Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We’re yet to try the DS 4 fitted with the entry-level, 129bhp PureTech 130 and 178bhp PureTech 180 petrol engines, but we have tried the most powerful PureTech 225 version. It hesitates slightly when you pull away but then easily builds pace once you leave the lower end of the rev range, and its 220bhp makes getting to motorway speeds a doddle. Official figures say that it’ll sprint from 0-60mph in a very decent 7.9sec.
Going for the 221bhp E-Tense plug-in hybrid alleviates any low down hesitation; it takes off instantly, thanks to the electric boost it has at its disposal, and its 0-60mph time of 7.7sec is almost one second faster than the BMW 1 Series 118i M Sport – and only very slightly slower than the Audi A3 Sportback TFSi e. Of course, the main perks of the plug-in hybrid are that it boasts low CO2 emissions, thanks to its ability to drive for around 38miles on electricity alone, according to official figures.
Meanwhile, even slight undulations in the road cause it to sway from side to side, jostling you around in your seat. The added weight of the plug-in hybrid’s batteries does help to reduce this issue but it’s still there.
Unfortunately, that suspension softness harms the DS 4's handling, too, causing it to lean more noticeably in corners than its rivals. Select sport mode on the active suspension (standard across the range) and it does firm up a little to improve cornering agility, but the DS 4 is never really what you’d call fun to drive.