This year’s Frankfurt show looks to be full of interesting launches. After a shaky year or two for the auto industry, evidenced by cautious show presence and visibly reduced show budgets, there’s a renewed sense of optimism with some stretchy concepts and important production models, mainly from the European OEMs.
Citroen’s DS sub-brand has been watched closely by auto strategists. Taking a relatively conventional series of models as a basis, giving each a unique bodystyle and interior finishes, and positioning it as an upmarket premium offering has had mixed results. The DS3 has, through a bewildering array of customisation options, managed to sell well and stay reasonably exclusive. The DS4, recently launched to middling praise, will probably become even more exclusive..
So the DS5 was previewed last week.
It’s loosely based on the C5 platform, but with a high-package stance for improved practicality. An intriguing Hybrid powertrain, shared with Peugeot, also makes its debut here. The exterior certainly has presence, with some unusual detail that nudges, some might say, into the ‘bling’ category. For instance, there’s an unusual satin ‘blade’ that sweeps back from the LED headlamp back to the A-pillar, which, being unkind, perhaps the car would look a bit odd without..
It certainly breaks up the bulk of the front fender but one wonders how it’ll look a few years down the line.
The DS5’s best view is from the rear with a squat, chunky stance that makes it look more powerful than it is. Shame there’s a toy rear-wiper spoiling the clean lines…
It’s the interior though that really sets this car apart from the sombre German default. Taking business-aircraft as an inspiration, and adding a healthy dose of French luxe, it’s plush, almost decadent. There’s the bracelet-style seating detailing first seen on the DS4, here repeated throughout the car. The aluminium detailing around the seats, though not adding function, links more clearly with designer furniture than automotive seating.
An unmarked analogue clock, reminiscent of a Patek Phillipe clock, takes aptly enough, a slightly off-centre pride-of-place on the centre-stack.
It’s a detail, but it’s these elements that keep the feel-good factor high; vital from an ownership proposition. Non-symmetrical controls for the A/C controls and radio somehow add to the dynamic feel of the interior..symmetry might have reduced the drama.
An overhead console with an excellent button-count fools you into thinking you could be starting up AirWolf.
Repeated on the lower console are the same beautifully fluid pull-toggles.
Definitely shades of the classic CX interior…
…and far more interesting than the more recent C6 effort, this is the best Citroen interior for years. The French company still has an uphill struggle convincing cautious owners to spend their money on this rather than the default German opposition, but the package and powertrain perhaps might make the decision more justifiable. Vive la France!