Hey car lovers, driving fan-boy James here. I was recently perusing the new cars on the Perry’s website when I spotted a new model range listed. Exciting times! From what I could make out, its name was ‘right-facing arrow, lighting bolt’, presumably inspired by the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince. Turns out it actually said ‘DS’, and refers to Citroën having branched out their more jazzy models into a new sub brand, with the tag-line ‘Spirit of avant-garde’. If this were a verb, it would be ‘Lexusing’.
So what’s this new Citroën DS range all about?
In short, there are three new DS branded models:
- DS3, a supermini, with a convertible variant that lets you put the roof up or down at up to 70mph. Nice party trick. It also has an impressive array of colour customisation options, letting you choose separate body, roof and rear mirror housing colours. Be bold!
- DS4, a compact family hatchback, which also has a ‘Crossback’ variant with ‘go-anywhere outdoor style’. From looking into the spec, this means that it’s taller and has bad-ass wheels. Both versions boast some nice tech, including blind spot monitoring, emergency assistance with geo-location, lane departure warning, keyless entry and start, and those all-important leather massage seats.
- DS5 is the luxurious daddy of the range, with the swankiest upholstery, and intriguing hatchback / coupe / sports estate hybrid looks. It also has a colour head-up display so you can pretend that you’re a fighter pilot, and cool multiple sunroofs.
This is my concise version of the main spec of each model – if you want some more creative writing about the cars, you can see Citroën’s own, more designer-descriptive website which highlights their ‘purposeful, athletic attitude’ and ‘sharply creased flanks and well defined haunches’.
All-in-all, the DS range is well worth considering if you fancy driving something a little more stylish and unique, with just a hint of ‘je ne sais quoi’. (And yeah, I know, I’m being pretentious!)
What’s the history of the DS name?
The more historically-minded of you may have noticed that this isn’t the first time the DS moniker has been used. It previously referred to their incredibly iconic, stylish, and technologically advanced Citroën DS, produced from 1955 to 1975. Its ground-breaking features included:
- Hydropneumatic suspension, with automatic levelling and variable ground clearance
- Power steering
- Semi-automatic transmission, with no clutch pedal
- Lightweight fibreglass roof
- Disc brakes
- Directional headlights, which move in the direction of steering
The rarest and most desirable were the convertible models, comprising only around 1300 out of the total production run of 1.3 million. Examples of these currently sell at auction for well over £100,000. Ouch.
So, why did Citroën decide to resurrect the DS name, 60 years after its genesis? Despite the abundance of innovations, the original DS is still remembered most fondly for its striking, streamlined, aerodynamic design. Citroën want to recapture these stylistic glory days, embodying the spirit of the original DS within its new ‘avant-garde’ DS models. Citroën themselves reference cars such as the Range Rover Evoque and Volkswagen CC as having the sort of unique design styles they aspire to.
The current models are based upon existing Citroën models, so they’re more design evolution than revolution. A sensible plan, perhaps, to more gently introduce consumers to new stylistic elements. The masterplan is to release three brand new DS models by 2020, and it will be fascinating to see what these ‘clean slate’ vehicles look like – saloons and SUVs have been hinted at.
Citroen have been heading the car news in recent times with other tech and hardware successes in their range of models – from their truly science-fiction autonomous car, which I love the idea of, to their win at the FIA World Touring Car Championship. These guys are producing some great stuff lately – the DS range will surely add to their successes. If you’d like to see for yourself what some of France’s finest have come up with, head on down to your local Perrys. Au revoir et à bientôt!