The second model in Citroen’s style-oriented DS range has hit the UK, complete with an all-new flagship 200bhp petrol engine.
We were reasonably impressed by the DS4’s design and driving experience when we tried it on European roads – so we were keen to see how the sporty range-topper performs on notoriously uneven British tarmac.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Citroen DS4
The five-door, five-seat layout is aimed at those seeking coupé-style looks without sacrificing practicality. Citroen says buyers will be 40-plus males with a higher-than-average household income. It’s also optimistic the car can find favour with status-conscious business users.
The newcomer isn’t as eye-catchingly different to rivals as the smaller DS3, although it does show how bland the regular C4 hatch looks in comparison. The rear door handles are hidden in the black frames, to ensure the flanks are fuss-free.
But the back windows don’t open. Citroen says most drivers won’t have children, yet family buyers will surely be put off. The triumph of styling and attention to detail inside goes some way to making up for this. The diamond motif that forms the DS badge is visible everywhere, from the smart scuff plates and door grab handles to a microscopic version on the centre console.
The two-tone perforated leather seats look stunning. On some sections of material, one shade is visible through holes in the other, while a striking ‘watch bracelet’ design is an option.
From the tiny twin ridges on top of the instrument binnacle and 3D hollow head restraints to the adjustable rear light and ‘slideback’ sun visors borrowed from the C3, it’s very impressive.
The seating position is higher than in some rivals; Citroen feels this will boost driver appeal. It does it no harm, but you don’t get SUV-like visibility or confidence. Plus, the shallow glass and thick C-pillars hamper the view to the rear. The A-pillars are bigger than in some competitors, too.
Three trims are available – DSign, DStyle and DSport – and prices start at £18,150. However, models with our car’s new 200bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo, developed with BMW, come only in the top spec.
On the road, the extra power over the 120bhp and 155bhp versions is obvious. The engine is eager and responsive through the rev range, and while it makes a great noise when you push it, if you’re too aggressive, there’s a hint of torque steer.
The ride is firm in a sporty rather than crashy way, and the DS4 200 is an engaging and comfortable car to drive. But at nearly £24,000, it’s expensive.