Stunning ds5 – French flair is sure to worry German rivals

 

By Philip Hedderman

Living in the shadow of an icon is not easy.

That burden becomes almost unbearable when it’s coupled with the weight of expectation.

You see, the reinvention or rebirth of a brand ain’t such a simple task when you are talking about one of the most important cars of the 20th century.

It’s more than just a badge – it’s a massive part of automotive history and a very proud one at that.

Designed by an aeronautical engineer and styled by an Italian sculptor, the DS caused such a sensation at its debut in 1955 that 12,000 were ordered in the first day.

It was also the most technically advanced car of the post war era and was the first mass produced vehicle to come with power steering, disk brakes, cornering headlamps and of course the now legendary hydraulic self-levelling suspension.

These innovations brought luxury to the middle classes ofEuropeand “magic carpet-like” ride won over 1.5 million fans world wide in its 20 years of production.

So, no pressure then on the new all-new DS range?

The first offering was the DS3 which we loved in every way especially the floating roof, LED clusters and massive scoops on the front bumper.

The DS4, being all things to all men – hatchback/MPV/coupe had us equally enthralled in a peculiar kinda way, but the DS5 would be the real test.

You’re now playing with the big boys, namely the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4, so you need to be top of your game.

And boy, it didn’t disappoint.

What a fabulous looking car this is.

Check out the flowing lines, floating roof and the savage-looking chrome sabers which encapsulate the whole front running from the headlight units to the double A-pillars.

These are complimented by the defining, scooped-out fog light clusters, which come with drilled airvents giving the impression of LED lights.

Inside though will simply take your breath away with its mesmerising aviation-inspired cockpit, which wraps around the driver.

The black glass roof is split down the middle with space-age central console peppered with a montage of buttons and toggle switches that wouldn’t look out of place in a Gulf Jetstream.

The interior is pure opulence with watch strap leather upholstery coupled with soft touch surfaces and the same brushed aluminium used by Aston Martin.
In fact, I’d even say that the DS5 boasts the best designed cabin in the world today.

It is the only thing on the planet that can sympathise with Samantha Brick on the burden of being beautiful.

So, if the drive comes even close to its physical attraction, Citroen have cracked it.

The mid range 2.0 litre, 163bhp diesel is a fine engine with oceans of power, torque and acceleration.

She has a 0-100kph sprint of 8.2 seconds and a top en of 215 kph which is decent enough.

It purred like a kitten, was never left wanting and was most at home cruising on a motorway.

It also mega economical too – residing in Tax Band B meaning annual road tax of €225.

The steering is refined and light yet still informed – thanks to a mix of hydraulic/electric assisted gizmos keeping that all-important connectivity with the chassis and road.

It’s loaded with gadgets too like smart beam fog lamps, sat nav, and colour head-up display.

There is a decent-sized boot too with 465 litres of luggage space – pretty much the same as the 3 Series and the A4.

Unfortunately the DS5 is let down by the ride which is all too often, choppy.

Maybe that’s down to the massive 18 inch alloys or the use of the not-so-refined rear torsion beam suspension.

Many Citroen fans and indeed buyers will probably expect the “magic carpet ride” and are going to be left hugely disappointed.

It was the one thing we expected as a given.

It seems the designers and engineers blew the entire budget on the look and ignored the one big selling point of the original DS – the hydro pneumatic self-levelling suspension.

We’re hoping the 200bhp Hybrid 4 diesel/electric variant (similar unit used in the Peugeot 3008) twinned to an automatic gearbox will iron out the few niggles.

Prices for the Citroen DS5 start from €32,500.