Daily Dispatch

Style and sophistica­tion – a true work of art

The new Citroen possesses the perfect expression of the DS spirit

- By BOBBY CHEETHAM

CITROEN last week used the beautiful Eastern Cape as the launch venue of the flagship of their range. The Citroen DS5 is arguably the best looking model in the line-up.

The route started at the Ginger restaurant at the Beach Hotel in Port Elizabeth and then on to the magnificen­t Cape St Francis Links resort.

The DS5 is the next model in the DS line-up following the DS3 and DS4 which have already been launched in South Africa. Now the larger DS5 heralds a new phase in the developmen­t of the DS line.

The range consists of three engine variants – two turbocharg­ed petrol engines and a Euro V-compliant diesel.

The THP 155 petrol turbo (155kw and 240Nm) and HDI 160 diesels (120kw and 340Nm) are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmissi­on, while the high output THP 200 (147kw of power and 275Nm of torque) is mated to the 6-speed manual gearbox.

The range is then divided into two style variants (THP 155 automatic and THP 200 manual) and two Sport derivative­s (THP 200 manual and HDI 160 automatic).

In true Citroen fashion the vehicle looks smart and very stylish. Once again the French have designed a standout vehicle which breaks with tradition. Out goes the boxy look and in comes a good looking coupe with an interior styling that also does not follow convention­al design ethics.

Getting to grips with the control functions on the dash and centre console takes a good few minutes to find out what does what. It’s complicate­d but refreshing­ly new.

It’s almost as if the Citroen people have got a special set of designers who are not part of a European designer pool who are very predictabl­e.

Think BMW, Audi, Mercedes-benz and other top end vehicles, and then check the Citroen DS5 credential­s and you find they are like chalk and cheese in the design stakes.

The driver in the French car is the master of his machine – and not the other way round.

There were a few critics on the launch drive which took place from Port Elizabeth down to Cape St Francis and back.

The drive took in all the minor roads and only used the N2 the following day on the return trip.

The main concern of the critics was the harsh ride.

However, I had no such complaint. The low-profile tyres may have influenced their judgment on the not too good Eastern Cape roads.

However, I found handling and general driving dynamics good.

I particular­ly liked the very lively 1.6-litre turbocharg­ed engine model. It has bags of power and torque and at high speed is a little gem.

I also liked the second-generation lane departure warning system.

Just outside Port Elizabeth we had our first driver change. My female co-driver who had driven a few kilometres down the drag, blushing asked if I had left my cellphone on the driver’s seat.

A quick pat-down and I found my phone in my pocket.

“Well there’s something vibrating under my bottom,’’ she blushingly replied.

After a few more good vibrations, we discovered it was every time the vehicle veered over the painted lane markings on the road the lane warning system was activated through the seat, unlike some other vehicles which vibrate through the steering wheel.

You can imagine later that night at the dinner table, the ragging that went on.

Talk about driving by the seat of your pants!

The DS5 is very much a niche model that may make inroads into the segment dominated by the luxury European cars like Merc, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. It’s a car for the connoisseu­r of the finer things in life.

All DS5S are covered by a threeyear/100 000km warranty and a fiveyear/100 000km service plan. The warranty coverage may be extended at extra cost to 5-years/100 000km and buyers selecting the Freedrive option enjoy the five-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/100 000km maintenanc­e plan. THE SPECS Citroen DS5 THP 155 6-speed Automatic Engine: 1.6 THP Power: 155kw at 6 000rpm Torque: 240Nm at 1 400rpm 0-100km/h: 9.7 seconds Top Speed: 202km/h Fuel Consumptio­n: 7.3/100km (claimed combined) CO2: 169g/km THE SPECS Citroen DS5 THP 200 Manual Engine: 1.6 THP Power: 147kw at 6 000rpm Torque: 275Nm at 1 700rpm 0-100km/h: 8.2 seconds Top Speed: 235km/h Fuel Consumptio­n: 6.7/100km (claimed combined) CO2: 155g/km THE SPECS Citroen DS 5 HDI 160 Automatic Engine: 2.0-litre HDI Power: 120kw at 3 750rpm Torque: 340Nm at 2 000rpm 0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds Top Speed: 212km/h Fuel Consumptio­n: 6.1/100km (claimed combined) CO2: 158g/km FULL line-up and prices:

THP 155 Automatic Style R344 900; THP 200 Manual Style R374 900; THP 200 Manual Sport R395 900; and

HDI 160 Sport R399 900.

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