What is it?
Not even a month ago, we published our in-depth road test of the DS 9, in E-Tense 225 specification. We said it “brings welcome variety back to the market for premium saloons, but the plug-in powertrain offers only lukewarm performance and poor electric range”.
Three weeks later, I’m driving another 9, with 25 extra horses from its petrol engine and four more miles of electric range, thanks to a bigger (13.6kWh) battery. Just what we ordered, then.
Compared with the original E-Tense 225, the E-Tense 250 is no revolution but a welcome improvement nonetheless. It’s £1000 more expensive than the 225 but, thanks to those four miles of extra range, falls into a lower benefit-in-kind tax band (12% instead of 14%). So for most company car drivers, those savings will cancel out the price premium.
In short, the 250 is an upgrade that will be hard to pass up. Indeed, DS reckons few buyers will. The 250 is set to go on sale in April as a mid-range option, but the E-Tense 225 will be phased out in the autumn.
Mind you, while the upgrade is good value, the 9 is still not brilliant value compared with its intended rivals. The E-Tense 250 Performance Line+ starts at £47,100 – roughly the same as the Mercedes-Benz E300e and only a little bit cheaper than the BMW 530e. However, it doesn’t have as much power or space and, crucially, doesn’t enjoy the well-known badge (and associated resale value) of those cars.