The French DS Automobiles luxury brand originally started as a subbrand of Citroën before being spun off into its own entity in 2015, and its new second-gen DS 4 replaces the model that first launched as a Citroën in 2010. Despite PSA's merger with FCA to create Stellantis -- and rumors of some French cars (namely
) returning to the US market still swirling -- there's probably no chance the DS 4 will make it to our shores. And that's too bad, because this thing looks freakin' COOL.
Every DS model looks as fashion-forward as you would expect from a modern French brand, but the DS 4 takes the angular design language to the next level. The front end is dominated by thin matrix LED lights and a large hexagonal grille with diamond inserts, and there are lots of interesting creases and lines at the sides of the car. But the best part is the combo of the greenhouse and the rear end. The C-pillar comes to a spearlike point that follows the lines of the roof, which has a superraked rear window shrouded by an integrated spoiler. The rear overhang is short, and the taillights have a laser-embossed pattern. It all just looks very unique and modern, and DS says the car was designed to be as aerodynamic as possible.
At 173.2 inches long the DS 4 is nearly as long as the
, but the French hatch is about half a foot shorter in height than the already carlike German crossover. The 19-inch wheels are standard but 20s are available, and every DS 4 gets those cool pop-out door handles. Like before, there's a DS 4 Cross model that gets SUV-inspired body cladding and skid plate elements, while a Performance Line version has gloss-black exterior trim.
On the inside the overall theme is minimal, allowing the intricate detailing to really shine. A 10-inch touchscreen set into the dash and a digital gauge cluster are standard equipment, with a row of physical buttons set into a long trim piece integrated with the "invisible" air vents that control some climate features. Most intriguing is the 5-inch touchscreen set in the center console above the gear selector -- the occupants use gesture controls on this screen for all sorts of functions, ranging from selection of favorite features and zooming in on the map to writing out commands using handwriting recognition.
I especially love the angled window switches that are high up on the door panels and integrated with the air vents, and there are tons of diamond shapes throughout. DS' signature watch strap-shaped seat pattern is available, and the 4's interior comes with all sorts of real wood and forged carbon trims, leather and plaited cloth upholstery and Alcantara accents. The seats are made from high-density foam and you can get them with heating, ventilation and massage functions. DS boasts about handmade manufacturing processes like hidden seams, and the DS 4 is said to be made from 85% recyclable parts and 95% reusable materials.
The DS 4's powertrains aren't nearly as exciting as its looks or its tech, but there's still some interesting stuff to talk about. It rides on PSA's EMP2 platform, which underpins a number of other Citroën and Peugeot models, and it's lighter, stiffer and safer than the old model. Three power levels of a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine and one diesel are on offer, but the one you want is the E-Tense. That plug-in-hybrid model pairs a turbo four with an electric motor and a 12.4-kWh battery pack for a total of 225 horsepower, and it has an electric range of 30 miles on the European cycle. (The EMP2 platform could allow for a fully electric model in the future, too.) An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard across the board.
DS' Drive Assistant suite of Level 2 semi-autonomous tech has been upgraded with some new features, namely anticipatory speed adjustment using traffic sign recognition, semiautomatic lane changes and speed adjustment in corners. There's a grip sensor in the steering wheel to better monitor driver involvement, and "radar corners" allow long-distance blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Other fancy tech includes night vision and DS' Active Scan suspension system that uses a camera in the windshield to independently adjust damping at each wheel. There's also something that DS is calling the "extended head-up display," which the brand says is the first step toward augmented reality. It projects essential information onto the road ahead, using an optical illusion to make the 21-inch diagonal display area appear 4 meters ahead of the driver.
The company says the new DS 4 will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2021 in Europe. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the DS 4 should start at the equivalent of around $35,000. We're going to keep our fingers crossed that the DS brand will make its way to the US, and the DS 4 with it.
Stellantis' new DS 4 is a stylish French hatchback we wish we'd get