When Citroen setup the DS division of the company in 2010 it was seen as an offshoot intended to produce a limited volume of slightly more upmarket cars which were a little off-beat, dramatic and stylish. But now, four years after DS was launched, the outfit has sold over half a million vehicles worldwide, and the Citroen connection, although just as strong behind the scenes, is being increasingly muted in public.
The Divine DS concept is a vehicle which will be making its public debut shortly at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. It’s intended to represent the future of the DS brand, and show the sorts of vehicle they’ll be producing in the near future, as well as the high-fashion interiors they’ll be packing.
Designed and built in Paris, the Divine DS concept is a compact 4-door vehicle. It’s overall shape is pretty standard for a hatchback, but the details are striking. It has laser headlights, a glittering front grille filled with floating diamond shapes of different sizes and finished in varying shades of chrome, a chrome highlighted character line running nearly the full length of the car and an unusual diamond patterned roof. At the rear the Divine DS concept features jewel-like LED tail lights.
But if the exterior is 90 percent sensible, 10 percent wacky, then the interior is the opposite. It looks something like a futuristic spaceship cockpit crossed with the room decor from the Palace of Versaille. All aspects of practicality, ergonomics and comfort appears to have been sacrificed in the name of fashion. The seats look about as comfortable as sitting on a nail-studded cactus, the center console about as user-friendly as a 1970s Japanese VCR, and the steering wheel is just dire. The holographic instrument panel looks slick, but would be next to invisible in bright sunlight.
The seats are trimmed in full-grain aniline leather, while other areas, like the door panels are covered in pleated silk and satin which are embroided with beads and crystals. DS say the interior can be transformed in 15 minutes, by swapping the dashboard panels and door panels, into three different styles – or as DS call them “Hyper-typages”.
‘Male’ is a reserved design which uses carbon fiber and leather to create a more serious and grown-up environment. The ‘Parisienne Chic’ layout uses silk and satin coverings which were sown by the supposedly world renowned (I’ve never heard of them) embroidery firm Lesage. ‘Fatale Punk’ is the ridiculous name given to the third interior design. This is characterised by deep black padded leather which is studded by crystals.
Overall the feeling is that DS, and also therefore Citroen, has taken themselves a bit too seriously when it comes to the Divine DS concept. Any company which describes their car as providing an “original sensory experience”, and offering a view into the world of “haute couture”, is happy to stick Swarovski crystals in their headlights for no good reason, describes their tail lights as creating a ” magical effect “, employs a 154 year-old embroidery company to hand-stitch beads onto its door linings, and invents words like Hyper-typage needs to chill for a moment and return to reality.
The drivetrain of the Divine DS concept is about the only thing rooted in the real world. Powering the car is a turbocharged and direct injected 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine which produces a very respectable 270 horsepower.
While DS say the Divine concept represents a vision of the future for the company, they are less clear on whether that vision includes a production model of the concept, or if it is just being used to showcase some of the brands latest ideas.