We drove the 360 HP DS9 E-Tense 4×4 in Nice… and witnessed the launch of the DS Supercar!

Arriving late last night from Nice, we report you here immediately about the wonderful driving experience with the most powerful DS9, enjoying its pure GT talents over the winding roads around Grasse and the iconic Côte d’Azur. We will soon tell you more about it.

But the gentlemen of DS Automobiles did even more than just letting us have a drive in their flagship DS9, they also unveiled in the flesh at their press conference a wonderful Supercar, with absolutely stunning looks and performance.

DS Automobiles puts their E-Formula racing experience into practice on our roads… What to think of 815 HP or 600 kW, developed by two electric motors of 250 kW in the front, and 350 kW driving the rear wheels.

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is done in a fantastic 2 seconds…and the car is a beauty too!

Much more about this superfast E-“bolide” and the impressive top-level DS9 soon on these pages!

Hans Knol ten Bensel    

Porsche launches the “T” version of its Macan: exclusive sportiness…

The letter T has represented a unique form of dynamic driving at Porsche since the 1960s. It stands for ‘Touring’ and identifies models that offer an especially authentic driving experience thanks to precise tuning, exclusive equipment and efficient engines.

It all started in ’68 with the Porsche 911 T. Lightweight and dynamic. Your servant vividly remembers being at the wheel of this “Ur” 911 T… I drove it full bore on the winding small roads along the Leie in the region of Deurle.

The same recipe maximizing agility is used for the Macan T.  Besides the sportier setup, it has a lightweight, two-litre turbo engine. This concept positions the Macan T between the Macan and the Macan S.

Lightweight, for an agile response

The two-litre, four-cylinder turbo engine of the Macan T combines, Porsche says, “great agility, low weight and a compact design to create a package that offers an ideal balance of weight and performance.”Compared to the 2.9-litre biturbo V6 engine in the Macan S and GTS models, the powertrain in the Macan T weighs 58.8 kg less on the front axle.

Power galore

The Macan T has an output of 195 kW (265 PS) and 400 Nm of torque. The engine is coupled with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (PDK) and the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system. A broad spread of torque provides, according to Porsche, “responsive acceleration in all driving situations.” When fitted with the standard Sport Chrono Package including the mode switch and Sport Response button on the steering wheel, the Macan T accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 232 km/h.

Specially tuned chassis lowered by 15 millimetres or more

The Macan T is the only Porsche model to feature steel suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard, combined with the body being lowered by 15 mm. The anti-roll bars on the front axle are more rigid and the car’s chassis tuning has been optimized to create the perfect suspension for the vehicle and powertrain, resulting in very responsive steering behavior and agile handling.

Get the tail out sideways…

The Porsche Traction Management (PTM) has also been adapted to the driving demands of the Macan T and has been specially designed with a rear-wheel bias. Adding adaptive air suspension with PASM and lowering the body by a further 10 mm is also an option – a new feature for Macan models with four-cylinder engines. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) can also be added: the system has been adapted to the dynamic characteristics of the T model and further sharpens the driving dynamics.

Exclusive details inside and out

Design elements painted in Agate Grey Metallic on the front, flank and rear of the Macan T differentiate the vehicle from other models in the series. The exclusive contrast colour can be seen on the painted front trim, exterior mirrors, side blades, roof spoiler and logos on the rear. Sports tailpipes and side window trims in Black (high gloss) are included as standard and the side blades feature the ‘Macan T’ logo in Black. Twenty-inch Macan S wheels, exclusively in dark titanium, come as standard. Customers can choose from a range of 13 plain, metallic and special colours for the exterior.

The interior of the Macan T has its own distinct ambience. The standard, eight-way electrically adjustable heated sports seats feature an upholstery based on the Black leather package. The centres of the front seats and the outer rear seats are delivered with the Sport-Tex Stripe pattern and the front headrests each have an embossed Porsche crest. The contrasting colour from the exterior continues inside the vehicle in the form of decorative silver stitching on the seats, headrests and steering wheel.

