The engine range for the DS5 consists of Citroën’s familiar 160bhp and 205bhp 1.6-litre THP petrol units, plus a base 118bhp 1.6-litreHDi diesel, and the more potent 148bhp and 178bhp 2.0-litre oil-burner.
Previously the real star of the show – from a technology viewpoint at least – is the diesel-electric Hybrid4 drivetrain. Citroën’s first full hybrid system combines a 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine to power the front wheels with an electric motor on the back axle. Combined power from the system is 197bhp, and it comes with an automatic six-speed gearbox.
Driven in a relaxed fashion, the system is fairly smooth and willing, with an easy and pleasant gait. But this isn’t the case under hard and medium-hard acceleration; gearchanges become painfully slow and clumsy and the electric motor is simply not powerful or clever enough to cover the yawning interruptions in acceleration as the gearbox changes ratio.
Luckily, there is a lot to like about the DS 5 equipped with the 178bhp 2.0 HDi engine. It hasn't got the flexibility or efficiency of the benchmark diesels currently buoying BMW’s range, but it benefits from a strong, elastic mid-range that allows you to flow along rapidly and without fuss, and works particularly well with PSA's six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.
The proof is in the 30-70mph sprint – a better gauge of performance than the 0-60mph dash for an everyday road car. The DS 5 HDi 180 managed a healthy 8.6sec through the gears, which is not at all bad for a car weighing 1689kg.
Elsewhere in the range, the 1.6 THP engines are fairly brisk, if not very economical, and it’s somehow at odds with the DS 5’s more relaxed positioning. The 1.6 HDi, although decently economical, offers limited performance for a car of the DS 5’s size.