What is it?
Ostensibly, a saloon version of the Citroën DS5. Like its hatchback sibling, it’s manufactured at the CAPSA joint-venture factory in Shenzen, China, with the aim of giving Citroën a more premium car with which to battle German rivals.
While it has smart lines accentuated by plenty of chrome, including a strip following the roofline, it remains very conventional looking – although interestingly only DS logos are shown on the LS (which stands for Luxury Saloon) with no Citroën badge.
Interior changes include the infotainment system, which is upgraded to a touchscreen system, with the redundant space below replaced by a storage bin incorporating a drinks holder.
The centre console lacks the swooping drama of the original car, and while the steering wheel and dashboard are carried over from the standard DS5, the head-up display is not.
What's it like?
Premium cars in China usually get stretched. There are long wheelbase versions of the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series, and even the humble Skoda Yeti gets a bigger foot.
Citroën, however, totally misses a trick here. One of the main criticisms of the original DS5 is the lack of rear space. Although the DS5 LS is longer than the regular car, it in fact has a 12mm shorter wheelbase. Rear knee space is barely adequate and despite the deletion of the DS5's panoramic sunroof the same goes for rear headroom.
Diesel engines aren't received well in China, and hybrids struggle to gain sales. Power therefore comes from a choice of either a naturally aspirated 1.8-litre petrol or the PSA/BMW Prince series 1.6-litre turbos. For driving around Shanghai the 161bhp turbo unit is more than adequate, providing urgent acceleration when needed.
The six-speed automatic transmission has a sport mode but it adds little. A manual mode is selectable, but there’s no paddle shift option.
The steering feel is on the light side but provides positive feedback, while the ride appears to have been softened for China and soaks up rough road surfaces well. Cornering has also been improved, and this stretched DS5 seems more composed than the original.
Although the upgraded technology inside the DS5 LS usually functions well, at one point on our test route the satnav stopped working and we needed to restart the car a few times to get it responding again.
Should I buy one?
Ultimately the LS sucks out the quirkiness that gives the DS5 its je ne sais quoi. While it is not bad, it shouldn’t really be called a DS5 – it is not simply a saloon version of the hatchback but a different car.
In China it is in fact positioned lower than the hatchback and is suitably conventional (read boring) to appeal to the target customer. No doubt this will be a trend for manufacturers as they make world cars to appeal to Chinese consumers.