Porsche panache in the cabin

Standard equipment also includes a multifunction GT heated sports steering wheel and the Sport Chrono stopwatch in the upper part of the dashboard. The door entry guards come in black aluminium as standard and feature a Macan T logo. Optional features include the multifunction GT sports steering wheel in Race-Tex with carbon trims and an ioniser.

The Macan T also benefits from all of the new elements of the model generation revised in summer 2021, such as the new centre console with its sophisticated glass-look and touch-sensitive surface, as well as the fully networked Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with a 10.9-inch touch screen and online navigation as standard.

Soon on our roads…

The new model is available to order now. Deliveries in Germany will commence in April 2022.

More Porsche news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW launches visually appealing “Gold Play” edition for is X2…

The distinctive design of the BMW X2 projects a sense of athleticism that reflects the car’s sporty driving properties, according to BMW, and we can agree. Now the dynamic brand from Munich adds some additional zest to its X2 range.

It launches a new special edition of the compact Sports Activity Coupé with visually more striking exterior touches and creates an interior ambience distilled to maximise driving pleasure.

The BMW X2 xDrive25e plug-in hybrid, super-sporting BMW X2 M35i and all other engine variants will be available in this special-edition form from March 2022.

The new special edition combines equipment highlights, such as the extended M High-gloss Shadow Line, the “X2” logo projection from the driver’s side mirror or the optionally available Adaptive LED Headlights including a four-segment matrix high-beam headlight function, turning lights and adaptive light distribution, with exclusive exterior details and special interior appointments.

More BMW news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Lexus lifts a veil of its BEV Sport Concept car: formidable!

Lexus has released a gallery of new pictures and animations of its possible next-generation BEV Sport, Sedan and SUV concepts. The models were first revealed on December 14, 2021, in the corporate battery electric vehicle (BEV) announcement made by Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President and Lexus Brand Holder. The new Sedan, Sport and SUV concepts are proposed to be part of a full line-up of BEVs Lexus recently unveiled under the collective vision known as “Lexus Electrified.”

We show you here already some photos of the absolutely stunning all electric sports car…

It has bold proportions and low ride height, and of course all the sophisticated aerodynamics typical for a high-performance sports car.

According to Lexus, the Lexus BEV Sport concept symbolizes the future of the luxury brand, while also reviving the spirit of the iconic Lexus LFA.

The performance is nothing short of sensational. What to think of acceleration from 0-60 mph in the low two-seconds bracket, with at the same time a cruising distance which could exceed 430 miles, thanks to the possible use of solid-state batteries.

More news to come, also on the BEV Sedan an SUV Concept cars, but just admire already the breathtaking shape of this BEV Sport “Bolide”…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Look on your screen(s) at the new MINI World…

The new MINI Edition models are due to hit the showrooms in spring 2022. For the first time, all current models of the tradition-steeped British premium car manufacturer will be launched at the same time, each in its own special edition. The market launch will be accompanied by an equally novel form of communication. An international campaign under the claim BIG LOVE presents the MINI 3 door with the all-electric variant MINI Cooper SE as a highlight, along with the MINI 5 door and the MINI Convertible in the Resolute Edition, the MINI Clubman in the Untold Edition and the MINI Countryman in the Untamed Edition – each as an individual vehicle character in a virtual world of its own. Each is showcased in surprising and impressive style in a 100 per cent digital format using the very latest full CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) animation technology.

The campaign adopts an integrated approach that makes use of all MINI brand communication channels along the customer journey. The numerous visual content formats targeted at the sales funnel creates a completely new look: using everything from AR animations, stories and reels through to various types of online ad, MINI gears its content precisely towards a digital-savvy audience. The innovative approach adopted by the BIG LOVE launch campaign enables MINI to address target groups in the markets even more selectively, closely aligning it with local priorities…

The central building blocks of the campaign are computer-generated images and virtual animated films. Using 3D computer graphics, images and films are created showing detailed vehicles in a setting that transcends the boundaries of reality.

