DS has high expectations of the DS 4 in the Netherlands. He tackles the Volkswagen Golf and also focuses on the fat Germans of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Not with blazing accelerations and tire tracks on the asphalt, but with typical French characteristics: comfort and idiosyncrasy. Are the Dutch being tempted by this?
The DS 4 ventures into a wasp’s nest. For good middle-class cars such as the Ford Focus, the Renault Mégane or the Volkswagen Golf, the Frenchman turns his nose up, he looks higher. The Audi A3 Sportback, BMW 1-series and Mercedes A-class can get their hands dirty.
DS was founded to bring French extravagance back to the automotive world. The start was difficult, in 2015 a number of Citroën models got a different logo. It was not until the end of 2017 that the first new DS model was launched on the market, the DS 7 Crossback, followed a year later by the DS 3 Crossback. The DS 9 was added earlier this year. It is built in China and is basically an extended Peugeot 508, but it was good news that a French brand finally brought a presidential limousine on the market again.
The DS 4 is the model that can make or break the brand. He pulls out all his seduction skills to meet the high expectations. He does so – in the brand’s house style – with a hexagonal grille, piercing headlights, sharp folds and pinched taillights. A busy design that you either find beautiful, or a little too much of a good thing.
It’s not a dull affair inside either. The interior designers have put a lot of effort into the elongated dashboard, which with its bending corners in the distance is reminiscent of that of the Saab 900. You can tell in the details: every button you touch feels like it was made for eternity. Depending on the version, the French used nappa leather, wood or Alcantara.
DS takes its buyers very seriously. The brand is not only looking for class in the car, but also outside it. For example, DS drivers are occasionally invited to exclusive events in the Louvre, where they can, for example, watch a painting being restored. Typically French: the good life doesn’t end when you get out of the car. You will probably not be fobbed off with a drink of water and a hunk of baguette during such a gathering in the most famous museum in Paris …
Incidentally, the DS 4 is completely French when it comes to seduction, but it is still more German than you think. It is built at Opel in Rüsselsheim and is on the same platform as the new Opel Astra and Peugeot 308.
Usually comfortable, but not always
The DS 4 is not for sale in the Netherlands with a diesel engine. In Belgium, a 130 hp BlueHDi turbo diesel is still in the price list. In 2024, the DS 4 will be launched in both countries with a fully electric powertrain. Until then, you can choose from two petrol versions (130 and 180 hp) and a plug-in hybrid that we already know from many other models from Stellantis. A 1.6-litre petrol engine with 180 hp and a 110 hp electric motor together provide 225 hp. Purely on the electric motor, you get 55 kilometers away. If you do your best, you can try to achieve the DS-specified consumption of 1.3 l/100 km (1 to 76.9).
The DS 4 E-Tense 225 is quite fast: it sprints to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds and has a top speed of 233 km/h (electric: 135 km/h). But the DS 4 does not want to be a speed demon. On the comfortable leather seats with massage function, you will not be tempted to interpret every turn as the Tarzan bend on the Zandvoort circuit.
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It is precisely the comfort with which he impresses: looking out over the beautiful dashboard, you hear almost no engine noises at 130 km/h. The chassis with adaptive shock absorbers (unfortunately not standard on most versions) uses a camera that ‘reads’ the road ahead of the car. The tuning is automatically adjusted accordingly.
The undercarriage will make any Francophile rejoice in most situations. The DS 4 is an ideal car for many comfortable highway miles. However, we note a setback. If the asphalt is of poor quality, the undercarriage is somewhat confused and he passes on the unevenness too emphatically. This problem also occurs at speed bumps. There, the DS 4 could have learned something from the primal Citroen DS from 1955, the fabulous car that the brand likes to focus on.
Through the fingers
If you like eccentric cars, you will have to condone things. The space in the back, for example, could have been just a fraction better. Tall people press their knees into the backs of the people sitting in the front.
Furthermore, the operation is unnecessarily complicated. In fact, you always have to perform one action too many. For example, the temperature control of the air conditioning cannot be raised or lowered with a simple rotary or push button, you have to do it via the screen. To operate the seat heating and ventilation, you have to go even deeper into the menu structure. Too bad, you can’t keep your eyes on the road like that.
Could the DS 4 therefore be ordered with almost all conceivable safety systems, so that you can still fiddle with touchscreens and menu structures? The DS 4 is available with rear traffic alert (useful if you miss a cyclist or car when reversing), a head-up display, a high beam assistant and a camera that recognizes pedestrians, cyclists and animals in the dark and projects them onto the instrument panel (Night Vision).
Our limited La Première version has almost everything on board as standard, but has a hefty base price at 53,850 euros. You only pay for 20-inch wheels, a Focal sound system with subwoofer and fourteen speakers and Night Vision (all three 1000 euros), and a sliding / tilting roof (900 euros).
The less outrageous versions don’t go unnoticed either. The cheapest DS 4 (Bastille +, 130 hp) costs 36,750 euros, for the 180 hp version you already pay 44,150 euros (Trocadero). The best-behaved version of the E-Tense 225 costs 42,150 euros (Bastille +). If you want to take full advantage of all the luxury, you have to save further, because the price can rise considerably. If you dress up the Trocadero version with the beautiful leather with a watch strap motif, electrically adjustable seats and chair massage, you are just 5500 euros further. The ear-pleasing Focal sound system will cost you another 1600 euros and the adaptive chassis 750 euros. Also with the pricing policy, the DS 4 is thus daring to the Big Three from Germany …
Will the Netherlands embrace the extravagant, but expensive DS 4? There’s a lot in favor of him: a distinctive look, different engine variants with and without plugs and (if you’re willing to pay a lot) equipment that leaves nothing to be desired. The true Francophile will affectionately describe the illogical ministry as ‘charming’.