New DS 9 saloon takes aim at Audi A4

Range-topping executive set to arrive at Geneva with mix of petrol and plug-in hybrid powertrains

DS has revealed a new range-topping executive saloon targeted directly at the Audi A4. The DS 9, set to make its global debut at the Geneva motor show, is based on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform and closely related to the Peugeot 508.

Codenamed X83, the 9 is the third new-era model for the PSA Group’s premium arm following the 3 Crossback and 7 Crossback SUVs. It will be built exclusively in China, the market expected to take the majority of sales, and exported around the world from there.

The range of powertrains will include three plug-in hybrids. The range-topper is a four-wheel-drive E-Tense model that mixes a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor in the eight-speed automatic gearbox to drive the front wheels and uses a further electric motor on the rear axle for a combined 355bhp. This is an uprated version of the 296bhp drivetrain used in the 7 Crossback E-Tense.

A front-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid option new to DS is also offered in the 9. This does without the electric motor on the rear axle to offer a combined 222bhp from the engine and electric motor driving the front wheels.

An electric-only range of up to 31 miles is available on this model through the car’s 11.9kWh battery pack. It can be driven on purely electric power at speeds of up to 84mph or left in its standard hybrid mode, which allows the car to decide when best to deploy the electric range. The third plug-in hybrid is a 247bhp version of the front-wheel-drive model. There’s also a 222bhp 1.6-litre petrol model without hybrid assistance, but no diesel will be offered.

The design of the 9 builds on that seen on the 7 Crossback, which kicked off this new era for DS independent from being a Citroën sub-brand. The saloon is 4.93m long and 1.85m wide with a 2.9m long wheelbase. This makes it more than 200mm longer than its Audi rival, 80mm of which is in the wheelbase, and a similar width.

DS is talking up the rear cabin space of the new car, as well as the high quality trim materials. These include a Nappa leather dashboard, watchstrap-style leather seats, leather door handles and an Alcantara headlining.

Dynamically, the 9 comes with MacPherson strut front suspension on all models and double wishbone rear suspension on the plug-in hybrid models. A torsion beam is fitted to the rear of the petrol-only car.

The 9 will become available to order in the second half of this year and is due for delivery early next year. Prices will be closely aligned to the A4, starting at around £30,000, but DS will push the extra space and equipment over the A4 as its point of differentiation.

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