The MINI Edition models always play the leading role in the animated short films. Each model is showcased and brought to life in its own lively animated world. The protagonists of the films are presented with their exclusive design and equipment features, demonstrating hallmark MINI go-kart feeling with state-of-the-art visual effects – without the cars ever touching a real road.

The campaign also includes the launch of an online showroom by MINI where fans of the brand can interactively find out about the new Edition models with pictures, videos and 360-degree views. The new vehicles can be viewed on a digital turntable from all conceivable perspectives, both as an overall image in wide angle and via close-ups that clearly show all the details. The showroom for the new MINI Edition models will go online at http://www.MINI.com as well as on the various country websites. The campaign is also available for use by all MINI dealers and branches.

So, MINI lovers, get behind your screens!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Alfa Romeo presents Tonale, bringing a metamorphosis of the brand…

Alfa Romeo presented on February 8th its Tonale, the model that marks the Brand’s metamorphosis. Of course Alfa remains true to its DNA of noble Italian sportsmanship since 1910, but the Tonale a radical evolution is taking place at Alfa Romeo. It enters a new era of connectivity and electrification.

We bring you here in this first report the main points, of course, more will follow when we see the car ‘in the flesh’ at further presentations.

The Tonale breathes unique Italian design, being extraordinarily faithful to the concept model which you see here on the photo above, which we could admire feel and touch at the Centro Stile.

The car embodies state-of-the-art technology, Alfa says, with software and electrification systems enhancing the Brand’s DNA. With the launch of this car, Alfa also deploys a universe of innovative, customer-focused services. See more below…

The Tonale has a clear mission: reinventing sportiness for the 21st century. The name marks the evolutionary continuity with Stelvio, a fascinating new road that leads to a new destination: the future.

The car is made in Italy, at the revamped “Giambattista Vico” plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, according to Alfa one of the most advanced production plants in the automotive world, where a dedicated assembly line has been built with cutting-edge technology and high levels of automation.

The technology in the Tonale is aimed at enhancing the unique Alfa driving experience, but not only that: it also wants to bring the customer experience at another level and sets steps to protecting its residual value.

Indeed, in a a world exclusive, Tonale is the first car on the market equipped with a NFT (non-fungible token) digital certificate. Based on blockchain technology and uniquely linked, the Tonale NFT certifies the car upon purchase, then evolves to represent its use during the car’s life cycle, with major benefits in terms of protecting its residual value. With the customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used as a guarantee that the car has been properly maintained, with a positive impact on its residual value. On the pre-owned car market, NFT certification represents an additional source of credibility for owners or dealers to count on. In the meantime, buyers will be reassured in their choice of car.

The Tonale also sports an all-new infotainment system. Totaling 22.5”, the two large Full TFT screens are installed.

The world of Amazon in your Alfa…

The infotainment system is designed to offer Over-the-Air updates and integration with Amazon Alexa.

There is a complete integration with Amazon: courtesy of the “Secure Delivery Service”, you can choose the Tonale as the place to deliver the packages you are expecting, by unlocking the doors and letting the courier leave them inside the car, all completely safely.

You can also receive constant updates on vehicle status from the comfort of your home, find out the level of charge and/or fuel, search for points of interest, find your car’s latest location, send remote locking and unlocking commands, and much more. “Alexa” can also be used to ask to add products to your shopping list, to search for a restaurant nearby or to adjust lights or heating connected to your home automation system, all while remaining focused on the road.  

The technology is also focusing on safety, with level 2 ADAS systems.

Cabin comfort is of course not neglected. Alfa tells us that the cabin environment is designed for and around the occupants, with meticulous attention to detail, paired with a constant quest for the highest quality.

Two levels of electrification – Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Q4, developed by Alfa Romeo.

State-of-the-art electrification: this electrification serves the Brand and its DNA, with the mission of reinventing sportiness for the 21st century, Alfa announces.

The Tonale debuts the 160-hp Hybrid VGT (Variable-Geometry Turbo) engine, an exclusive for Alfa Romeo. Its variable-geometry turbocharger paired with 7-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch transmission and the 48-volt 15-kW, 55-Nm “P2” electric motor makes it possible for the 1.5-liter gasoline engine to propel the wheels even when the internal combustion engine is turned off.

