The PSA Group currently lacks a flagship sedan to rival the Germans. In markets like China, that's like playing gridiron without a quarterback.
Now the French alliance has its DS premium arm, it appears it finally has a 5 Series and E-Class fighter on the way, at least according to these leaked images from a Chinese product presentation posted to a French online forum.
It's believed the new model will be called 'DS 8', as the number 8 holds significance in Chinese culture, and will launch in the Middle Kingdom before the end of this year. Following that, there's speculation that the new sedan could be rolled out in Europe from 2020.
As for the design, the two images here show the new vehicle will draw heavy inspiration from the 2010 Citroen Metropolis concept, which itself was penned by Citroen's design team in Shanghai, and was confirmed for production nearly a decade ago.
We can see the four-door coupe proportions have carried over, with the main changes being the DS grille and headlight arrangement that differs from the original's CItroen design. Even the alloy wheel design harks back to the concept.
The rear has a very rounded coupe look about it, not only similar to the Metropolis concept but also showing links to coupe models from brands like Mercedes-Benz. It's said the DS 8 will have a liftback tailgate, too.
As for what platform the new model will ride on, it's said the DS 8 will be based on the same underpinnings as the China-only Peugeot 508 L, which has an extended wheelbase over the global version set to hit Australian showrooms later this year.
The Chinese-market 508 is 100mm longer overall than the standard model, with 55mm extra space between the axles. By comparison, there's around 200mm difference in length and 100mm difference in wheelbase between the BMW 3 Series and 5 Series.
Given the shared underpinnings with the stretched 508, it's likely the DS 8 will be offered with a 168kW 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine in China, along with a plug-in hybrid variant for reduced emissions. We'd wager the Peugeot 3008 GT Hybrid4's 221kW PHEV system would be the most likely candidate. An EV model is likely, too.
Should the DS 8 then hit European showrooms, we'd expect a wider range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines to be offered, though given the vehicle's size only the high-output motors will be offered.
Above: Citroen Metropolis concept
It's expected that PSA will reveal the DS 8 at the Guangzhou motor show in November, before going on sale in China shortly after. A European version will likely debut at the next major motor show, perhaps Geneva in March, and go on sale in the region later in 2020.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest.