7

Stellantis’s Parisian luxury brand goes hunting for the legacy of an automotive icon

DS Automobiles has now been a brand in its own right for almost seven years. In its fairly short life, it has experimented with high-end superminis, high-fashion crossover hatchbacks, jacked-up designer shooting brakes and upmarket SUVs. But it has resisted the urge to introduce the kind of model you might have expected its renaissance to open with – until now. 

It’s with all due reverence to Citroën’s iconic DS19 of 1955, then, that the premium French marque whose existence owes so much to that car finally risks another big luxury saloon.

Active LED Vision headlights are standard. With motorised swivelling modules, they have separate dip settings for urban, extra-urban and motorway driving (switching according to your speed), and for bad weather

The DS 9 may have been a long time coming, but it has been a part of its maker’s model strategy since 2015. It is significant not only as a flagship – a symbol of the most advanced technology that DS can muster and the height of desirability that it can reach – but also because it is the first DS model to be produced in China for all global markets. As a top-of-the-range French luxury car built many thousands of miles away in Shenzen, the 9 might just raise an eyebrow or two in France’s protectionist quarters.

After an initial motor show debut that was planned to take place as long ago as April 2019 was delayed by the fallout of the merger of the PSA and FCA groups, and delayed again by the global pandemic, the 9’s arrival in UK showrooms was then beset by semiconductor-related supply problems last year.

Advertisement
Back to top

However, having officially gone on sale in the UK in April 2021, this enigmatic and alternative luxury car is now finally appearing on our roads, bringing with it some technologies every bit as eye-catching as its brightwork. Read on to find out what they amount to.

The DS 9 range at a glance

For the moment, the UK model range for the DS 9 comprises two plug-in hybrids and one entry-level petrol. A third PHEV with a larger drive battery, recently announced for other markets, has yet to be confirmed for UK showrooms.

A simple two-tier trim line-up is offered, with upper-level Rivoli Plus models getting leather upholstery, ‘polyambient’ cabin lighting, cabin air filtering, massaging front seats, ‘surround view’ parking cameras and the full suite of DS Drive Assist active driver aids as standard.

DS 9 First drives