The DS range for Citroën has been something of a revelation in recent years, writes BRUCE FRASER.
Both the DS3 and DS4 have won various awards, thanks to their cutting-edge designs and advanced engineering technology. Now it's the turn of the DS5, which was launched in the Eastern Cape last week.
What is it?
The DS5 will be the flagship for the Citroën range of passenger vehicles and sits comfortably in the up-market premium segment.
It is a five-seater, five-door saloon packed with features, aimed at consumers who are not scared to buck the trend and will look at alternatives when it comes to their motoring needs.
The DS5 range consists of three engine variants - two turbocharged petrol engines and a Euro V-compliant diesel.
The THP 155 petrol turbo (155kW and 240Nm) and HDi 160 diesels (120kW and 340Nm) are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the high output THP 200 (147kW of power and 275Nm of torque) is mated to the six-speed manual gearbox.
How does it look?
Quirky ... yes. Different ... definitely. Boring ... never. To sum it up - French!
Often, when a car eventually hits the production line, it looks nothing like the concept vehicle that was displayed a couple of years previously at a motor show.
The DS5 is different in that the Citroën designers have been bold enough to stick to their guns and see through on their original ideas.
The DS family has certain characteristics which are instantly evident; an oversized front air intake, a wide, chrome-plated grille housing the classic chevron badge, all underscored by the standard LED light signature.
For me the best view of the vehicle is from behind. While, from the side, it is long and sleek, the rear is quite aggressive.
The car sits squarely on a wide track and the 18-inch rims add emphasis to the desired look.
Twin exhaust pipes integrated into either side of the bumper also add to the attitude, while the LED lights round off the package.
How does it drive?
At the launch last week, I spent equal time behind the wheel of the THP 200 manual sport and THP 155 automatic and it was the manual sport that won the day.
The most surprising aspect was the responsive nature of the engine.
Give it the beans and it is extremely quick and the manual gearbox enables you to get that little bit extra out of each gear change.
Some of the best maintained roads - backed by stunning scenery - can be found in the Eastern Cape and the DS5 promises to be not only an enthusiastic tourer but also a sprightly commuter. Handling was extremely good, and even when it is taken into the corners a little too enthusiastically, the car holds its line well.
Any special features?
Well parts of the interior are straight out of an aeroplane cockpit.
The main controls are grouped in the centre of the vehicle in central consoles, one lower down and one on the roof lining.
The buttons, thumb wheels and special toggle switches will have you thinking you are in the latest Airbus rather than popping down to the corner cafe for a litre of milk.
Intelligent traction control, a full colour heads-up display on a blade and a reverse parking camera are all welcome components.
I must mention my co-driver on the day found the heads-up display interfered with his line of vision while driving and although it can easily be lowered, we couldn't find the switch. Available as optional extras on all models are a second generation lane departure warning system and automatic activation of the high beam assist function.
Two storage spaces for your sunglasses can also be found on the cockpit ceiling.
Lastly, the roof is divided into three separate wells of light, each one of which can be covered individually to suit the occupants.
Should you buy one?
If you enjoy the futuristic look and appreciate a car that comes with all the bells 'n whistles, then the DS5 is definitely worth a test drive.
All DS5s come with a three-year/100000km warranty and a five-year/100000km service plan.
The warranty coverage may be extended at extra cost to five-years and 100000km.
The people at Citroën will probably be the first to admit this particular vehicle will take longer to be accepted by South African motorists than, say, their European counterparts.
That is, in part, due to our conservative nature in matters motoring and a tendency to stick to what we know best.
But, if we continue to persist with a blinkered outlook when a radical car such as the DS5 comes along, well we will simply be missing out on an extremely good driving experience.
DS5 THP 155 Automatic
Engine: 1598cc 4-cylinder
Power: 115kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1400rpm
0-100km/h: 9.7 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 202km/h (claimed)
Fuel consumption: 7.3l/100km (claimed/combined)
DS5 THP 200 Manual
Engine: 1598cc 4-cylinder
Power: 147kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 275Nm at 1700rpm
0-100km/h: 8.2 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 235km/h (claimed)
Fuel consumption: 6.7l/100km (claimed/combined)
Price: R374900 (Style); R395900 (Sport)
DS5 HDi 160 Automatic
Engine: 1997cc 4-cylinder
Power: 120kW at 3750rpm
Torque: 340Nm at 2000rpm
0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 212km/h (claimed)
Fuel consumption: 6.1l/100km (claimed/combined)