With its powerful and distinctive presence, this is the model that launched DS as a stand-alone brand. Boasting a powerful blend of performance and technology, the DS 5 is an absolute dream to drive. It features gorgeous lines and incredible driving dynamics plus a reasonable price tag too.
The goodBeautifully poised, plenty of on-board technology and excellent handling
The badLots of premium opposition
DS 5 Performance Line BlueHDi 180 automatic
You’ve got to admire and give credit to manufacturers that show drive and ambition and that’s exactly how the DS marque came about. It was developed as the premium branch of Citroen just like Lexus is to Toyota or Infiniti to Nissan.
And while initial DS models carried all the trademark visual effects of a Citroen right down to the distinctive chevrons, DS decided to take a giant leap and branch out on its own in June 2014 albeit still under the PSA umbrella.
With that adventurous step, the cars began to sport their own unique identity and although we are still awaiting the first all-new DS model to arrive in the shape of the DS 7 Crossback next year, the existing cars have been brought into line with the new design cues.
The DS 5 test car looked upmarket and stylish from any approach thanks to its sleek sweeping body lines, sloping roof, muscular haunches, chrome front bumper and door handle inserts, privacy glass, chrome exhaust pipes, neat LED lights with scrolling indicators, LED daytime running lights, smart grille housing the DS emblem and 19-inch black alloys. I wasn’t quite so keen on the red, white and gold performance stripes on the top of the back window, bonnet and door mirror caps – they looked a little bit like an after-thought. But those aside, the DS 5 boasts stunning good looks.
Move inside and there is a wealth of on-board technology to explore, but it can be a little overwhelming at first. That’s because in recent years we have moved towards clutter-free interiors with most operations carried out via a touchscreen. However, the DS 5 is loaded with buttons, switches, dials and a massive overhead console system that, when it was launched looked amazing and resembled a fighter jet cockpit, but is looking a tad dated these days.
Techno treats are plentiful though and include a seven-inch integrated touchscreen with sat nav, a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio, Bluetooth plus Mirror Screen and Mirror Link to connect to smartphones. There are front and rear parking sensors, a three-part sunroof with lots of overhead toggles, dual zone air conditioning, plus a really neat flat-bottomed leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel sporting the DS logo.
There is definitely a premium feel to the car with top quality black leather upholstery complemented by smart contrast stitching along with an abundance of soft touch surfaces. The seats can be electrically adjusted and also heated to beat off that winter chill. Back seat occupants can stretch out in comfort too as there is ample leg, head and shoulder space.
When it comes to storage, the boot can swallow 465 litres of luggage and there are a numerous convenient cubby holes scattered throughout the cabin including door pockets, a central bin under the armrest, cup holders and some smaller trays.
The test car, in mid-range Performance Line, carried a £34,970 price-tag which included an additional charge of £600 for metallic paint. It was powered by a 2.0-litre 180hp BlueHDi diesel engine mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox and could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.2 seconds topping out at 137mph. According to official figures, the DS 5 can deliver combined fuel economy of 62.8mpg with carbon emissions of 117g/km.
In and around town, the DS 5 proved agile and easy to manoeuvre as it weaved its way through the crowds. Then out on the faster roads the diesel engine provided plenty of oomph and acceleration through the auto gearbox. I did miss the option of steering wheel mounted paddles although you can use the gear stick to manually shift through the gears.
The road-holding is confident and assured meaning the DS 5 can be pushed hard into bends with a degree of confidence. In addition, it is beautifully refined with minimal road surface or engine noise filtering through into the cabin. The highly efficient, yet firm suspension set-up ensures any unexpected bumps and dips are ironed out along the way.
And the car is perfectly suited to motorway cruising too with ample power on tap to accelerate at short notice. In fact, during an 120-mile round trip mainly on motorways I was seeing 58.5mpg on average which is impressive and not far off the official figure.
It is a comfortable car to sit in and even after lengthier journeys, you will arrive feeling quite fresh. Visibility is generally good, but the wide door pillars do create a few over-the-shoulder sight issues.
All in all, the DS 5 is a lovely piece if kit. It looks striking from the outside and is bursting with creature comforts on the inside. And it still offers plenty of all-round appeal for someone who is fed-up with and wants a change from all those premium German cars.
DS 5 BlueHDi 180 Prestige
There is a new premium brand on the scene and it’s certainly generating stacks of interest and earning plenty of praise.
For anyone who has not yet heard, DS Automobiles no longer sits under the Citroen umbrella but has ventured out with its very own identity.
In truth, the trio of Citroen DS models did always stand out for their sharp, stylish design cues and vast wealth of innovative on-board technology, but now the manufacturer has really upped the ante.
