Latest DS Sticks with Proven PHEV Power

Citroën’s premium sub-brand DS adds the DS 4 mid-sized hatchback to the family sticking to its strategy of proven plug-in hybrid powertrains rather than full BEV.

It announced this approach to TU-Automotive after the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show asserting that the executive cruiser market is not ready for the current limitations of BEV transport. While not quite an executive cruiser, nonetheless the DS 4 is very much aimed at the premium market.

It is based on a new version of PSA’s EMP2 platform, conceived to accommodate a new generation plug-in hybrid drivetrain without losing passenger and luggage space. A turbocharged 176bhp four-cylinder gasoline engine is paired with a 107bhp equivalent electric motor and an e-EAT8 gearbox. It boasts a more efficient lithium-ion battery with new, more compact and larger capacity cells located behind the deformable beam and it claims a range of more than 30 miles in zero emissions mode on the WLTP combined cycle rating.

Along with the PHEV, the car will also be marketed with ICE options including PureTech 126bhp, 176bhp and 221bhp gasoline versions plus a 126bhp diesel BlueHDi version. All these models will only get the 8-speed automatic gearbox.

To enhance both handling and interior acoustic qualities, the chassis makes use of bond-welding with almost 111-feet of adhesive bead and welding points used on its bodyshell. This should increase rigidity and reduce vibration noise.

Cabin technology includes DS Extended Head-Up Display, claimed to be a first step towards augmented reality where driving information is projected directly onto the road. Using an optical illusion, data is displayed 13-feet ahead of the windscreen diagonally following the driver’s gaze at 21-inches. Information such as speed, driver aids, navigation, warning messages or even played music title or the call information will be projected onto the road.

A 10-inch infotainment system enjoys a new interface with voice and gesture control including a personal assistant. The gesture control system is located on the center console. The user making a gesture towards one of the pre-entered favorite functions is enough to activate them. The screen also identifies normal movements such as zooming in, zooming out and has handwriting recognition.

DS 4 shares the Level 2 semi-autonomous suite seen on DS 3 Crossback, DS 7 Crossback and DS 9 but with a major update in the shape of DS Drive Assist 2.0. The cruise control adapts speed depending on the traffic flow with the ability to stop and restart in traffic jams. The system also ensures precise car positioning in the lane of the driver’s choice.

For DS 4, operation is improved with three new features: semi-automatic overtaking, speed adjustment for corners and anticipated speed recommendations from signposts. The steering wheel features a grip sensor that continually checks if the driver is active because they should always be in control. The new “Radar Corners” enable other functions such as long-distance blind spot monitoring, with a range of 250-feet, and rear traffic warning to avoid a collision with a hazard in the blind spot.

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

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