Currently reading: Why DS X E-Tense isn’t another ‘boring’ concept car
X E-Tense mixes Formula E running gear with a distinctive, asymmetric body

The DS X E-Tense concept car, unveiled late last year, is the French firm’s vision of what motoring will look like in 2035 – with DS design chief Thierry Metroz calling it a direct response to “boring” concepts from other firms. 

The three-seat concept, built largely on the running gear of a DS Formula E car, features a highly unusual asymmetric design, which was inspired by a sidecar motorcycle. It features an open-top driver’s seat that echoes a single-seater cockpit combined with a spacious covered passenger pod designed for relaxation. 


Powered by two Formula E electric motors that combine to make 536bhp – and 1341bhp in circuit mode – the concept previews a machine with autonomous capabilities, allowing the owner to choose between an intense driving experience or being driven in comfort. 

Metroz said the X E-Tense aims to show how the firm can marry autonomy with driving experience. “When I look at electric and autonomous concepts from other brands, I am really afraid,” he told Autocar. “They all use the same design philosophy: they are white and look like something between a washing machine and a phone box. There is no soul or emotion. It’s really very boring. 


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“That’s not our philosophy. We are sure that in the future, even if we do an autonomous car, customers will still want emotion and adrenalin, and to own a beautiful object with a lot of character.” 

The X E-Tense uses the basic frame of the Formula E car, with the motors at the front and the battery at the rear. That allows it to be lower than most ‘chocolate bar’ electric cars with batteries in the floor, which, Metroz said, was needed for the “slim sports car concept”. 

The car also features some other innovative design features, including an LED ‘light veil’ instead of headlights, and a 3D-printed grille.

Q&A - Thierry Metroz, DS design director

Where did the inspiration come from? 

“The first vision was to translate the concept of a sidecar. You have the driver’s side dedicated to pleasure and sensation, which is open to your surroundings, and the other part of a luxury cocoon.” 


How challenging was an asymmetric car to design? 

“Very. The original plan was to have an asymmetric wheelbase, but when we discussed it with DS Performance, they went: ‘Are you sure?’ Because this is a real car. For safety, it was better to have the same wheelbase.” 

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Would you ever offer an asymmetric car for sale? 

“It’s difficult to do for production, particularly because in some parts of the world, the steering wheel is on the other side.”

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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streaky 2 January 2019

Calling the kettle boring - sorry, black

"There is no soul or emotion. It’s really very boring. We are sure that in the future, even if we do an autonomous car, customers will still want emotion and adrenalin, and to own a beautiful object with a lot of character.” 

Hmm - when exactly is DS going to deliver on all this?  They've had a few attempts with production cars which so far have failed utterly.  Monsieur Metroz's accusations of rivals being boring verges on abject hypocrisy!!!

The Colonel 2 January 2019

All the Fun of the Fair

So what DS have built there is a Formula E event joyride car.  Yes?  For €500, each, two lucky punters can spend 10 minutes looking at catch fencing at an average speed of 90mph.

Thekrankis 2 January 2019

Better to sort out the current dire DS.....

....otherwise there will be no future cars made by DS.