French luxury marque DS will launch a rival to the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series in 2018, according to reports out of Europe.
The DS brand hit the world stage in 2009, when Citroen revealed plans to revive its iconic DS badge not as a new model, but as a stylish new range above the company’s regular line-up.
That plan moved into its second phase last year, when the carmaker confirmed that it would split DS off into a standalone range, representing luxury for PSA Peugeot Citroen in the same way that Audi does for the Volkswagen group.
The company expects to become a genuine rival to the likes of Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar by the end of the decade, and reports this week suggest that push will be headlined by a large flagship sedan.
According to industry paper Automotive News, the new sedan is known internally as the DS 8, continuing the nomenclature established with existing models like the DS 3 and DS 4 hatches, DS 5 wagon and the new China-only DS 6.
A DS 5LS sedan is also sold in China, and Automotive News reports that the so-called DS 8 will also make its first appearance in that market, catering to a well-known preference for sedans.
The report adds that Citroen will look to its original DS car for inspiration in styling the new flagship sedan, although we might also expect the recent DS Divine and Numero 9 concepts to offer a few clues.
Global launch plans for the DS 8 are still to be detailed, but with PSA boss Carlos Tavares already pointing to 2020 as a milestone date for the brand globally, we can likely expect the new sedan to hit western markets around that time.
In Australia, DS models are currently sold as part of the Citroen range, but that will change in the years ahead.
Speaking with CarAdvice in April, Citroen Australia sales manager Shaun Mackle said that as the Citroen and DS brands move apart in style and purpose, a local split will become inevitable.
“We have to do it sustainably and sensibly in the Australian market, I suppose halving a showroom and having one side DS and one side Citroen is potentially not ideal so we just have to be very, very measured in how we do it,” Mackle said.