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

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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.

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

Visit/bmw/m3-saloon/20529/all-new-bmw-m3-competition-revealed-an-icon-reborn
BMW M3 saloon

All-new BMW M3 Competition revealed – an icon reborn

This is the all-new BMW M3 Competition saloon which will join the M4 Competition coupe in BMW M’s new M3/4 family
23 Sep 2020
Visit/honda/civic-type-r/203112/honda-civic-type-r-gt-2020-review-still-king-of-the-hot-hatch-crop
Honda Civic Type-R hatchback

Honda Civic Type R GT 2020 review – still king of the hot hatch crop?

Subtle tweaks have made the Type R an even more formidable hot hatch, but we’re keen to try one again soon to understand fully the changes to the susp…
22 Sep 2020
Visit/bmw/m4/22869/all-new-bmw-m4-competition-revealed-next-generation-super-coupe-debuts
BMW M4

All-new BMW M4 Competition revealed – next generation super coupe debuts

The new BMW M4 Competition applies its war paint, but there’s no manual coming to the UK
23 Sep 2020
Visit/hyundai/202950/updated-hyundai-i30-n-revealed-with-optional-dual-clutch-box
Hyundai i30 N

Updated Hyundai i30 N revealed with optional dual-clutch ‘box

It was the hot hatch that upset the status quo, and now the i30 N is back with more power and tech
24 Sep 2020