The decision by the innovative French motor manufacturer, Citroën, to revive the DS sub-brand has been a master stroke in terms of creating excitement and building a leading edge brand image. First to arrive was the sporty DS3 last year. It was an immediate hit and a finalist in the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Car of the Year contest. Now the second in the line, the DS4, which already has a number of important awards to its credit, has arrived in SA.
The DS nomenclature was used for the first time in 1955 when Citroën unveiled the aerodynamically-styled DS19. This was the result of co-operation between an acclaimed sculptor/industrial designer and an aeronautical engineer.
Not only was the tear-drop shape very unusual, but it also covered a host of technological innovations that were very advanced for the time. The DS19 was followed by the DS21 and this model remained in production until 1975, when the DS nomenclature was discontinued until last year’s revival.
The Citroën’s that carry the DS nameplate are not only renowned for having eye-catching exteriors and stylish interiors, but are also being dynamic to drive.
The DS4 was unveiled to the public at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. It combines coupé styling with so-called 2+2 door practicality: the rear doors having handles hidden in the frames and are seamlessly integrated into the flowing lines of the body, giving the appearance of a high stance, but sleek, two-door coupe.
Inside there is space for five, with three-full-sized seats in the rear, while another practical feature is a spacious luggage compartment of 370 litres and a host of clever storage solutions.
Finely crafted to convey a prestigious presence both inside and out, the DS4 features meticulous detailing from carefully applied chrome touches to the use of top quality materials for the stylish interior, including the finest leather for the seats. A large, panoramic windscreen, offering up to 450 of upward vision, not only provides the occupants with outstanding visibility, but creates a bright and welcoming interior with a driver-focused cockpit.
The DS4’s chief stylist, Marc Pinson, who was charged with creating an exciting new automotive proposition for the C category sees the car as “reinterpreting cues that open up new possibility, bringing practical and surprising solutions to automotive mobility.”
The Citroën DS4 made a big impression at the 26th International Automobile Festival in Paris at the end of last year. A poll by more than 60 000 motoring enthusiasts in 62 countries saw the DS4 adjudged The Most Beautiful Car of the Year.
It also received another accolade at this prestigious event, being voted Most Beautiful Interior by a jury made up of personalities from the worlds of design, sport, culture and the media.
Compact, yet muscular, with prominent wheel arches to emphasise the big wheels the DS signature on the bonnet is complemented by a striking LED light signature around the front for lights. The LED’s are illuminated both day and night for added safety.
The eye-catching profile, featuring a chrome-trimmed waistline surrounding the dark tinted windows is crowned by a tautly drawn roofline with an integrated spoiler. The lower part of the rear bumper has a chrome finish, while the horizontal detailing on the prominent rear light cluster highlights the boomerang shape.
The sumptuous interior features an enveloping driving position with chrome-surround dials focused directly towards the driver’s eye-line, while the sculptured dashboard features top quality materials for a superior tactile feel. There is also chrome detailing on the air vent surrounds, gearlever and centre console, while aluminium pedals, embossed leather door handles and ambient interior lighting are further examples of Citroën’s attention to detail in designing the DS4.
Owners can personalise the interior as the DS4 is available with a choice of three leather combinations, including a two-tone option. Range-topping models can also be order with a “bracelet” design on the seats that hints at the links on the strap of an expensive watch.
There are numerous storage compartments for travelling comfort, including a large, well-lit glove box, door pockets big enough for 1,5-litre bottles and a drawer under the front passenger seat. A large compartment under the centre armrest features an additional power source.
The DS4 has been given a generous helping of Citroën’s “Créative Technologie” in terms of its equipment.
This includes an audio system with processing software to deliver high quality, authentic sound evenly throughout the cabin. Massaging front seats with electric lumbar adjustment are another of these advanced features as is the automatic climate control with three air flow rates from which to choose.
Another example of the DS4 driving experience is the ability to select from a range of four polyphonic sounds – Classic, Crystal Symphony, Jungle Fantasy and Urban Rythmik – for alerts and reminders. The colour of the instrument panel lighting is selectable from white to blue.
There is also a number of safety features seldom found in a C category car. These include blind spot and tyre pressure monitoring,(optional) static cornering lights, dual-function xenon steering lights that can swivel by up to 150 (optional) intelligent traction control, hill assist, a programmable cruise control and speed limiter as well as a parking space gap measurement system and electric safety brake.
Moving to the dynamics we find a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The same basic 1,6-litre petrol engine, developed in conjunction with the BMW Group, is offered in two power output versions – the normally-aspirated VTi 120 develops 120hp (88kW) and the turbocharged THP 200 puts out 200hp (147kW) – while the HDi 2-litre turbo diesel produces 163hp (120kW) of power and 340kW of torque.
Citroën pioneered direct injection for automotive diesel engines in 1998 and regular improvements have kept it in the forefront of diesel engine technology. The latest HDi power unit is very frugal with a combined cycle consumption of 5,1l/100km while emitting 134g/km of CO2.
The two VTi 120 models – Style and Style Pack – use five speed manual gearboxes to transmit the power to the front wheels, while the THP 200 and HDi 160 models are fitted with a six-speed manual transmission.
The electro-hydraulic steering system has had its response sharpened for the DS4 application, while the suspension has been stiffened to contribute to the dynamic experience, while the braking efficiency of the high performance THP 200 model has been boosted with the fitment of 340mm ventilated discs up front and 290mm discs at the rear.
Citroën South Africa is confident that its DS4 2+2 door coupé will be another success story for its vibrant DS sub-brand.
All the DS4 models benefit from a 5-year/100 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty, which can be extended to 5-years/100 000km at extra cost.
The model range and pricing is:
VTi 120 Style: R254 900
VTi 120 Style Pack R272 900
THP 200 Sport R319 900
HDi 160 Sport: R319 900