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Citroën DS

The Premium Line of Citroën’s ‘Creative Technology’ brand

DS3 Prestige Ultra & Cabrio › DS4 › DS5 › DS 50th


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itroën has always been a quirky, distinctly Gallic car ROYLE MEDIA & ROAD manufacturer – offering something design-led, dar- Road Magazine is published by ing and different from its competitors. And we aphappy publishing & PR team, Royle Media. Contact us for your own plaud them for that: Vive la difference! brand magazine – print or diggy And as the ultimate, unique Citroën – the iconic, stun– and perfect PR or SoMe. ningly beautiful, technologically advanced DS – just celebrated its 50th anniversary, we thought we’d take a closer Phil & Bonnie Royle look at the full C21st ‘Premium Line’ DS range created in 2009 to “express French style and luxury with beautiful details and exceptional quality,” with a cursory look back at the legend where the DS brand began in swinging 1963. ROAD SNAPPER: Neil Denham Entry level is the fun, funky, fresh DS3 – with Sebastian Loeb-backed WRC credentials – from £12,840. But the range goes all the way up to £21,620 for the range-topROAD USA: Ashley Van Dyke ping Ultra Prestige, which we have on test. And we’ve also driven the fresh-faced, £19,680 DS3 Cabrio. Are these premium specials worth the extra cash and does the DS3 ROAD RACER: Neil Primrose provide the ‘Challenge Convention’ supermini buzz the TV ad harps on about? Next up is the neat, chunky, more practical, mid-size DS4, starting at £17,580. Dynamic coupe-fashion styling is ROAD I.T GURU: Steve Davies standard, but does the 2+2 format really add up to being practical, and still DS-fun? Follow Road on Twitter, like us on Then there’s the range-topping DS5, from a good VFM Facebook, enjoy our daily blog & £22,960 right up to a strong £33,360, for the new dieselvisit our Royle Media publishing & hybrid tech version. It’s bigger, more practical and comes PR website, by clicking on the blob links below. loaded to the gills with goodies and a French luxurious finish, but does it deliver a fun drive? And does it warrant wearing the legendary DS brand name? Join us on our celebration and investigation of DS life...


Ultra Prestige DS3 Need that bit more je ne sais quoi from your DS3? Enter the ÂŁ20,700 Ultra Prestige flagship. Bon?


ometimes in life, only the very best will cocka-doodle-do. Think finest Egyptian cotton, succulent chateaubriand fillet steak, silky smooth Gran Reserva wines... you know. And so it is with the luxurious special that is the DS3 Ultra Prestige: A Citroën for the most discerning of DS3 buyers. The standard £16,800 DS3 DSport (with Sat Nav) car is a superb, award-winning supermini with style, flair, elegance and ability in droves. It’s funpacked 155bhp twin scroll turbocharged 1.6-litre engine is a hoot to drive – quickspooling, torquey, lively and even capable of mid-30’s mpg. It’s styled superbly, looks neat, quirky and is loaded with chic design touches

inside and out, and the ability to personalise it at purchase with a plethora of options and finishes. It even comes well equipped and is cheap to tax and insure. What more do you want? Well, says Citroën... you need the £3,900 more pricy DS3 ‘Ultra Prestige.’ Loaded with unique, luxurious leather ‘Watchstrap’ seats bespoke to the model, a hide-covered dash, 17-inch one-off Ultra Prestige rims, nice touchyfeely Sat-Nav system, cruise

control, auto-lights and wipers, electric folding mirrors and the most jushi of roof graphics packages on the market, the DS3 Ultra is, well ultra cool, chic and funky. The special seats aren’t just good to look at too – they are bolstered superbly to keep you and your front passen-

ger of choice well hunkered down, when you feel like letting all 155bhp rip... which will be often, as it’s the sort of engine that’s hard to drive slowly, always egging you on, thanks to its super-speedy boost spool characteristics. It’s not slow either – offering 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds

and capable of boosting onto 130mph. The steering is Citroën characteristically light, and the handling suitably Gallic – with a mildly choppy ride, lively front-end turn-in and a stable, but active back end. It’s also got an insanely light clutch pedal action, which I

didn’t get on with, but would dare to suggest the aimed purchase demographic would... (see image above of chic lady loading an expensive shoe shopping bag into the tiny boot!). Cool? Mais oui! But you pay a premium for the extra chic the Ultra Prestige offers.

Open sesame

Does the addition of a full length sunroof really boost the DS3 experience enough to justify the ÂŁ20,000+ price tag?


tylish, sleek, speedy and slick in operation, the DS3’s new, full length, Webasto-style ‘cabrio’ (we say sunroof) top is undeniably funky – especially in the soft canvas ‘Infinite Blue’ roof fabric our test model comes with. But that colour is an extra £150. And when you add up the other extras fitted to our test car – DSport Plus Pack at £975, eMyWay City Signature Pack at £800 and metallic paint at £495 – suddenly, the DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155 which was at already hefty £19,680 OTR becomes £22,100... and that is a whole wad of cash for a lightweight French Supermini, right?

And here lieth my issue with the DS3 Cabrio. Superminis are getting too much money. I like this car –as I do the hardtop DS3 – and the engineers should be applauded for designing a seriously cool looking, lightweight, superbly operating folding roof that gives you a cossetted and fun (unruffling) wind-in-the-hair experience without detracting from the sharp DS3 handling

experience and free from scuttle shake. But £22,100 for a car barely big enough to take four people and which certainly can’t take their luggage – thanks to the daft tailgate boot entry system being modified to the size of a letterbox, acting as a lethal finger jamming device – is verging on the insane, isn’t it? Maybe not. Maybe I’m just getting old, tight and grumpy.

