Citroen DS4 DSport

24 Jun, 2011 5:11pm Richard Yarrow

Verdict on flagship turbo petrol version of classy new hatch


Citroen hopes to sell a few thousand DS4s in the UK every year, and this is an achievable target. Fans wanting something as strikingly different as the DS3 may be disappointed by the exterior design. Bosses argue buyers in this segment are more conservative, and that the lovely interior more than makes up for it. Either way, the DS4 is a welcome addition to the family, and a far more interesting compact hatchback than the C4.
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.

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What a great car, have had a good look at in in Spain and in the metal it it's a head turner, and I can't believe people going on about the rear windows, 3 door cars windows do not open plus everybody I know with children switch them off to stop the children playing with them......

@worldrallyman If it was a 3 door car then it would be ok but its not. There's no denying its a fantastic car but the fact that they are selling it as a 5 door then sealing the rear windows is beyond me. If they were so desperate for a 3 door then they should have made the DS4 a 3 door - it makes no sense. And it's always good to have them just in case; if children play with them what's wrong with using the cut-off switch?

"so we were keen to see how the sporty range-topper performs on notoriously uneven British tarmac"

And yet you give the actual driving experience less than a line and a half? Genius and these are the same reviewers that complained about small eco-models not delivering their claimed mpg after you thrashed them all round a track!

So - here we have it. It is ugly (to my eyes), childish (silly 'hidden' handles - how I hate those) impractical, and expensive. Add Citroen's reputation for appalling reliability and I can't really see myself in the showroom for this one!

so why 8.5 secs to 62 mph? In other sites they say 7.7 secs.
and the same power and torque the golf takes it to 62 for 6.9 secs

Can someone please explain to me what type of car this is? Apparently Citroen bills it as a coupe but, come on, who are they actually kidding? It's more of a stylised five-door (think Giulietta). However, then there's the raised ride height, which gives it the look of an SUV-4x4-crossover-type-thing. why couldn't they just have made one type of car instead of three?

This is basically a car for trendy city types like me. I don't actually need all the dynamic ability of a Golf because I'm stuck in traffic most of the time. A great interior is more useful for that job. And I certainly don't want something that looks like a Golf because who ever looked twice at a Golf? But while I'm stuck in traffic I still want to look cool and a bit sporty, so coupe styling will do me nicely. A higher ride improves visibility and stops me banging the door on high curbs. And a BMW engine gives me BMW reliability without having to pay for a BMW. Which is why I ended up buying one!

Key specs

* Price: £23,650
* Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol turbo
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 200bhp/275Nm
* 0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
* Top speed: 146mph
* Econ/CO2: 44.1mpg/149g/km
* Equipment: Heated front seats with electric lumbar adjustment and massage function, 19-inch 
alloy wheels, front parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring system
* On sale: 4 July