Citroen’s avant garde DS5 is the most versatile, the most powerful and the cleverest of the French brand’s desirable range of sporting DS models.
Bringing together elements of everything modern family motorists seem to like – crossover, coupe, family hatchback and sports estate – it’s an intriguing package that really does seem to offer something just that little bit different – especially if you opt for a version with frugal hybrid power.
Under the bonnet of this clever HYbrid4 model, you’ll find a layout that combines a 163bhp HDi diesel engine driving the front wheels with a 37bhp electric motor that powers those at the rear making this, in theory at least, a four wheel drive machine. Like virtually all hybrids, this one comes only with an automatic gearbox, with a set of steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles should you wish to take control yourself. This is PSA’s 6-speed EGS system, as already used in e-HDi models across Citroen’s line-up,
With a combined output of 200bhp and a combined 450Nm of torque, 200Nm of it from the electric motor, you’ll be expecting this particular DS5 to be pretty rapid. But if you are, then you’re failing to take account of the 150kg weight penalty that comes with all the batteries and everything else required for hybrid motoring. That’s equivalent to the weight of a couple of extra passengers and it explains why this car is effectively no faster than an ordinary HDi 160 diesel variant with 40bhp less: rest to 60 takes 8.3s on the way to 131mph.
You’ll need to be in ‘Sport’ mode with its quick gear shifts and active 4WD to be going this quickly, this one of four driving settings available via the circular controller down here where the handbrake would normally be, were that function not taken care of by this rather fiddly electronic handbrake button. There are three other driving settings: ‘4WD’ offers extra all-wheel drive traction for poor conditions, ‘ZEV’ keeps you in all-electric ‘Zero Emissions Vehicle’ mode for low carbon urban driving and ‘Auto’ simply sorts it all out for you depending on the prevailing conditions.
In 30 years time when Mondeos and Audi A4s are rusting in scrapyards, there’ll be owners clubs for models like this one. This car is a great step forward for a brand that has at last rediscovered itself.