Alfa Romeo has opted for this technical solution to offer an authentic electrified experience. The transmission enables startup and travel in electric mode at low speeds and when parking and cruising. At launch, the 130-hp Hybrid version is also available, again paired with 7-speed Alfa Romeo TCT and 48-volt “P2” electric motor.

The 275-hp Plug-in Hybrid Q4 version with all-wheel drive is has an expected range in electric mode of up to 80 km in the city cycle. It is the most powerful and efficient version in the line-up.

To complete the engine range, there is also a new 1.6-liter, 130-hp diesel engine with 320 Nm of torque, paired with 6-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

Customers at the center of the Alfa Romeo universe…

With Tonale, Alfa Romeo launches a series of new services, which redefine the customer experience and will cover the brand’s entire line-up.

A digital experience:  the customer purchase experience can take place online from the comfort of home, in three simple steps, by accessing an interface identical to the one used in dealerships.

Extended warranty: Efforts to improve the quality of the end product have resulted in the availability of an innovative Alfa Romeo extended warranty, lengthening the protection of the vehicle’s main components to 5 years. The warranty for the batteries in the hybrid Tonale versions has also been extended to 8 years or 150,000 km traveled, becoming the best offer in the segment.

Alfa Romeo Certified is the dedicated to customers in the pre-owned car market. The aim is to ensure a shopping experience that is identical to that of buying a new vehicle. The main features of the service are as follows:

Warranty coverage equivalent to that of a new car.

 “Satisfaction or your money back”, within 10 days or 1,000 km

No maintenance costs, for 15,000 km or 1 year

120 vehicle checks

Customized after-sales and financing services

Test drive

24/7 roadside assistance in Europe during the warranty period

Finally, Alfa Romeo Videocheck is the service dedicated to after-sales, created in consideration of the special relationship its customers have with their car. One sole aim: service quality and transparency for customers. When at a workshop, if a car is found to need more work than agreed with the customer, the technicians will be required to follow a procedure via mobile app to certify the work, with a video to accompany the related repair costs. The customer will then be free to partially or fully accept or reject the new quote.

Driving dynamics…

Rather impeccable, according to Alfa. It has the best weight distribution and the most direct steering in its segment (13.6), and the fact it is the only model in its class to be equipped with the Integrated Brake System (IBS). The adoption of fixed calipers by Brembo, with 4 pistons and self-ventilated discs at the front and full discs at the rear, contributes to the improved braking performance.

The Tonale opts for the fully independent MacPherson suspension system, with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers. The new Tonale offers two drive solutions: Q4 all-wheel drive in the Plug-in Hybrid e-Q4 version, and front-wheel drive in the Hybrid and diesel versions. The latter are also equipped with Alfa Romeo electronic self-locking differential. The specifications are completed with a “Dual Stage Valve” active suspension with electronically controlled damping.

New line-up strategy

The Alfa Romeo Tonale introduces a new line-up strategy.

Two trim levels are available – Super and Ti, both with clearly defined specifications. The Super trim can be customized with the Sprint pack, which includes numerous options with a strong sporty connotation. Alternatively, the Ti trim can be added to with the Veloce pack, to reach the peak in terms of performance and sportiness.

More Alfa news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Opel presented new Opel Astra Sports Tourer in Brussels…

Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz presented in world premiere the new Astra Sports Tourer

The Opel Astra Sports Tourer would have its world premiere at the Brussels Motorshow 2022. This car is, after the new Astra Hatchback, the first Opel estate car with the new expressive Opel Vizor front and the Pure Panel, the digital dashboard. As you can see from the photos, it combines a number of distinctive features: functionality, elegance, sportiness and generous, modular interior space.

Opel therefore organized a press conference at the stylish The Merode in Brussels on Tuesday 1 February, to present the two variants of this new generation Opel Astra.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Mr. Uwe Hochgeschurtz, the new Opel CEO, lifted the veil of this new Astra.  This is the first Opel estate to be electrified. In addition, the sports estate from Rüsselsheim will be optionally available in stylish two-tone paint. Like that of the five-door model soon to make its debut at dealerships, the Sports Tourer’s interior is also thoroughly redesigned.

For the first time, drivers will find the fully digital Pure Panel cockpit in front of them – the next generation of the fully connected and intuitively operable Human Machine Interface (HMI). Utilising the integrated Snapdragon® Cockpit Platform from Qualcomm Technologies, the Pure Panel cockpit features enhanced graphics, multimedia, computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to provide a more integrated, contextually aware and constantly adaptive cockpit system that evolves to its passengers’ preferences.

There is no need for cables in the new Astra Sports Tourer either, since the new generation of multimedia infotainment systems can be connected as standard on all model variants to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via compatible smartphones. Here, too, the maxim was to create a clear, fully functional high-tech design that does not appear cold and impersonal, but rather conveys a feeling of security.

Efficient estate…

The Astra Sports Tourer with vital statistics of 4,642 x 1,860 x 1,480 millimetres (L x W x H) and a loading height of around 600 mm, displays the brand’s typical talent for efficient packaging.

To keep the loading sill low, the number plate, for example, is not located in the bumper – unlike in the five-door model – but in the tailgate. This makes it easier to load the completely flat rear compartment with luggage or equipment. And despite the considerably longer wheelbase of 2,732 mm (+70 mm) that is even 57 mm longer than that of the new Astra hatchback and increases cabin comfort for passengers, the new Astra Sports Tourer is 60 mm shorter than the previous model, thanks to the particularly short front overhang. 

Opel will soon open the order books for the new Astra Sports Tourer so that customers can configure their dream vehicle.

A bold electrified future…

Opel is also embarked on an electrification offensive in this New Year. Eleven Opel models will be electrified by mid-2022 – including Opel’s entire light commercial vehicle (LCV) range. En route to an emissions-free fleet, some models will exclusively be offered as battery-electric variants this year already.

Indeed, customers can now order the Opel Combo Life, Vivaro Combi and Zafira Life exclusively with an electric drive.

“There is no alternative to electrification. In the future, Opel will gain even more traction with environmentally friendly innovations. And what shows us the rapid change again very clearly: From 2024, we will offer an electrified version of every Opel model, without exception. In other words, the successors to Crossland and Insignia will also be electrified. Our statement is clear: From 2028, we will exclusively sell battery-electric vehicles in Europe,” stated Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz. (See photo above).

In the coming months, the new generation of the Opel Astra will be the linchpin of the Rüsselsheim-based brand’s electrification offensive. After celebrating its premiere in September 2021, the new Astra five-door will arrive at customers in the spring – and will be available as a plug-in hybrid right from the start. In 2023, the purely battery-electric Astra-e will complete the range. The emissions-free product portfolio with the Blitz already ranges from the Opel Rocks-e lightweight vehicle to the large Opel Movano-e van.

More Opel news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The new Škoda Enyaq iV Coupé virtually unveiled…

The new Enyaq Coupé in RS version will be first in the showrooms….

Also Škoda is convinced that the future is electric. On January 31st they presented for us the all electric Škoda Enyaq iV Coupé. It will be initially only available in the RS version, which promises to be rather formidable if one reads the figures: an acceleration form 0 to 100 km/h in 6,5 seconds, charging time from 10 to 80 % in under 30 minutes, a range of 545 km.

Oliver Stefani, Head of Design shows the sleek roofline of the new Skoda…

At the same time, this new version remains typically Škoda: spacious and practical. The luggage compartment is a massive 570 liters… and of course it has lots of “Simply Clever” features.

At the virtual presentation, we saw Jens Katemann, Head of Communications of Škoda Auto leading us into the Kino Lucerna,

the oldest still operating cinema theatre in the Czech Republic, and introducing us to the actress driving the Enyaq iV Coupé in the film, Ana Geislerova, and Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Škoda Auto. (Photo below, from left to right).

