THE launch of a new brand in the motoring world is a comparatively rare event so it was with considerable interest that I tested the first car from DS Automobiles the new stand-alone company established by the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group the shapely DS 5 with its avant-garde styling writes Bryan Longworth.
Motoring aficionados will point out that the DS range was originally launched several years ago as up market Citroen models but the PSA group then decided to make DS a separate brand operated by DS Automobiles and the DS 5 is the first product from the new company.
And of course Citroen originated the DS range 60 years ago with the futuristic and legendary DS that caused such a sensation with its styling and new technology including that superb hydropneumatic self levelling suspension.
The DS 5 which started life as a Citroen has been given a make over to remove any links with Citroen especially up front where there is an impressive new DS brand front end and numerous other revisions making it a distinctive car as PSA aim for an up market image with the new brand in a bid to revive the tradition of premium vehicles in the French automotive industry.
As well as the cool styling on my test car the DS 5 Prestige BlueHDi 150 had a very comfortable and luxurious leather clad interior which resembled an aircraft cockpit especially with the overhead controls and glass panels with a spacious load area at the rear.
The 2.0-litre 150hp turbo diesel with a six speed manual gearbox provided a lively power output with a top speed of 127mph and zero to 62mph taking 10.9 seconds and while the combined fuel consumption was nearly 70mpg the on board computer showed it to be less than this.
The test car which cost £29,560 on the road was loaded with standard equipment and I especially appreciated the LED vision-xenon direction headlights but the head up speed display which was a £300 option was well worth the money because it was so easy to see the speed of the car in all driving conditions right in front of the driver above the steering wheel at all times.
DS 5 provided an enjoyable driving experience with well balanced steering and there was a very comfortable ride quality but I felt it would have been rather appropriate to have had the excellent hydractive suspension on this first flagship model of the new era for the French firm.
All the main controls are grouped on two consoles one overhead and the other near the gear selector and while the array of toggle switches were a bit confusing at first I soon got used to them and their various functions.
At the rear there is a split screen because of a spoiler similar to the Honda Civic which may look good from the outside but it does tend to restrict rearward vision and because of the design the area covered by the smaller wiper is much less and not very user friendly.
DS Automobiles deserve praise for their first model since it was decided to set up a separate brand apart from Citroen as the DS 5 is a commendable car that attracted a lot of interest and it had an up market feel and look about it.
By 2020 DS Automobiles plan to have six new models in their showrooms including saloons and SUVs and it will be very interesting to see how they develop especially with the styling compared to other cars from the PSA Group.
Verdict: A worthy first DS model.
Model: DS 5 Prestige BlueHdi 150.
Engine: Four cylinder turbo diesel.
Output: 150hp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 127mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: Combined 68.9mpg.
CO2 emissions: 105g/km.
Price: £29,560 on the road.