First review DS 9 E-Tense: 82,580 euros cheaper than a Mercedes S-class

What stands out about the DS 9 E-Tense?

It is a wonder that the DS 9 exists at all, because in Europe there is little demand for French limousines. We appreciate that DS tries anyway and is not afraid to fish in the same customer pond as the German bins Audi, BMW, Mercedes and their Swedish friend Volvo.

The design of the DS 9 is a happening. The designers outlined a stylish sedan and indulged themselves with a prominent grille, numerous chrome accents and recessed handles. They opened a tin with subtle references to the illustrious 1955 predecessor. For example, the primal DS had flashing lights on both sides of the roof and the DS 9 has orange position lights there. They are mainly there for fun, but also to point out the location of the rear door to passengers in the dark. The black roof also refers to the past.

If you order the DS 9 with red leather, you will get it too. The entire dashboard, the steering wheel and the armrests are covered with it and it runs in a watchband motif over all the seats. DS itself speaks of ‘an abundance of leather’ – proof that the comfort button is set to 11.

What’s good about DS 9 (2021)?

The DS 9 has a substantial wheelbase of 2.9 meters. It stands on the new EMP2 platform, which sets it apart from the Peugeot 508. The long wheelbase increases its sales opportunities in China (where the factory is located) and we tall Dutch people are also happy with it. In the back right you have so much legroom that it is tempting to hire a driver. Our test car has the Opera interior, with a luxurious armrest including controls for the massage function and an extra button to slide the passenger seat forward for more legroom.

“The DS 9 pampers you.”

We prefer to send ourselves anyway. The DS 9 pampers you with its sumptuous suspension comfort, whisper-quiet cabin and smooth plug-in hybrid powertrain. A camera at the rear-view mirror ‘reads’ the condition of the road surface and adjusts the suspension and shock absorption accordingly. This removes the sharp edges from speed bumps and cross ridges.

If you buy a DS 9, you are probably going to spend a lot of time on the highway. There the limousine is at its best, because thanks to the supple suspension comfort and the insulated cabin in which you hardly hear any wind or rolling noises, the DS flagship almost seems to float over the road.

DS always supplies its flagship as a plug-in hybrid. A smart choice, because then you decide how the limousine behaves: powerful and fast when the 1.6-liter petrol engine and the 110 hp electric motor put their shoulders together (225 hp), or whisper-quiet and economical. DS communicates a battery capacity of 11.9 kWh and a maximum electric range of 48 kilometers. Not happy with those 225 hp or 48 km? Then know that a more powerful DS 9 with 360 hp will follow at the end of 2021 and a version with a greater range of approximately 60 kilometers at the beginning of 2022.

What could be better about the DS 9?

The front seats of the DS 9 are more than fine, but they are not a masterclass in exquisite seat architecture. The massage function and the extendable seat cannot disguise the fact that they are somewhat shapeless and therefore do not fit closely to your body. Moreover, they do not feel exactly soft. In a French limousine you expect to lie down in an armchair, but in the DS 9 you just plump both your buttocks in a chair.

Strange design choices can give a car character. Such as the ‘fake flashing lights’ on the C-pillars. But the DS 9 also has a few things that bother us. Such as the wide center tunnel; for a car with a lot of legroom in the back, the driver is not very spacious. And why there was a budget for a rotatable clock on the dashboard, but not for a decent satellite for the adaptive cruise control. The plastic protrusion feels ridiculously cheap. And for a car with ‘cutting-edge technologies’, the reversing camera is not lavish with pixels.

The DS 9 excels in suspension comfort, but the handling is so so. That is mainly in the vague controls. Then a car can still have 225 hp and a Sport mode, if he does not send well, you will not experience much fun. In short, keep driving in Comfort mode.

When will the DS 9 arrive and what is the price?

The prices of the DS 9 start at 57,890 euros for the Performance Line +. A chic name for the current basic model. The equipment is anything but basic, with shock absorption that ‘reads’ the road surface, advanced LED headlights and a 12-inch touchscreen with navigation.

You wonder why you would pay 60,790 euros for the DS 9 Rivoli + and the answer is adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera and the front seats with extendable seat, heating and a massage function.

The main reason for choosing the Rivoli + version is that you can then order the Opera interior with red leather for 4950 euros. If you do not dare to do that, the DS delivers an ‘abundance’ of black leather for the same money.

What do I think of the DS 9?

Beforehand I could hardly place the DS 9; is the new flagship of DS sometimes up against the Mercedes S-class? Absolutely not: with a basic price of around 140,000 euros, the S-class plays in a completely different league. As a sedan in the D-segment, you can consider the DS 9, costing 57,890 euros, as a luxury alternative to a Volkswagen Passat. Not that it matters, because floating over the Dutch highways makes you feel as relaxed as in an S-class.

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