Jens Katemann, Head of Communications of Škoda Auto, Ana Geislerova, and Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Škoda Auto.

The film starts with the CEO Thomas Schäfer running in the woods towards a vantage point, embodying the will to go (ever) forward, and looking into the (electrical) future.

CEO Thomas Schäfer running

and looking out into the future…

Then we are introduced to Johannes Neft, board member Technical development, and further to Oliver Stefani, Head of Design.

Inspiration through perspective…Olivier Stefani, Head of Design.

Actress Ana Geislerova then lovingly caresses the roofline of the sleek coupé,

and takes the wheel… for an exhilarating drive;

The second part of the film presents the RS version, which will be offered first to the eager customers, and it tells the story of a Czech teenage girl who drives the first RS Coupé, based on the rear engined MB 1000.

The person is now is some decades older, but remains in love wih life and freedom,

and of course drives now the new coupé…

I couldn’t resist showing you here some clips of this film…

The bold green colour is exclusive to the RS version…

The cars themselves are then presented in more detail by CEO Thomas Schäfer and his team. We show you here also some clips, revealing the car more in detail…

More soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the DS9 E-Tense 225: French elegance and panache…

In the hearts of many, the longing for a sleek, timelessly beautiful French limousine never fades. So when DS Automobiles was born, such a car was a must. The tradition of the original DS, serving as the true “voiture présidentielle” has also to be kept. So here she awakens again, as the noble “savoir vivre” alternative to the established German competition. The DS9. We tested the plug-in-hybrid version of course, fitting to this time and age…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

This DS9 is indeed elegant. With a regal wheelbase of 2,9 meters and a total length of 4,93 meters, the stylists were able to draw fluent lines and contours of an uncanny noblesse. The added details are reminiscent of its iconic predecessors, like the position lights close to the roof line.

This regal panache continues in the cabin. Noblesse oblige. Your eyes meet the superb clock in the middle of the dashboard, with the lozenge shaped start/stop button right below it.

You can select also this lozenge theme for the dials in the electronic screen ahead of you, to add a bit of Art Déco atmosphere to it all. Your servant just loved this, as well as the finely chiseled surfaces of the rotating knobs on the steering wheel and the centre console. We love this tension between rounded shapes and rakish angularity. Voisin also used this in his magnificent automobiles.

The cabin is beautifully finished, with the seats not only looking opulent, but also cocooning you in soothing armchair comfort. Leg room at the rear is of course nothing short of presidential.

The infotainment is top notch, the expertise of the former PSA and now even larger Stellantis group sees to that. Embedded in this now world wide group, for DS automobiles, further future oriented electrification and revolutionary system/software platforms are in the cards. As one knows and has been written already in these columns, DS is very ambitious when it comes to future electrification.

Smooth hybrid power

We tested the E-Tense 225 version, with the 181 HP 1,6 litre petrol engine coupled via an 8 speed automatic transmission to a 110 HP electric motor, resulting in a total system power of 225 HP. Sounds familiar? Indeed it does, as we found the same drivetrain on the DS4 E-Tense.

We already applauded the good qualities of this drivetrain, the prompt and vigorous accelerations, the overall smoothness. As the DS9 is somewhat heavier than the DS4 with its 1914 kg, the 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time is slighty slower, some 8,7 seconds, but on the other hand the top speed due to the more slippery limousine bodywork is a solid 240 km/h.

The DS9 will however rather invite you to some leisurely cruising, inspired as you are by the comfortable suspension which like in the higher end versions of the DS4 electronically scans the road surface ahead of you and adapts the active suspension accordingly. DS Automobiles calls it DS ACTIVE SCAN SUSPENSION, and we described it already in our columns.

Sound insulation is magnificent, remember that the doors have not less than three rubber seals to insulate the cabin from its surroundings, and double glazed windows. Needless to say that one truly enjoys the excellent sound system, and can listen delightfully to French chanson or baroque music.

