Engine and gearbox
The entry-level 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 develops 128bhp and 221lb ft at 1750rpm mated to a six-speed manual and while we’ve not driven it yet, we’d reckon it’ll only appeal to a small proportion of buyers on a strict budget, or those after low (107g/km) emissions.
The larger diesel, the 1997cc BlueHDi 180, is expected to be the best seller and musters 178bhp at 3750rpm and 295lb ft of torque at 2000rpm. At launch this will be pared with PSA’s new EAT8 eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s not a bad combination either, with the box swapping between ratios in a discreet fashion in Comfort and Normal modes while in Sport it’s a little snappier if not quite up there with the class leaders.
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With 222bhp at 5500rpm from the 1598cc four-cylinder mill in the PureTech 225 model, we were hoping this might be a little bit more aligned to the thrill of driving but with just 221lb ft of torque at 1900rpm it’s not quite as peppy as we hoped it might be. Driven moderately it’s relatively quiet and refined but, as mentioned previously, the gearbox is too keen to kick down in Sport mode, which brings more noise, but not a significant rise in forward momentum.
One further model that will come on stream – but not until the second half of 2019 – is what DS is calling the E-Tense, a 296bhp PHEV that combines a 197bhp petrol engine with a brace of 107bhp electric motors. One of those electric motors is mounted up front with the petrol engine and transversely mounted EAT8 gearbox, while the other is mated to the rear axle, providing the DS7 Crossback with the only four-wheel drive model in the range.
It has a claimed electric only range of 37 miles and DS says its packaged in such a way as to keep the DS7’s practicality intact. We had a very brief try in a prototype version of the car on a test track and it seemed brisk enough in both electric and hybrid modes, although there’s still plenty of work to be done on it’s refinement. No performance claims are being made at the moment so we’ll have to view this as a work in progress for the time being. It needs to be good though as it has a projected price of £50k.