DS Divine concept driven – the future of French luxury cars? - DS Divine concept driven - page 2

New DS brand previews its future, and evo gets a brief taster

A large drape of material sweeps down from the passenger side, appearing to twist as it shrouds the centre console, and continues between the seats as a padded armrest. On this car, the finish is diamond-patterned leather, interlaced with Swarovski crystals. Should anything similar hit the streets, Fressard says the elements can be swapped in their entirety, completely changing the cabin ambience.

The wheel is a leather-wrapped oblong – Quartic, as Austin might have called it in the 1970s – with metallic inserts at the top and bottom. Through it there’s a holographic display screen for the navigation system. Above is a heads-up display showing all the usual information – speed, revs, coolant temperature and more.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

The sculpted seats aren’t as comfortable as they look – another hang-up of the form-over-function nature of a rolling concept. The wheel though is satisfying to hold, and the driving position is low-slung. The roofline feels low, but the cabin is airy thanks to an expansive windscreen and light filtering through opaque scales in the roof.

Under the bonnet is the 1.6-litre THP petrol engine from the Peugeot RCZ-R. The transmission is an automated-manual. Due to the vagaries of concept car production, it’s only part-functional – via a set of disembodied paddles from the PSA parts bin. These sat in my lap during the drive.

Advertisement - Article continues below

On the move, the Divine is anything but divine. It’s noisy, gets hot quickly, is remarkably stiffly-sprung, and feels like it’s about to fall apart over every bump. There’s no servo for the brakes, and the cobbled-together transmission wasn’t enjoying life behind the photography tracking car, filling the cabin with the smell of burning clutch. It was happier at the 30mph maximum – but in its concept guise, you’d not want to travel any faster.

But it’s impossible – and unfair – to assess the car in its current state. Greatly more important is that the DS Divine feels special on the move. The interior ambience is something the brand will aim for with future production models. Those cars will compete not against Citroen’s traditional rivals, but on a higher plane. A DS needs to feel special, and customers need to feel like they’re not driving a tarted-up hatchback from a budget brand.

The current DS range already succeeds here to a degree, particularly the oft-overlooked DS 5. But future DS cars – there will be six new vehicles worldwide by 2018 – need to justify DS’s haute couture aspirations. In design, in technology, and in the way the cars drive.


Most Popular

Ford Focus Hatchback

2019 Ford Focus EcoBoost review

Some might suggest the UK is falling out of love with family hatchbacks, but the Focus EcoBoost is a good reminder of why it remains a compelling pack…
9 Dec 2019

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 hypercar revealed

A true successor to the McLaren F1, Gordon Murray Automotive has revealed more about its spectacular T.50 hypercar
10 Dec 2019

McLaren 620R goes for the GT3 RS jugular

Limited run extreme Sports Series McLaren 620R road car brings GT4 aero to the road.
9 Dec 2019
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019