French prestige brand doubles-down on premium appeal with new styling and new technology
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Peugeot-Citroen’s premium brand, DS Automobiles, has revealed the first of its ‘new generation’ vehicles with the second-generation DS 4 hatch.

The C-segment hatch is set to take on prestige small cars like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class range.

Underpinning the new DS 4 is a version of the EMP2 platform already in use across a range of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel models including the 308 hatch, C5 Aircross SUV and mid-size 508 liftback and wagon.

According to DS, the platform used for the DS 4 is composed of 70 percent new or unique parts compared to other variants.

That means, despite dimensions similar to that of the new Citroen C4, and a range of shared powertrains, the DS 4 isn’t as closely related to the C4 as it may appear at first glance, thanks to the latter’s CMP platform (though there's still plenty in common between the two).

DS lists key dimensions for the DS 4 of 4.40 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and 1.47 metres tall, making it around 12cm longer, 2cm wider, but 6cm lower than the last DS 4, sold in Australia as the Citroen DS4 before being discontinued in 2016.

As a production adaptation of the 2020 DS Aero Sport Lounge concept, the DS 4 keeps some of the identifiably DS brand attributes of the first-gen DS, like the DS-wing grille and two-line LED running lights.

A sharper face, slimline LED headlights with a new lighting signature and flowing bodywork contribute to the brand’s new look. Anchoring the athletic stance are wheels up to 20-inches in size, and a planted lower sill, underlining the sculpted door surfacing.

Where the previous DS 4 offered a raised crossover aesthetic, the new model will cover a choice of core DS 4, an optical off-road aesthetic DS 4 Cross with lower bumper cladding and a more advanced off-road traction control system, or a more sporting flavour with the DS 4 Performance Line styling package with a range of glass black styling details.

Unlike the fully electric Aero Sport Lounge concept, the DS runs a selection of known Peugeot-Citroen powertrains, topped by the plug-in hybrid E-Tense, with a 132kW turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine paired with an 81 kW electric motor, and rated to 165kW combined.

The system drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, while at the rear torsion beam axle provides compact packaging in place of the more sophisticated multi-link suspension available on prestige rivals. DS claims the plug-in hybrid system can provide over 50 kilometres of WLTP range in zero emissions mode.

Other engines in the range include 95kW, 132kW and 165kW petrol engines and a 95kW diesel option, all matched the same eight-speed automatic transmission.

Like the exterior, the interior refines some of the previously heady-handed DS styling elements and opts for a cleaner and more modern look.

Anchoring the interior are three digital displays, with instruments, infotainment, and console controls all handled by separate screens, simplifying the interior layout. Long a defining element of the DS brand, the heavy diamond motif has been all but removed for the new model.

A new head-up display crosses into augmented technology territory with a 21-inch display area that, rather being filled with info, can project information about vehicle speed, driver assist systems, and navigation within the driver’s line of sight, using an optical illusion to place the info onto the road, four-metres ahead of the windscreen.

Along with watch strap leather seating surfaces, a new DS Air ventilation system hides the centre vents of the air conditioning system behind a sabre-styled trim element, providing draftless vehtination to the front seat occupants – backed up with traditional outboard vents.

Interior finishes, depending on the styling package, are available in leather, Alcantara, forged carbon and wood. Two-tone interior colourways are also offered, as is nappa leather trim with the upscale Opera interior option.

Those after a more athletic flavour will find an Alcantara trimmed dash, doors, console and seats in the Performance Line.

Other available features include Level 2 autonomy, via traffic jam assist cruise control with ‘radar camera’ giving a 75 metre range of view, and allowing new functions including semi-automatic overtaking, speed adjustment for corners and anticipated speed recommendations from signposts.

A night vision system is also offered, using an infrared camera with a 200 metre field of vision to detect pedestrians and animals at night. Matrix LED lighting, with 15 dimmable lighting segments, and the ability to ‘turn’ up to 33 degrees through bends, is also available.

For now the DS 4, and indeed the entire DS Automobiles range, is targeted at markets like Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Despite being offered in Australia previously, DS has no presence here currently. The 2022 DS 4 is set to go on sale internationally in the fourth quarter of 2021.