The diesel engines will be the best sellers in the UK, and our pick of the range is the lesser-powered 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 variant. It offers plenty of mid-range shove and delivers its power fairly smoothly. The entry-level BlueHDi 120 diesel doesn't feel powerful enough for a car of this size, and the gains in fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t enough to make it a better pick. The most powerful diesel, the BlueHDi 180, is the most refined of the three but the BlueHDi 150 offers the most rounded package in terms of performance and economy, and has low CO2 emissions.
Our favourite engine is only available with a manual gearbox, which feels a little vague and notchy. The six-speed automatic gearbox isn’t any better; it’s lethargic with all of its shifts, and doesn’t judge downshifts well in particular. The most powerful diesel is only available with the automatic.
The DS 5 is very far from matching the smooth ride and sharp handling on offer from the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. The steering is vague and lifeless, and rather heavy, which means low-speed manoeuvring is harder work than it should be. This weighty feel is welcome at motorway speeds, however. Body lean is kept in check through the corners, but the DS 5 does run out of front-end grip surprisingly quickly.
The DS 5 suffers from a fairly firm ride that means it’s not the most relaxing executive car to drive or be driven in. It’s an improvement over the previous model, but road imperfections aren’t easily absorbed, and there isn’t even a sporty drive to compensate for this.
Refinement is largely acceptable, although some of the engines are rather boomy at low speeds. They do tend to quieten down at faster motorway speeds, but refinement levels are then brought down again by an increase in wind and road noise.