DS Automobiles has now been a brand in its own right for almost seven years. In its fairly short life, it has experimented with high-end superminis, high-fashion crossover hatchbacks, jacked-up designer shooting brakes and upmarket SUVs. But it has resisted the urge to introduce the kind of model you might have expected its renaissance to open with – until now.
It’s with all due reverence to Citroën’s iconic DS19 of 1955, then, that the premium French marque whose existence owes so much to that car finally risks another big luxury saloon.
The DS 9 may have been a long time coming, but it has been a part of its maker’s model strategy since 2015. It is significant not only as a flagship – a symbol of the most advanced technology that DS can muster and the height of desirability that it can reach – but also because it is the first DS model to be produced in China for all global markets. As a top-of-the-range French luxury car built many thousands of miles away in Shenzen, the 9 might just raise an eyebrow or two in France’s protectionist quarters.
After an initial motor show debut that was planned to take place as long ago as April 2019 was delayed by the fallout of the merger of the PSA and FCA groups, and delayed again by the global pandemic, the 9’s arrival in UK showrooms was then beset by semiconductor-related supply problems last year.