It was something of a promise. Back then, at the start of the advertising campaign for the new DS brand. The noble daughter from the PSA association at the time saw herself as a pioneer, a pacemaker, pioneer, and innovator. Always looking for something higher – never just following the road. And then she even overtook the goddess …
Such arrogance usually has consequences – but in special cases, the French did not have to fear holy anger. It is her goddess, after all. “La Déesse”. That icon on wheels that threw the world of cars into a tumble 66 years ago and, next to the usual cars, suddenly looked as if they were at least yesterday.
Once introduced as the “Distinctive Series” at Citroën, the now independent brand is now launching its third own model, the DS 9. And it comes closest to the great role model. Not so much optically – but definitely from the standard. Noble at five by two meters can definitely be called a flagship. And a bold project. With just 2773 cars sold in Germany in 2020, competition with the established premium manufacturers is not easy – even if DS attaches great importance to being “profitable”.
You are enthroned surrounded by all kinds of ornaments. Soundproofed, with ventilated and massaging seats on request – knowing that in this case, it would have to be “like the goddess in France”. In the second row, too, there is ample space in front of 510 liters of trunk thanks to the 2.90-meter wheelbase. Anyone who thinks they are at the front likes to sit in the back, as befits their status. And here, too, you can enjoy what DS understands by Premium: Not primarily speed and functionality, but well-groomed progress with great attention to detail and a touch of French finesse.
This ranges from artistically engraved metal to bead embroidery and leather in a watch strap design that is intricately pleated from a single piece. Incidentally, the hides come from Bavarian cows. Flawless because there are neither fences nor mosquitos high up on the mountain pasture. At first glance, everything is just small things, but where – Corona or not – the luxury segment is growing faster than the overall market, the special is possibly a clever strategy.
When it comes to the command post, however, design sometimes takes precedence over function. The start button is not suspected spontaneously in the middle of the touchscreen, and the mirror adjustment is hidden on the left under the steering wheel. Still, they kept their promise at DS. Carefully and with great respect, it is said, one wants to preserve the legacy of the goddess. This applies to design as well as technology. In the headlights, three LED blocks each swivel from their rest position on course – a homage to the high beam of the Déesse that follows the steering angle. The position lights, which are based on the bag indicators on the roof of the time, are also cult.
Under the hood, things are not quite as opulent – yet. In the “E-Tense” plug-in version, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder (180 hp) and an electric motor (110 hp) with a system output of 225 hp are combined for market launch at the end of August. The cooperation between the piston and the winding is inconspicuous and without any further action. The petrol engine only growls a little under full load, but thanks to the eight-stage converter it develops its power nicely and evenly.
Of course, the purely electric drive is smarter. It goes up to a speed of 135 and a maximum of 48 kilometers – but not in combination. If you want to be on the move with a bit of vigor, you should plan with a good 30 for the radius. Dynamics cost distance – all battery driver wisdom. Pleasing: thanks to the standard 7.4 kW onboard charger, the 12 kWh battery on a wall box is full again in a good one and a half hours.
The move away from Citroën by the DS brand is rather cautious when it comes to the chassis. Its second name could be “comfort”. Despite the up to 20-inch wheels. For a surcharge, a camera can even help to capture the hardship of the road and to dampen it in a targeted manner. If you don’t like it so gently, you’d better lock the selector switch to the “Sport” position. Optionally, the DS 9 peers into the dark using the night vision function, maintains its distance, speed, and lane, and parks without any action.
However, Parisian chic always has its price. The pure combustion engine with 225 hp also starts at 47,500 euros, the E-Tense at 52,810 euros. If you want more driving fun and sportiness, a little patience is recommended. At the end of the year, there will not only be a 250 hp DS 9 with a larger battery and more range but above all a 360 hp four-wheel drive model. Lowered, with brakes from racing – but also with a double heart.
For this, DS calls for at least 64,250 euros – but even with the top equipment for 67,000 euros, the vehicle is still fully eligible. And: You don’t have to worry about encountering the “Spirit of Avantgarde” at every second intersection.