The perfect example to highlights the company’s new direction is the flagship DS 5 model priced at £32,040 (£33,440 with options fitted). The car looks stunning and oozes class from any approach and the new company grille with a smart DS badge is an instant hit compared to the former Citroen chevrons.
Other eye-catching features include 18-inch alloys, front fog lights with cornering function, plenty of shiny chrome trim, DS LED headlights and a very sleek body styling.
Step inside and the interior boasts a wow factor that is vital for any car to succeed in the premium market these days. The design resembles a fighter jet cockpit complete with overhead controls, toggle switches and drop-down storage boxes. The test car boasted interior mood lighting, a three-part glass sunroof, leather seats (electrically adjustable on the driver’s side), dual zone air conditioning, a colour head-up display (£300 extra) and an electric comfort pack (£500 extra).
In addition, there’s a wealth of technology to be explored too, including a seven-inch touchscreen, sat nav, a pitch perfect six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, Mirror link to connect to your smartphone and plenty more besides.
The test car could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 9.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 137mph. According to official figures it can achieve a very respectable combined fuel efficiency of 64.2mpg with carbon emissions of 114g/km.
In and around busy built up town centres the diesel-driven DS 5 cruised effortlessly through the congestion and parking was made much simpler thanks to numerous sensors and a good reversing camera. I did find visibility through the split rear screen was a little restricted at times, but apart from that the all-round vision was pretty good.
Then out on faster lanes and motorways the DS 5 really bursts into action with a constant supply of power on tap from the 2.0-litre 180bhp engine. The acceleration was sharp and nicely controlled as the car moved smoothly though the six-speed automatic gearbox. The absence of steering wheel-mounted paddles to change gear manually was a shame, but that was my only real gripe.
The cabin remains beautifully hushed and even bumpy road surfaces are smoothed out by the car’s impressive suspension system. The steering is nice and precise, although a tad heavy initially and the road-holding is grounded and assured at all times.
Comfort levels are good for all occupants with generous levels of head and leg room in the back, plus the boot can accommodate 465 litres worth of luggage. This capacity can be increased quickly and easily by dropping the rear seats flat.
And as one would expect the DS 5 is richly equipped with safety specifications that helped it achieve the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. Features include anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, numerous airbags and blind spot monitoring.
All in all, the new DS 5 is a sophisticated, well-equipped and easy to drive model that easily earns its position in the premium marketplace.
DS 5 – first drive
The DS arm of Citroen has a reputation built on innovation, style and class and now the brand has really upped the ante with an identity all of its own.
In recent years DS models have represented the more up-market side of the Citroen marque – a bit like Infiniti is to Nissan or Lexus to Toyota.
But until recently the cars have always carried the Citroen chevrons and badging for identification purposes so all cars have been referred to as Citroen DS.
That has all changed now, because last year parent company PSA announced that the DS brand was going it alone and the first model to emerge from DS Automobiles with its very own Citroen-free identity is the luxurious DS 5.
This car is a nod back to the original DS saloon of 1955 which wowed the crowds at the Paris Motor Show and had potential customers lining up to sign on the dotted line.
But this is far more than a simple re-branding exercise because the new DS 5 boasts a dazzling fresh look guaranteed to stop onlookers in their tracks.
It features a striking new front end complete with an interwoven grille and the DS logo sitting proudly in the centre. In addition there is further badging on the bonnet, wheel hubs, door sills and throughout the car.
The wings have been re-shaped in a way designers claim is a nod to that historical 1955 model and there are xenon full LED headlights with sequential indicators.
And with the likes of Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes in its sights the interior needs to be pretty special – and it is.
The car is kitted out with the very finest leathers and materials and the seats in particular deserve a mention for their stunning watchstrap design patterns that really do stand out from the norm.
Add in a massage function and it’s easy to see why DS bosses have high hopes for the car.
It oozes refinement and elegance with a state-of-the-art colour touchscreen which has resulted in a reduction of 12 buttons. This helps to create a very driver-focused and clutter-free interior whilst still offering all the entertainment and connectivity options that customers demand these days.
Buyers can choose from a number of engines including a new THP 165 petrol powertrain, but more importantly three highly efficient BlueHDi diesel variants plus a Euro 6 compliant Hybrid 4×4 drivetrain.
And there are two new very richly-equipped trim levels – Elegance and Prestige – with prices starting from £25,980 and rising to £34,890.
I had the opportunity to test out the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 S&S model in range-topping Prestige trim mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. This car was priced at £29,560 (£31,710 with options) and can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 10.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. It can achieve combined fuel efficiency of 68.9mpg with carbon emissions of 105g/km.
It has to be said from the moment you step inside the car it’s difficult not to be wowed by the build quality and levels of sophistication that surround you. The DS 5 has a truly premium feel about it and the on-board technology is impressive with all the infotainment systems you could wish for.
