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Frankfurt show: Citroen's Oz-bound production DS5

Watch this space: The DS5’s signature interior feature is the ‘watch strap’ effect on the leather-trimmed seats

Luxurious Citroen DS5 coming Down Under late next year but hybrid not locked in

1 Sep 2011

THE European debut of Citroen’s DS5 executive express will take place at the Frankfurt show this month, with Australian deliveries due late next year.

It will be the first Citroen to wield diesel-electric HYbrid4 technology – which will first come to Australia in sister brand Peugeot’s 3008 crossover in the second quarter of next year – promising CO2 emissions of just 99 grams per kilometre, juxtaposed by 149kW performance and all-wheel drive.

Citroen’s Australian importer Ateco Automotive told GoAuto the hybrid DS5 is a possibility for local release but that it does not have a “definitive answer” at this stage.

Expect the classy DS5 to be priced at a premium over the related C5 mid-size sedan and wagon range, which is all-diesel and sells here from $46,990 driveaway in base 2.0-litre HDi Comfort sedan guise.

For perspective, the most expensive C5, the 3.0-litre HDI Exclusive wagon, is priced at a substantial $72,990 plus on-road costs.

Also on the French brand’s Frankfurt stand will be a luxurious Ultra Prestige variant of the DS3, the DS4 due Down Under by year’s end and the DS3 WRC car.

The high-tech DS5 – which made its world debut at the Shanghai show in April – has recently attained a five-star ENCAP safety rating and the double-chevron brand has issued a full set of interior and exterior images ahead of the car’s German unveiling in production form.

33 center imageLeft: Citroen DS5. Below: C3 Ultra Prestige.

Citroen claims the DS5 features “protection-enhancing technology exclusive to the model” and the list of active safety aids includes traction control, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam, colour head-up display and a reversing camera.

Pitched against premium rivals from the big three German brands, the DS5’s bold exterior styling is matched by what Citroen describes as a “unique onboard experience”.

The interior’s signature features include leather seats that exhibit a quilted ‘watch strap’ effect – that looks prone for catching crumbs for in-car eaters – and aviation-style ceiling panel controls.

Leather surfaces and contrast stitching abound on up-spec models, although cloth seats and part-Alcantara suede options will also be offered on lower-spec variants.

Classy-looking brushed metallic finishes adorn a dashboard with an asymmetrical central section that angles major controls towards the driver with chunky rotary controls, the now essential large colour screen and fashionably-retro analogue clock.

The driver nestles in the cockpit with its wrap-around dash, a high-set gearlever crowning a tall transmission tunnel-like centre console flanked with textured metallic trim and housing a BMW i-Drive-esque rotary infotainment controller plus more switches for electric windows, central locking and electronic parking brake.

Sure to incite humorous comment is the sat-nav screen shown in the press photos that displays a map of Europe in which Welsh capital Cardiff is marked out as a capital city but not London, and no German cities – or even the Belgian capital of Brussels – are identified.

Behind the flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel lies the instrument binnacle, which houses a central analogue speedometer with digital speed readout and a concentric, glowing red fuel and engine temperature display.

The speedometer is flanked by two rectangular, chrome-rimmed digital screens, shown in the press photos as displaying status information for the HYbrid4 drivetrain.

Other images show the central screen being used for more detailed hybrid information such as a graph for fuel consumption, percentage of hybrid usage and the selected drive mode.

The DS5’s hybrid drivetrain is similar to that of PSA group sister brand Peugeot’s high-riding 3008 and 508 RXH crossovers, the latter of which will also feature at Frankfurt in production form.

It comprises a 118kW 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with idle-stop and regenerative braking linked to a six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels plus a 27kW electric motor mounted on the rear axle.

Citroen says the HYbrid4’s Power Train Management Unit automatically manages the “operating modes of the diesel engine and electric motor to achieve the lowest possible fuel consumption”.

Four driver-selectable operating modes are available, including automatic, four wheel drive (for increased low-speed traction), sport (combining maximum power from both drive systems) and zero emissions – which enables electric-only driving for speeds of up to 60km/h.

No details have yet emerged of the DS5’s conventional petrol or diesel engines, but the related C5’s 2.0-litre diesel and petrol engines – plus the range-topping 3.0-litre HDi diesel V6 – are expected to drive the front wheels of mainstream models.

Moving two models down the range, the DS3 Ultra Prestige will be at Frankfurt to celebrate the model’s 100,000 order-strong sales success since it was launched 18 months ago.

It and features similar ‘watch strap’ club leather upholstery to the DS5, but in a ‘crescendo’ finish that results in a gradient effect fading from white at the top of the backrest to black on the base.

The centre armrests and door inserts are trimmed in leather and the dashboard also carries a white leather strip.

The instrument pack features dials colour-matched with the white of the interior colour scheme and extra-thick floor mats with contrast-coloured double stitching complete the luxury feel.

Externally, the special DS3 is identified by a roof monogrammed with a tessalated DS logo providing an effect that shifts from matte to gloss depending on the angle of light. Dark chrome door mirrors, door strips and grille are joined by special charcoal grey diamond-effect 17-inch alloy wheels as the icing on the cake.

Citroen’s Australian sales are down 9.2 per cent to the end of July, on 827 units.

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