DS4 Performance Line
By Bill McCarthy
IT’S a bit of a juggling act when you have two very similar brands. In this case DS and Citroen. How do you share much of the technology but give each a distinct and separate identity?
By making sure your audience knows yours is a premium product by backing that up with style and panache. This smart DS 4, to my mind the best I have driven, offers sleek aerodynamic styling with slim LED matrix headlights flanking a deep, black grille. To the rear slim light clusters incorporate a clever diamond design.
What can come as a surprise to passengers for the first time are the flush door handles, which pop out when the door is unlocked via keyless entry and settle back into place when the door is closed.
The E-TENSE plug-in hybrid badging is prominent front and rear and dark tinted rear windows add that extra bit of class.
The interior is a masterclass of clever design and comfort and also features the running jewel-like theme, with diamond-shaped controls on the dash and a seven-inch centre console which controls infotainment, connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and navigation.
Other nice touches include stitched upholstery, aluminium pedals and ambient lighting.
Below the touchscreen is a slim panel of controls with a starter button set in the centre and below that is another touchscreen next to the gear selector where you can finger swipe to access six programmable favourites on the main screen.
Space for the front occupants is good but can feel a bit cramped to the rear because of the sloping roof.
Goodies on this model include an eight-speaker sound system, Bluetooth® handsfree and media streaming with USB socket and 3D navigation system, plus a host of safety kit including head-up display and assisted parking.
On the road, performance is impressive with the hybrid combination powering the car to 60mph in just 7.7 seconds. Economy is pretty good, with the official 200-odd mpg figure nearer the mid-50s mark. Otherwise, the car can run on electric only for around 40 miles.
Mated with an eight-speed auto transmission it moves sweetly through the gears with little hesitation.
The handling is decent, it feels well-planted on bends with responsive steering. It provides a comfortable rather than sporty ride with this range-topping model featuring Active Scan which uses a camera to map the road head and alter the damping to the prevailing conditions, smoothing out the ride substantially.
In practical terms, boot space is good with 390 litres expanding to 1,190 litres with the seats folded, giving really usable stowage space, with plenty of other storage areas throughout.
It is packed with safety equipment with a host of active and passive aids which includes a full set of airbags, stability control and all sorts of traffic, pedestrian and driver alerts.
DS 4 Performance Line + E-TENSE 225
Mechanical: 1,698cc 225bhp petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via hit speed auto transmission
Max Speed: 145 mph
0-62mph: 7.7 secs
Combined MPG: 201mpg,
Insurance Group: 31
C02 emissions: 27-35 g/km
Bik rating: 11%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles