Its nonconformist approach includes multiple plug-in hybrid options, Chinese assembly, and being French.
Feast your eyes on this forbidden fruit, Americans: French automaker DS is getting ready to debut a luxurious plug-in hybrid sedan at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show—and no, you can’t have it. The mid-size DS squares up against the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class and Audi’s A6, but separates itself from both with its trio of available plug-in hybrid powertrains and French flair.
While a traditional gas-powered model with 225 horsepower will be offered, it is joined by a 225-hp gas-electric plug-in capable of traveling 25 to 31 miles on electric power alone (as estimated by the optimistic European fuel-economy test cycle). A 250-hp version increases that range, while an all-wheel-drive model ups the power output to 360 ponies.
Grab one of the Tesla-like pop-out door handles, which sit flush to the body when not needed, and open one of the DS’s four doors to enter an attractive interior dominated by screens. Nappa leather swathes the dashboard, and Alcantara (faux suede) covers the headliner and roof pillars. Controls on the center console are finished with Clous de Paris guillochage, a signature intricate pattern characteristic of French watchmaking. Like you’d expect from a top luxury car, the seats have heating, ventilation, and massage functions.
Acoustic glass hushes road noise entering the cabin, and an adaptive suspension that scans the road ahead to prepare for imperfections should further help improve NVH. DS says the sedan offers Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capability, employing adaptive cruise control and lane keeping technology to automatically control the vehicle’s speed and steering on well-marked highways. It can even scout a parking spot for you, so long as the vehicle is moving at 18 mph of slower. Press and hold a button on the touchscreen, and Park Pilot will control the acceleration, braking, and steering required to get into and out of whatever suitable spot is found.
For years, there have been talks of DS, or one of its sister brands from PSA Group (so, Citroën or Peugeot) entering the U.S. market. Recently, PSA Group—which is entering a partnership with Fiat Chrysler—announced that Peugeot will lead its return to the U.S. in the next several years. So while DS says its new sedan will be sold “all around the world,” we’re not holding our breath waiting for it to come to the U.S. For those who will receive the DS 9, their sedans will be built in China, and sales will start in the second half of 2020.