DS 9 – France's flagship saloon breaks cover

  • DS unveils its long-awaited range-topping saloon
  • High style interior that's packed with tech
  • Hybrid e-Tense at launch, more powerful versions to follow

DS Automobiles has added a new flagship to its ever-growing fleet – and although it's conservatively styled on the outside, its designer interior means it will to do things very differently to its obvious German rivals.

The new DS 9 is a full-sized flagship that promises moves away from the current SUV-style cars to come out of France's upstart premium brand. DS hopes that it will shame its German with some serious Gallic comfort. It’s not the most innovative car on the outside, but jump in and you’ll find a stylish interior with electrified power under your foot.

But DS's parent company PSA, which also controls Citroen, Peugeot, Vauxhall and Opel, is throwing the kitchen sink at it's flagship saloon. Its rivals include the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. It's a tough market, so the DS needs to cut itself a niche of its own…

It's a full-sized saloon/hatch

DS 9 E-Tense (2020) front view

There are some nice styling touches on the outside including the theatrical LED headlights upfront, Z-shape Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) at the front and speckled rear light cluster continue DS’s family look. A nice nod to the car’s (named) heritage are the high-mounted rear indicators, just like a 1955 Citroen DS. But most obvious feature of the DS 9 is its full-sized footprint.

At 4,930mm long and 1,850mm wide, the DS 9 is almost identical in size to the current BMW 5 Series. Silhouette-wise it’s what you’d expect from a three-box, executive flagship saloon, but with a rear-raked window bang on trend with the current fastback style.

It’s clearly based on the Chinese-market version of the Peugeot 508, which has a longer wheelbase than the European version for maximum rear legroom. What’s not clear from the images is whether it’s a saloon with separate bootlid or a 508-style lift-up tailgate. We suspect the latter, but won’t find out for a little while longer.

It’s original on the inside 

DS 9 E-Tense (2020) interior view

The DS 9 looks stylish and imposing on the outside, but it’s striking and interesting inside – and more than a little familiar to anyone who's sat in a Peugeot 508. Both the driver and passenger are enveloped in a similar way to the rest of the DS range. Expect lots of posh materials, with generous suede and Nappa leather features.

DS has managed to squeeze in all the safety tech you’d expect from a range-topping saloon, too. The DS 9 comes with autonomous parking, a night vision mode as well as driver attention monitoring. Adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist is also included. 

E-Tense hybrids across the board

The DS 9 will debut as a plug-in hybrid with a combined 225hp. Around 110hp of that comes from an 11.9kWh operated electric motor while the rest comes from a turbocharged petrol engine, and it’s all mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid has a standalone EV range of between 25 and 31 miles and is limited to an impressive 84mph – more than enough for UK motorways. 

After that, there’ll be a 250hp hybrid long-range version, and following that, a 360hp hybrid with four-wheel drive. DS says they’ll be a 225hp petrol only version, for those not ready to electrify just yet.  

What this means for you

If you're in the market for a flagship saloon, and you want to cut a different path, then step towards your DS Automobiles dealership. Where this will stand out is in its amazingly-trimmed interior and elegant external styling. Compared with its obvious rivals, there's no way you'll confuse it with anything else.

It will be interesting to see how different it will feel to the Peugeot 508 it's closely related to. That's a car we rate very highly, so a more luxurious, softer riding, roomier version will probably very tempting indeed. Let's hope that DS can control its depreciation and offer decent leasing deals on it. We'll know more as the year unfolds.

DS 9 E-Tense (2020) rear three-quarter view