Ambitious, the French.
A report circulating regarding French luxury marque DS confirms that the brand is working on a new, flagship luxury saloon, that aims to contend with segment heavyweights like the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Audi A6. Based on shared underpinnings within the larger PSA Group, the formerly-under-Citroen brand is hoping to complete development and have the car in showrooms by 2020, in time to celebrate DS’ 65th anniversary.
It’ll be called the DS8, and take the form of a large luxury saloon, but with a shooting-brake bodystyle. This is in keeping with what DS has done previously with the DS5, though that was a more mass-market competitor than a proper luxury car. So aligned, the DS8 intends to make a mark for itself in the large-saloon space, and perhaps reinvigorate that space following the steady decline in demand as buyers move towards SUVs.
It’s also worth pointing out that DS already has an SUV in that segment, in the form of the DS7. So we can only imagine they’re not worried about cross-shopping.
“The design [of the DS8] is finished and I can tell you the car looks amazing. Since the beginning it was extremely important to have this car in our range. But we will never do a copy [of a competitor]. DS is something different, something spectacular. With our flagship, we will do that.” — Eric Apode, Vice President (Product Strategy), DS Automobiles
That need to remain distinctive is why DS is eschewing the three-box saloon design, and going for a shooting brake instead. We also reckon it’s a cost thing, because by going for a shooting brake from the outset, they essentially service customers wanting a saloon and an estate in one fell swoop, saving them the hassle of developing another bodystyle.
“When we talk about DS, we say we are the only French car maker positioned in the luxury premium sector, that we are unique in this position. Whenever we do a car we don’t start the process by saying we want to copy a car from Mercedes.” — Eric Apode, Vice President (Product Strategy), DS Automobiles
Apode made his comments to UK publication Auto Express at the sidelines of the Beijing motorshow.
The design of the DS8 will carry more than a passing resemblance to the DS7 Crossback no doubt, though beneath the skin, it’ll share more with the new Peugeot 508. Drivetrains are expected to be front-wheel driven only, with an electrified E-Tense hybrid expected, though still front-wheel drive. Further, the plug-in hybrid E-Tense will likely trade some outright performance for greater electric range, with the number being bandied about for all-electric range around 60km thereabouts.
For more information on DS, check out our Citroen showroom.