Our test car had an electric radius of about 50 kilometers, thanks to its 11,9 kW battery. In our columns you could already read that there’s now a DS 9 E-TENSE 250 in the showrooms, featuring a 200 hp 4-cylinder PureTech engine, accompanied by the same 80 kW (110 hp) electric motor. The car has a new 15.6 kWh (total capacity) battery, with an unchanged number of cells, delivering now up to 70 kilometers on the WLTP city cycle (EAER City) or 61 kilometers on the WLTP combined cycle with an unchanged vehicle weight. The 7.4 kW on-board charger also allows charging from 0-100% in merely 2 hours and 23 minutes. See our article with the following link: https://autoprova.be/2021/12/03/the-ds-9-e-tense-gets-an-increased-e-range-and-extra-power/

Built in China…

I find it always fascinating to read how the present large automotive groups go about manufacturing their products on a global scale. The DS9 is also typical example. The DS9 runs on the EMP2 modular technical platform of the PSA group, and is built in the Chinese city of Shenzhen by the Baoneng group.

Related (bigger) cars built on this EMP2 platform are the Peugeot 508 and the… Donfeng FengshenA9, an executive sedan produced by the Dongfeng Motor Corporation under the Dongfeng Fengshen sub-brand, until 2019.

Citroën sells a new car named C6 in China on this platform since the end of 2016 and apparently until now, also as an executive saloon. All these cars have the same 2,9 meter wheelbase. This C6 is built in Wuhan, of all places…

Frugal… depending on how you use it.

With PHEV’s it is always the same story. Consumption depends on how you use it. Frequent recharging and short distances will enable you to run it on E-power, if you let the petrol engine do all the work, then it depends on the efficiency of the engine and your driving style. The manufacturer quotes a minimum consumption of 1,5 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 34 g/km.

Practical

The DS9 is first of all a comfortable limousine, and your excellent companion on long distances or a posh urban drive to restaurant or opera. Boot space is sufficient with 355 litres, as you can fold the rear backrests back to enlarge cargo space to 825 litres.

For the rear passengers, there is a wide central armrest with lots of space for drinking glasses and sundry.

Conclusion

This sleek executive saloon makes a statement in the Executive segment, with its stylish panache and focus on ultimate comfort. It represents a true alternative in design and concept, and its lavish standard equipment makes it also stand out versus the competition.

So we repeat what we said about the DS4, if you want to take a different path in luxurious and refined motoring, grab the leather stitched wheel of this one…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the DS4 Rivoli E Tense 225: the goddess enters the C segment…

The new DS4 is styled to make its mark in the competitive C segment, to bring a touch of French refinement and panache in its class.

Already at the first presentation of the DS4 in Chantilly, we were impressed. We now had the chance to drive this elegant Crossover SUV on our roads for a longer test, and we must admit that it was a very convincing experience indeed. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Seeing the new DS4 and walking around it, one has to admit: this is a well proportioned, timelessly styled car, with unique contours and styling elements, clearly showing that its designer wanted this DS4 to really stand out.

The volumes are carefully balanced, front, side or rear, the DS4 shows character and elegance. The grille and sidelights at the front, the elegantly chiseled rear lights, the flush door handles, popping up when one approaches, the up to 20 inch wheels, this DS4 has the elegant and refined shapes which are appealing. The DS4 recently won also accolades for its styling…

This French couture-like “savoir faire” continues in the interior. Dashboard, centre console and seats breathe distinction, with styling never interfering with functionality.

The higher waistline of the whole car, being a crossover SUV, results also in cabin proportions which invariably invite you to cocoon in its interior, with the DS (and Citroën) extra thick foam-padded seats enveloping you.

The well finished panels of the dashboard and console awake your senses, and you invariably enjoy the refinement of it all, finding it a pleasure to touch and look at.

Take your time to familiarize yourself with its sculpted controls, from the lozenge shaped starting button to the writing pad above the gear selector, and of course the latest generation infotainment which the Stellantis group now offers in its cars.

Besides the clean and to the point driving information displayed by the instrument panel in front of the driver, our test car came in its posh Rivoli equipment level also with an informative and well to read overhead display with augmented reality.

