This is the Citroen DS 5LS, an all-new premium saloon that goes on sale in China next year.
There are no plans to bring the saloon to the UK, but the DS 5LS showcases the new front-end styling of DS models that will be sold here. The new ‘face’ of DS will next appear on an SUV model for China in 2014, as well as a larger saloon.
What Car? has also learnt about a Golf-rivalling DS hatchback due in 2015. The new styling will also be rolled out across new and face-lifted models for Europe.
Citroen says the 5LS will be a ‘major driver’ of DS model development on a global level, and that it ‘introduces the DS’s new front end, inspired by the Number 9 and Wild Rubis concept cars’.
DS models are sold as a premium line of Citroen cars in the UK, but in China the DS brand is marketed entirely separately under the Changan Diyishi name. The DS 5LS will be manufactured by the Changan PSA Automobile joint venture in Shenzhen, which has been building the DS5 model for the local market since summer 2013.
The DS 5LS is 470cm long, 184cm wide and 150cm high, which is about the same size as a BMW 3 Series or - of more relevance - the FAW-Volkswagen Sagitar saloon, which is one of China’s best-selling cars. Citroen says the Audi A3 Saloon will also be a key rival, but the DS 5LS is 24cm longer.
The company says the 5LS offers impressive interior space compared to rivals, thanks to the longest wheelbase of any C-segment saloon at 271cm. The latest FAW-VW Sagitar comes in at 265cm.
The 5LS’s styling previews chunkier design cues that will appear on future DS models in Europe, such as the boomerang-shaped daytime running lights and chrome strips connecting the headlights, which Citroen calls the ‘DS Wings’. The LED lamps at the rear have metallic rings set beneath the glass that produce a 3D light effect.
Inside, the DS 5LS makes use of high-grade materials such as wood, metal and leather to give the car a more luxurious finish than if only soft-touch plastics were used. Like in the DS5 hatchback, the leather seats are finished in a pattern that mimics the links of a metal watch strap, which is set to become a trademark of the DS range.
The front seats have a massage function for driver and passenger, while the rear seats can recline up to 29 degrees. Another luxury touch is an ioniser.
The DS 5LS does away with the multitude of switches found in the centre console and headliner of the DS5 hatch. Instead, a colour touch-screen will control most functions, although the climate control buttons remain separate.
Engines will include turbocharged THP 160 and THP 200 petrols, paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox. China is predominantly a petrol market, with high demand for sub-2.0-litre engines to avoid higher taxation.
While the DS 5LS will go on sale in March next year, it’s not expected to appear at a motor show until April 2014. It will be sold via a network of DS ‘stores’ in China, which have doubled in number in 2013 to more than 50 dealers.