I get the fun factor of this car. I get that it’s not a practical family motor... it’s for self-indulgent thrills, which it delivers, with aplomb. But when you think about what else you can get for £22,000, you do start to wonder why you’d go for this new DS3 Cabrio... which is a shame, because, at a lower price its high fashion looks, great driving experience,

generous specification, smart styling and sassy feel would make it a really appealing car. But at the price of the specced-up model we tested, you’d have to had a little bit too much sun to the head to buy one, wouldn’t you?. We say, give it a year, buy a loved one second hand and get this superb, fun ‘ragtop’ supermini for under £20K and be happy!


High Riding Hatch Sequel Priced from ÂŁ16,710, the DS4 hatchback is the DS-range sequel. Box office flop or hit?


equels are a dangerous business. Many are doomed to flop – failing to live up to the success of the original. But, for every turkey, there’s a Godfather II, or Aliens to make up for it – car-

rying on the genetic make-up that made the original success. But what camp does Citroën’s DS4 fall into, following on from the successful first DS3? Sequel heaven, or hell? Time to find out...

First impressions of the fivedoor hatchback (Citroën says saloon, coupe, compact 4x4 hybrid... hence the odd size and shape) are favourable and very DS-like. The styling is sharp, the spec generous

and the finish luxurious. DS hallmarks, ticked. But, look a little closer and compare it to the much more affordable, standard C4 and is it really that different? Not in the DS3’s league for sure. The DS4 also comes with a wide choice of engines

– 118bhp 1.6-litre petrol, 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel, 153bhp 1.6-litre THP petrol turbo, 158bhp 2.0-litre diesel or range-topping 197bhp THP petrol – which is just confusing me. Surely, the point of the DS-range is it’s top of the line, like the DS3...

coming with the peak engine in the range? Obviously not. The real issue is the exterior, which is not that dissimilar from the stock C4. Certainly it’s not different or special enough to warrant the DSbadge, or the price tag that comes with it, we felt.

Thankfully, the interior more than makes up for it... with a deeply exclusive, well-finished feel to the ‘Habana’ leather, lush console and door trims and other DS-style touches – most noticeably, the very trick interior LED lighting display and ability

to change the dash colours at will. Little and big kids will love that, and other manufacturers will be busy copying it right now (Seat!). There’s subtle DS-style changes too, like the steering, which is electro-hydraulic now (not electric)... making it

much faster and heavyweight, which is a nice touch and adds to the DS experience. But, a choppy ride, too bland an exterior and limited room inside make this sequel not a flop per say, but a minor disappointment after the first DS box office hit, sadly.



: End of the line?

Neat, stylish, fun & loaded with luxury, does the ÂŁ21-31K top-line DS5 boost the brand?


utting aside the quintessential awkwardness of its middle brother, the DS4, and picking up where its iconic big-little brother, the DS3, kicked off the DS brand designed to “express French style” is the range-topping DS5 hatchback. And just look at... oozingly effortless Gallic charm! N’est pas tres bon? The DS5 crossover hatchback is undeniably remenisent (in a C21st way) of that most iconic of Citroëns... the incredible original DS, which is a car we adore here at Road HQ. So, with more than a hint of that original, awe-

some French DNA in its appearance, the DS5 is already onto a winner aesthetically. Its tall roof hatchback, sports estate, slash coupe good looks work for us, from pretty much any angle. It’s not a swooping master piece like the DS grand-daddy, but hey, what modern car can re-create those 1950s and 1960s lines? Step inside and the DS5 just gets better and better. The leather seats are absolutely gorgeous, only mildly letdown by some of the plastic surrounding them. And the flat-bottomed steering wheel

is a joy to get hold of, as are the centre console instruments, pockets and switch gear, all of which is nicely laid out and user friendly. And the piece de resistance – the panoramic roof – is magnifique. Our test car came with the 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which no doubt would be the most popular, but we’d rather have the 197bhp THP petrol, or the fascinating Hybrid4 model,

which ain’t cheap at £31K+, but is future-proofing and flying the flag for the DS range nicely. What doesn’t fly the flag so well is when you drive the DS5. I’m not sure what happened when the usually expert ride and handling team at Citroën signed this baby off, but I can only assume they all had flu or something... coz it’s dire. It’s so super stiff

and under-damped, you’d be as advised to get occupants to sign an indemnity waiver against losing teeth, let alone fillings! Why? And the team who developed such nice steering on the DS4 must have been on holiday too, as the DS5 may as well have an imaginary steering device... so low is the feedback and light is the feeling. It’s such a shame. Here was

a chance to really pick up the mantle from the DS3, which kick started the C1st DS brand so successfully (best selling Citroën), rightfully winning awards. Then came the slightly flawed, half-baked DS4, which was there in some areas and not in others. And now the DS5 – a chance to build a modern-day DS, which looks great, is uberluxurious and stylish, practical and drives superbly... ruined by a dreadful ride and poor steering. Frankly, I’m at a loss to understand how such a strong brand with such great base cars can get so lost. Hey-ho.


Design King

Unique. Ground-breaking. Iconic: The 1955 DS broke the mould and changed car design forever.


ith it’s futuristic, sweeping good looks, outrageous sense of style and incredible technical innovation (a pressurised self-levelling suspension set-up, powered brakes, steering & clutch), the original DS was an absolute master class in design, engineering and general awesomeness. No wonder the French automotive icon sold over 1,455,746 models across the world. Superb! It’s just a shame (as any owner will tell you on the QT) the 63bhp 1.9-litre four cylinder engine was so backwards, dull and unreliable. Had it had a silky six cylinder, who knows what the DS could have achieved...



Road 38: Citroen DS Special  

DS3 Cabrio, DS3 Ultra Prestige, DS4 and DS5 all tested – with a look back at the classic DS that started it all.

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