on offer. Quoted fuel consumption figures vary from 4.8 litres/100km for diesel and 5.9 litres/100km for petrol.

The new DS features a unique head-up display where vital driving information is projected directly onto the road. Using an optical illusion, data is displayed four metres ahead of the windscreen diagonally following the driver’s gaze at 21 inches, something never seen before in this segment.

It also features what’s called the DS Iris System which is controlled by voice and gesture, and Night Vision that can spot pedestrians and animals up to 150 meters away.

Over the short test drive, I found this plug-in hybrid had a very comfortable, nicer suspension/road feel. Called DS Active Scan Suspension and exclusive to the segment, a camera positioned at the top of the windscreen views and anticipates irregularities in the road surface and transmits the data to a computer.

The system controls each of the wheels independently, using the information it receives, and makes the suspension harder or softer, resulting in comfort no matter what road surface you’re driving on.

The new DS is made from 95% reusable materials and 85% recyclable parts. Irish prices for the five grade versions of the DS 4 commence at €37,295 (on the road price, including delivery charges, excluding metallic paint).