autoevolution

2021 DS 9 Review

CAR SIZE: mid-size
BODY TYPE: Sedan / Luxury
From 2020, French brand DS is expanding its reach into one more segment of the auto market with the introduction of a new sedan targeted at luxury customers. Called DS 9, the car was unveiled in February 2020.
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To be made in China by local partner by Baoneng and sold globally, the 9 becomes the top of the range DS car, and the first entry of the brand on the executive sedan market. A risky proposition for a name so young in the industry (DS was officially spun off from Citroen in 2009), as the people it targets have very fixed ideas about what they are expecting from their rides. 

Still, the French are betting on a conventional design, a plug-in hybrid powertrain and the latest technologies to get as big a piece of the pie as possible.

1Exterior design & features

Visually, the DS 9 is not at all impressive, at least not as impressive as some of the other cars rolling off the assembly lines run by the French. It doesn’t even look to belong to the same family as the unconventional DS 3, or the imposing DS 5.

That’s probably because the customer who would buy a 3 would probably never go for a 9. So instead of trying to make it fit in the overall design language, the carmaker tried to make the 9 different, but at the same time somehow rooted in the original Citroen DS of 1955. 

The sedan is quite large, measuring 4.93 meters long and 1.85 meters wide. It is built on a new version of the PSA Group’s Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2), which comes with a longer wheelbase. It is the first time this platform is used on a sedan.

The styling, at least as far as the front end is concerned, is the good-old DS design: the brand’s particular wings and the grille is in parametric shape with 3D diamond effect. The hood is adorned by a saber DS calls Clous de Paris, and it mimics the signature found inside. 

The nod to the 1955 DS can be seen on the edges of the two-tone roof, where the carmaker went for cone shapes. The door handles on the other side are in body-colored flush.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

Inside, the DS 9 has been envisioned as a luxo-barge for the wealthy. The long platform on which it was built allows for plenty of space for the passengers, especially at the rear, and only the best of materials were used to dress the hardware fitted inside. 

The seats are heated, cooled and come with a massage function, something DS claims has never been done before in this class. To wrap them, DS used Nappa leather in a watchstrap design, the same material that was deployed on the dashboard. 

There are, of course, several styling options for the interior, each named after quarters in the French capital, and in most cases the materials used are leather and Alcantara.

3Gadgets

All the usual high-tech gizmos available in the industry went into the interior of the DS 9. There is of course the digital instrument cluster, the large central touchscreen, buttons and knobs on the center console and the steering wheel. But these you can find in cars for lower segments as well. 

There are a few things DS brings to the table in the hopes of making the 9 more alluring for the customers it targets. The top of the range trim, for instance, comes with adjustable ambient lighting, touch controls in the shape of crystals, and a Focal Electra sound system that is not that common in the industry.

4Performance

At the core of the new DS 9 lies the plug-in hybrid powertrain the carmaker calls E-Tense. It combines a turbocharged gasoline engine with an electric motor, a 11.9 kWh battery, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The power output of this combination has been rated at 225 hp, with the electric motor capable of 110 hp. The battery can spin the motor and allow the DS 9 to travel in all electric mode for about 31 miles (50 km), at speeds of up to 84 mph (135kph).

Charging the battery of the car is possible thanks to the 7.4kW onboard charger that juices it up, when linked to a home or public charging point, in one and a half hours. 

The powertrain above is available at launch, but two more variants will be added at a later date, with outputs of 250 hp and 360 hp, with this most powerful available as an all-wheel-drive. 

For those not in the market for plug-ins, there will be a single ICE version available, powered by a 225 hp PureTech linked to the same eight-speed automatic transmission.

5Safety

The large DS 9 is packed with safety features, ranging from the mandatory restraint and alert systems, to a wide offer in terms of advanced driving assistance systems. 

For instance, the DS 9 uses a camera to scan the road ahead and, combined with info coming from sensors and accelerometers, readies the suspension to react to road imperfections. 

There are some systems, including a camera capable of detecting broken and continuous lines, meant to make the DS 9 Level 2 autonomous. They help the car keep to its lane at speed of up to 111 mph (180 kph). Parking this large car is made easier thanks to an assistance system, while the attention of the driver while behind the wheel is measured by an attention monitoring system.

6Conclusion

The latest entry on the executive sedan segment goes on sale in the second half of the year. At the time of this writing, the French have not released pricing information.