Published on February 4th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Meet The New DS 4: A French Answer To The A-Class
The DS 4 brings the French brand up to date in the premium compact hatchback segment, long dominated by Mercedes-Benz.
Between Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, the premium hatchback market is pretty much saturated. In fact, you see more active competition in the premium compact crossover space, where the size constraints of this class are less apparent to consumers at first glance. However, there are still some key markets where 5-door hatchbacks play a key role, and DS are looking to answer that with their latest product, the ‘4’.
The DS 4 is by no means the first of its name. Many fans of Citroën will remember the DS 4 from before ‘DS’ was spun off a premium brand under the PSA Groupe. Interestingly, the Citroën DS 4 was actually locally-assembled in Gurun for a time. After 2016, when the DS brand got started, they redesigned and repackaged the Citroën DS 4 as the DS 4 Crossback. However, not too much was changed between the models. After 2018, the DS 4 Crossback sort of disappeared from the market for a while. Well, now it’s back, and the ‘Crossback’ moniker has disappeared for now, being used still on the larger DS 7 Crossback model.
About the new DS 4
While the previous DS 4 was built on the PSA PF2 platform, this new one is built on the more modern EMP2 platform with 70% new or unique parts. The new DS 4 is a little larger than before at 4.4m long (vs 4.28m), and 1.83m wide (vs 1.81m). It is a little bit shorter in height at 1.47m (vs 1.535m), but that’s usually a desirable trait in terms of design and performance. Boot space sits at 430L and a powered tailgate can be optioned. Composite materials and more hot press formed steel parts were employed in this vehicle’s construction. This has the effect of lowering overall weight.
The new design is very striking, but not atypical of what we’ve come to expect from the DS brand. Sharp, angular lines and bold use of geometric shapes best characterise the DS 4’s look.
Slim projector headlamps with DS MATRIX LED VISION are found in the front. The signature LED DRL shape here is called ‘DS WINGS’ and they link the headlamps to the grille. They’ve paired the DS 4 up with some incredibly large 20″ rims for a very dynamic silhoutte. There’s very interesting use of chrome along the roof here that extends all the way to the C pillar. DS says the rear light signature is laser embossed with their signature scale effect.
DS 4 has been designed with several bumper and accent options, so customers can pick and choose what sort of look they’d like for their vehicle.
Here are 2 of the design packs available:
- DS 4 CROSS – SUV cues (matt black lower bumper trim, gloss black upper side window frame trim, grille, and unique alloys). Advanced Traction Control and Hill Assist Descent Control added.
- DS 4 PERFORMANCE LINE – athletic cues black pack for DS WINGS, some exterior trim pieces, black alloy wheels and an exclusive interior.
You can expect the new DS 4 to come to market by Q4 2021. Right now the brand is in limbo in Malaysia. Berjaya Auto Alliance has taken over spare part distribution, but have not announced plans to start selling cars yet. Here’s the press release with more information.
Purity and fluidity of interior design, “hand-made” upholstery
DS 4 has a digital interior, seamless and ergonomic with each part integrated intuitively as much for function as form. This fluidity is driven by innovations that aim to create complete calm within DS 4.
The art of travel is demonstrated with a new control lay out, grouped in three zones of interface to simplify the experience. Clous de Paris guilloche, inspired by fine watchmaking, picks out and emphasises the following features:
- The sabre on the dashboard brings together the controls for the air conditioning and DS AIR: invisible airvent.
- The electric window switches line up with the side vents built into the doors.
- The combination of DS SMART TOUCH, a 5-inch touchscreen linked to the DS IRIS SYSTEM, and DS E-TOGGLE, a compact control for the automatic gearbox, positioned on the centre console.
DS AIR: invisible airvent is an innovative ventilation system with very compact central vents high up and fitted with blades that can’t be seen. A blast of air separated by a cone ensures it can be directed perfectly both high and low. The whole system works like classic ventilation with optimum efficiency. With its vertical compactness, it has an understated and integrated appearance which has enabled the design of the dashboard to be structured in a way that’s free flowing and uncluttered.
The interior of DS 4 has been conceived with two merged zones: a contact zone for comfort and an interactive zone for the different interfaces. The two-tone treatment for the window controls has been designed to improve cognitive recognition.
Through its materials, with different types of leather, Alcantara®, forged carbon, wood and new upholstery techniques, the interior of DS 4 blends refinement with technology.
A new trim gives an innovative meaning to well-being. Particular attention has been paid to the cooled and massaging seats’ shape. The concept is inspired by a shell, creating a new comfort zone made up of a single part, curved and without a break. New upholstery covers this with high density foam to achieve a level of exceptional comfort. The stretched seat and the shell shape give unprecedented depth for an innovative design.
In a two-tone interior, the seats in Pebble Grey grain leather are joined by clear elements, smooth to the touch for comfort zones, supported by grain leather and Clous de Paris guilloche. On the upper part where the interactive zone is, the trim is adorned with Brown Ash wood and very high-quality Criollo Brown Nappa leather.
