DS 9 Loads up on PHEV Performance

DS Automobiles proves its new range-topping executive cruiser is not just an elegant looker thanks to a plug-in hybrid powertrain boasting up to 357bhp.

PSA’s premium brand remains committed to PHEV for its high powered long-range products believing the executive business user it is targeting is not yet ready for the limitations of a pure BEV powertrain. So the new DS 9 boasts a new E-Tense PHEV powertrain comprising a PureTech turbocharged gasoline engine with an electric motor claiming the ability of going up to 33-34 miles on the WLTP rating in all electric mode courtesy of an 11.9kWh battery.

Coupled with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, the electric motor alone can deploy maximum power of 107bhp and torque of 236ft-lbs. It is used for driving off from a standstill, boosting acceleration at any speed and for driving in zero emissions mode up to 84mph. Electric mode is always automatically selected on start-up for maximum efficiency.

It is complemented by a Hybrid mode, designed to automatically control the different types of energy by driving 100% electric, 100% ICE or combining the two if the situation requires it. A Sport mode gets the most out of the available power from the combined application of the combustion engine and electric motor by adjusting the mapping of the accelerator pedal, gearbox, steering and active suspension.

DS 9 use an energy recovery system that re-charges the battery in deceleration or brake phases, amplified with an enhanced braking function selected by pulling back the gear selector and displayed as ‘B’. In addition, an E-Save function guarantees there’s always selected levels of battery-stored energy to do chosen parts of the journey in Zero Emissions mode, for example when the driver knows they will be going into low emission zones or town centers. The 7.4kW on-board charger enables the battery to be charged in 90 minutes from home or public charging points using the cable supplied as standard.

The model line-up will come with the choice of two E-Tense power units, the first with 223bhp, two-wheel drive, and the second with a 357bhp unit boasting an intelligent four-wheel drive capability. A 223hp PureTech all gasoline engine model will also be available.

The car features the automaker’s latest generation DS Drive Assist suite with Level 2 semi-autonomous driving. The system uses multiple sensors to position the car in its lane depending on where the driver decides by it controlling the steering trajectory. Usable up to 110mph, depending on local regulations, it controls speed and direction under the driver’s supervision. Among other things it will control driving in traffic jams: the car will restart automatically if it’s stopped for less than three seconds. If it’s stopped for longer, simply pressing a button or the accelerator pedal will restart DS 9.

DS claims the on-board camera recognizes broken and continuous lines. If the driver wishes to re-take control of the steering, taking a firm hold of the steering wheel will override the system. It is also interrupted if the indicators are used for lane changes. The system can be activated from 18mph.

To aid safety in autonomous mode, the car’s driver monitoring system uses an infrared camera mounted above the steering wheel backed up by a camera at the top of the windscreen. These continually watch the drivers eyes for signs of fatigue, such as blinking, where they’re looking and head movements for indicating distraction, as well as the trajectory of the car over lines in the road, particularly wandering or steering movements by the driver. When activating it will automatically sound an audible alert while a warning will appear on the central screen, day or night. DS 9 is available to order now in Europe with prices starting from around $56,159 taxes paid.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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