Refined power…

The E-Tense PHEV drivetrain is nothing less than top notch. Shared with other brands and models within the Stellantis Group, it impresses with its smooth, feline power. Driving the front wheels through an 8 speed automatic is a 1,6 petrol engine combined with an electric motor. Total system power is more than enough, with not less than 165 kW/225 PS and maximum torque of 360 Nm. This results in very lively performance: accelerating from standstill is quite powerful, and 100 km/h is thanks to the assistance of the electric motor effortlessly reached in just 7,7 seconds.

Delightful indeed, and the fun doesn’t stop there, as this DS4 is also quite formidable on the motorway: it top speed is not less than 233 km/h.

But besides all this power, it is also the smoothness and the overall silence and refinement of the drivetrain which really stands out. Your servant also considers this to be far more important than outright performance in our modern everyday traffic, and found it a strong point that the DS4 also delivers in this respect.

The combination of performance with the refined charms of electrification and on top of that the absence of any lengthy refueling worries will make me opt for the hybrid solution for the time being, considering the present state of the charging infrastructure on our shores. The DS4 proved again to be a case in point.

DS Automobiles, or rather Stellantis Group for that matter, succeeded in developing a drivetrain with a very smooth and fluent power delivery, with imperceptible gear changes, instant responsiveness and overall very good mechanical quietness. Just when the battery is almost depleted and in kick-down situations, the pleasant roar of the high performance four cylinder is briefly heard, being not obtrusive at all.

Consumption of this PHEV is totally determined by how you use it. Frequent recharging of its 12,4 kW battery via plug-in and driving frequently short distances will of course let you drive with E-power most of the time, with fuel consumption consequently dropping below 2 litres/100 km. Driving briskly with a depleted battery will push the consumption to the other hand of the scale, as the petrol engine is doing almost all the work. Suffice to say that sitting snugly in the comfortable DS, driving with restraint and enjoying fully the good sound insulation of this refined car and its silent drivetrain, we achieved typically a consumption between 5 and 6 litres/100 km.

Divine comfort

The forte of the DS4 is of course its comfort. It will come as no surprise to you that we drove our test car in the comfort mode most of the time. The DS scans the road ahead for irregularities with a camera, and adapts the active suspension accordingly. Impressive to say the least, and we enjoyed the resulting comfort indeed. It is not so soft as the legendary hydropneumatic suspension of the DS 19, but it doesn’t have to be.

This is an active suspension, and it combines a more dynamic setup, necessary to contain the impressive power and torque, with nevertheless stunning “souplesse” and comfort, which makes this DS also the long legged cruiser able to maintain high speeds completely effortlessly on miserable, wet roads.

The steering is light, well insulated from road irregularities and the steering wheel is also a delight to touch, delicately covered by hand stitched leader. We saw one of the craftsmen at work at the DS4 inaugural presentation at Chantilly, and it was truly stunning to see.

I could not resist to show you a photo of this demonstration here. The DS philosophy behind it is right: the steering wheel is what your hands feel and touch; it is your main contact with the car, so it better be a work of art and craftsmanship…

Seating comfort is excellent fore and aft, (very) tall persons will find leg- and headroom in the rear somewhat restricted. If more limousine space is wanted, the DS lover can opt for the majestic DS9, which we drove too, and we will tell you our impressions also soon…

The DS4 will offer you all the thinkable driving aids, and of course also the necessary camera’s to safely maneuver the car. Boot space is still a useable 390 liters in the PHEV version, and of course the backrests of the rear seats can be folded back, so the trip to the “antiquaire” can be crowned with success.

Conclusion

The DS4 has all the endearing French style, character and panache to win your car loving heart. Well designed with lots of “génie Francais”, it is expertly built in German Rüsselsheim.

It has the soothing comfort and road manners of its iconic and legendary DS19 predecessor, which in my eyes makes it even more attractive. It is also timelessly styled, and will be your elegant companion for years to come.

So you want to make a statement in the C segment? Slide behind the hand stitched wheel of this electrified goddess…

Hans Knol ten Bensel