Symbolic of the best expertise from DS Automobiles, the OPERA interior, made up of seats with the watchstrap upholstery in Criollo Brown Nappa leather, sports an advanced design. Trim in Brown Ash wood and large areas in Criollo Brown Nappa leather complete this luxury setting.
In this interior, the master upholsterers went even further to incorporate French expertise: hidden seams, where each stitch stops on a full hide, highlight the quality of the leather on the door panels. It is one of numerous “hand-made” procedures inside, such as the choice of Brown Ash wood for the trim, or the upholstery of the leather clad steering wheels.
The PERFORMANCE LINE version accentuates DS 4’s dynamism. Wide swathes of Alcantara® cover the dashboard, the doors and the whole centre console. The high-density foam seats have Basalt plaited cloth and Alcantara® finished with embroidery and special gold and Carmin stitching. The steering wheel is adorned with a single piece of forged carbon on the lower section.
The feeling of harmony inside is emphasised by ambient lighting that can be personalised, indirectly intended to accentuate the side features and contribute to the overall sense of calm. Acoustic ambience is provided by a combination of the 690-Watt FOCAL ELECTRA sound system with 14 speakers plus acoustic side glass (front and rear), another first in the segment.
An air purification system actively protects the cockpit with sensors for PM2.5 particles inside and exterior pollution detection. The management of air coming into the car is optimised by the addition of a filtration system that can purify the air inside in just a few minutes. The quality of the air is recorded and displayed on the central screen.
Based on a significant evolution of the EMP2 platform with 70% new or exclusive parts, DS 4 is offering plug-in hybrid technology from its launch (225 horsepower and more than 50 kilometres of range in zero emissions mode on the combined WLTP cycle). A new generation infotainment system, driver assistance systems yet to be seen in the Premium C segment and an innovative information projection system make DS 4 stand out.
Always modular enabling it to accommodate different kinds of powertrain, also always dynamic and safe, this new version of the EMP2 platform was developed for DS 4.
It has enabled many useful features to be improved, while lending the design a new freedom of expression that gives a shape with unprecedented proportions.
The architecture has been developed to achieve the desired proportions and aerodynamic performance. The body/wheel ratio that’s unique to the segment and the world of premium cars creates a silhouette that’s at once athletic and efficient with, notably, a new bonnet, lowering the bonnet-wing combination and the floor in row 2…
The new evolution of the EMP2 platform introduces new components made from composite materials, hot-pressed structural parts and more compact elements such as the air conditioning unit, freeing up more storage space elsewhere. There is 430 litres of boot space with hands-free opening and a powered tailgate.
The new version of the EMP2 platform was designed to comply with the latest and strictest regulatory and consumer impact standards, without compromising the overall weight of the structure.
Dynamic and acoustic qualities
The idea of dynamic serenity that’s so dear to DS Automobiles is taken even further. The use of technical solutions such as bond-welding (almost 34 metres of adhesive bead and welding points used on the car’s body) as well as completely redesigned suspension and steering components, guaranteeing benchmark driving comfort through optimal body rigidity with exceptional road holding for driving enjoyment.
Double Formula E champion in 2019 and 2020, DS Automobiles is at the cutting edge of electrification. The new version of the EMP2 platform was conceived to accommodate a new generation plug-in hybrid drivetrain without compromising usability and boot space. A turbocharged 180 horsepower 4-cylinder engine is paired with a 110 horsepower electric motor and an e-EAT8 gearbox, for a combined 225 horsepower. It’s powered by a more efficient battery with new, more compact and larger capacity cells located behind the deformable beam and giving a range of more than 50 kilometres in zero emissions mode (WLTP combined cycle).
The PureTech 130, 180 and 225 horsepower petrol versions and a 130 horsepower Diesel BlueHDi version will also be offered. All these models will only get the 8-speed automatic gearbox. DS 4 also has a wide range of particularly efficient multi-energy versions, provided by first-class aerodynamic solutions.
Efficiency at wheel level
With a wheel size of 720mm, DS 4 is available with up-to 20-inch alloy wheels. The bulk of the range sits on 19-inch wheels. A “Tall & Narrow” offering was designed to limit aerodynamic disturbance and lower CO2 emissions while maintaining an attractive design and exceptional comfort. Still in 19-inch, DS 4 will be available with All Season 3PMSF A-rated tyres. The 20-inch alloy wheels, also feature A-rated tyres. The high level of dynamism is reinforced by a 10% weight reduction in the alloy wheels (that’s 1.5kg per wheel) with aerodynamic inserts in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Connectivity for a sleek and digital interior
For connectivity, the priority was to provide a solution so the driver no longer had to take their eyes off the road, an indisputable safety benefit. Called DS EXTENDED HEAD-UP DISPLAY, this avant-garde visual experience is a first step towards augmented reality. With a new immersive technology, vital driving information is projected directly onto the road. Using an optical illusion, data is displayed four metres ahead of the windscreen diagonally following the driver’s gaze at 21-inches, never witnessed before in the segment. Essential information such as speed, driver aids, navigation, warning messages or even the track they’re listening to or the call they’re taking will be projected onto the road.