The head-up display is adjustable and offers all the important information in your eye-line and the company’s MirrorLink system effectively hooks you up to a smartphone. Another eye-catching feature is the upright rectangular clock which is another hint at the company’s styling ethos.
And when it comes to performance, the car is an absolute winner. The acceleration is sharp through the manual gearbox and there is a constant supply of power on tap. There is a little engine noise when pushed particularly hard, but otherwise the car is beautifully insulated.
One area the new DS 5 has certainly improved upon is the ride quality. The outgoing model often came under fire for the poor comfort levels caused primarily by the hard suspension.
But new DS 5 boasts advanced shock absorber technology to help iron out some of the road’s creases along the way.
Comfort levels are excellent with ample space for three adults in the rear and the boot can accommodate 456 litres of luggage with the rear seats in an upright position. Another feature worthy of note is the three-part glass roof which allows light to flood into the cabin to create a light, bright and warm environment for all occupants.
The next car to be tested was the top-of-the-range 2.0-litre diesel Hybrid 4×4 model in Prestige grade with six-speed automated transmission, priced at £34,890 (£36,490 with extras fitted). This car can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds and boasts a top speed of 131mph. According to official figures it can deliver an average fuel efficiency of 72.4mpg with carbon emissions of 103g/km.
The engine is mated to an electric motor and they deliver a combined 200bhp which means plenty of zip out of those starting blocks and a steady flow of power.
Once again this model was kitted out with all the techno treats you could wish for plus a little bit more. For the Hybrid version can be driven in electric-only mode, auto, sport or 4WD and the instrumentation offers plenty of information regarding charge and power levels etc.
Despite the price hike for this particular vehicle, it would be ideal for anyone living in an area where congestion charges apply or someone who would make use of the 4WD capabilities… or even someone looking for something with a little bit of extra daring and flair thrown in.
All in all, the new DS 5 really does throw down the gauntlet to the premium marques. It’s beautifully-crafted, packed with innovative technology and creature comforts, boasts excellent driving dynamics, delivers impressive economy and comes complete with a price-tag that is competitive too.
So the DS 5 is certainly worthy of its title as the flagship of DS Automobiles and we look forward to what’s coming next. According to DS chiefs we can expect six DS models to be on offer in the UK by 2020.
Citroen DS5 DSPORT Hybrid4 200 Airdream (PRE-2015)
Inspired by the world of aviation, Citroen’s stunning DS5 has all the wow factor you could wish for and more technical wizardry than any Bond movie.
With sweeping lines, this space-age-styled car looks gorgeous from any angle thanks to eye-catching 19-inch black and grey alloys, LED headlights, twin oval exhaust pipes, tinted rear and tailgate windows and carefully positioned DS logos that act as a gentle reminder that the car is a little bit out of the ordinary.
And once you take your seat – leather and heated of course – the interior layout would not look out of place on a light aircraft.
There are even 12 overhead buttons and levers controlling features such as the three-part glass sunroof, interior lighting and SOS functions.
The on-board technology is amazing and its layout just as impressive with all controls, buttons and readouts ideally positioned for driver usability.
Creature comforts include dual-zone digital air conditioning, cruise control, sat nav, a colour head-up display, a flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel , electronic parking brake plus a great sound system that is compatible with all today’s media devices.
The spacious interior can easily accommodate five adults and the back seat passengers are treated to ample leg, head and elbow space.
And storage won’t be an issue either as the DS5 features a generously-sized boot, complete with under-floor compartment. Elsewhere, there are numerous useful storage options throughout the cabin including a deep bucket that runs underneath the central console separating the front seats.
Thanks to a fairly high driving position and larger than life windows, the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility. But it’s the level of comfort that cannot fail to impress. Even after a lengthy two-hour test drive, I still felt really refreshed. And traffic jams pose no problem either as there will always be another feature within the car to explore as you wait for the queues to dwindle.
The driver can select from a choice of driving modes and the DS5 features a very smooth and responsive automatic transmission with the option of changing gears manually via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts if so desired.
To be honest, it was hard to find fault with this car’s all-round performance and driving dynamics. It handled beautifully both in busy built up traffic and out on the faster motorways and country lanes. However, if I were to be really picky then there was a fair amount of engine noise within the cabin at times.
As one would expect from a major car manufacturer these days, the DS5 boasts a comprehensive list of safety features and driving aids such as a lane departure warning system and a reversing camera, all of which helped the car achieve the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings.
All in all, the DS5 – the third in Citroen’s DS range – is a dream to drive. Admittedly at £32.2k it’s not a cheap option, but it is quality through and through and that’s hard to put a price on.