This sensory and experiential technology is part of a wider offering, at the heart of a completely re-imagined 10-inch infotainment system, DS IRIS SYSTEM. The new interface takes the usability of a smartphone with a tactile, seamless and responsive interface based around the idea of profiles that can be completely personalised with icons. The settings and display load automatically on start-up. The idea behind personalisation is to enable everyone to adjust the content to their requirements.
Controlled by voice and gesture, DS IRIS SYSTEM incorporates a personal assistant capable of recognising what’s said to it so that the system can carry out requests.
This is supported by a unique gesture control system, DS SMART TOUCH, located on the centre console. This is a screen you can use with your fingertips. The user making a gesture towards one of the pre-entered favourite functions is enough. The screen also identifies normal movements such as zooming in, zooming out and has handwriting recognition.
So that the system and its mapping are always operating at the highest level, updates will be done instantly via the cloud.
Comfort and dynamic serenity
Already offered on DS 3 CROSSBACK, DS 7 CROSSBACK and DS 9, level 2 semi-autonomous driving – the highest level that’s allowed on the road at the moment – has had a major update for DS 4 with DS DRIVE ASSIST 2.0.
The cruise control adapts speed depending on the traffic flow with the ability to stop and restart in traffic jams. The system also ensures precise car positioning in the lane of the driver’s choice.
For DS 4, operation is improved with three new features: semi-automatic overtaking, speed adjustment for corners and anticipated speed recommendations from signposts.
The steering wheel features a grip sensor that continually checks if the driver is active because they should always be in control.
The new “Radar Corners” enable other functions such as long-distance blind spot monitoring (with a range of 75m) and rear traffic warning to avoid a collision with a hazard in the blind spot.
DS Automobiles is also about the concept of dynamic serenity. With DS 4, it translates into class leading ride. One of the strong points is the DS ACTIVE SCAN SUSPENSION controlled damping, exclusive to the segment by using a camera. This is positioned at the top of the windscreen, views and anticipates irregularities in the road surface and transmits the data to a computer. With the four attitude sensors and three accelerometers, the system controls each of the wheels independently. Using the information it receives, it makes the suspension harder or softer depending on what’s required. The result is heightened comfort whatever the state of the road.
DS NIGHT VISION: another technology that enables DS Automobiles to stand out from the competition. The system makes the road and its hazards more visible. An infrared camera, located in the grille, spots pedestrians and animals up to 200 metres away at night and in poor light. The driver sees the road’s hazards in their digital instrument display (and as warnings in the DS EXTENDED HEAD-UP DISPLAY) enabling them to react.
DS 4 light signature
With a new generation of DS MATRIX LED VISION headlamps that are slimmer and more modern, the Matrix Beam and Dynamic Bending Light technology has been combined in the same system to give a distinctive and unique identity.
The DS MATRIX LED VISION headlamps are still made up of three LED modules which are the DS Automobiles signature:
The inner module of the headlight is used for the dipped function.
The moving central module can turn to an angle of 33.5°. It illuminates the sides of the carriageway and follows where you’re looking in corners. It is also a nod to the directional headlamps of the 1967 DS.
The outside Matrix Beam module illuminates for driving, split into fifteen segments which turn on and off independently, depending on the driving conditions it senses.
These projector headlamps adapt to traffic conditions, steering wheel angle, speed and weather conditions with five pre-set modes: city, country, motorway, bad weather and fog. They enable you to drive constantly on main beam without ever dazzling other road users. Using the camera located in the top part of the windscreen, these intelligent headlamps adapt their light beam automatically with a range of 300 metres, depending on traffic conditions, without ever dazzling others.
The DS MATRIX LED VISION headlamps are complemented by new extended daytime running lights made up of 98 LEDs. As well as the recognisable vertical light signature, these daytime running lights perform a new high-technology welcome routine.
DS 4 is made of 95% reusable materials and 85% recyclable parts. 30% of its weight is from renewable or recycled materials, divided between metals and polymers. The dashboard in particular is made of 20% hemp for parts that can’t be seen. Among the recycled materials, polypropylene, polyester and elastomer fibres are used under the chassis as baffles, for noise reducing or as mounting points.
Seven colours are available, two of them new: COPPER GOLD and LACQUERED GREY, which complement the other colours: PEARL CRYSTAL, PLATINUM GREY, RED VELVET, PEARL WHITE and PERLA NERA BLACK.
DS 4 has already been introduced in all the DS STORES in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Sitting on a seat in Watchstrap upholstery Nappa leather, the consumer can configure their own design and see it with DS VIRTUAL VISION, through a virtual reality headset.
DS 4 will go on sale during the fourth quarter of 2021.