Dimehnsions and place aboard DS 4 was never a Citroën C4 rearranged and a little more upscale, impossible to confuse the new DS with the last C4, presented last year. Different platform, style at the antipodes, differentiated engine range … Nothing or almost nothing connects these three-colored compacts. It must be said that since its emancipation in 2014, DS has done everything to build a premium and upscale French image, when Citroën is more focused on accessibility. This orientation has one goal: that DS is able to titillate the essential German references from Audi and company. So that its new DS4 carries out this mission, the French manufacturer has not neglected any details.

Dimensions and space on board

With 4.40 m long and 1.83 m wide, the DS 4 een imposes, especially since it stands on very large rims (up to 20 inches). Thanks to its giant wheelbase of 2.67 m, the Frenchwoman provides a pleasant space on board, at the front and at the rear where passengers are well received on the bench. As for the 430 l trunk announced, it is spacious and should allow you to go on vacation serene. Among its direct competitors, there is only the Mercedes Class A which is larger, with 4.42 m long. If the rear passengers are also pampered there, the cargo capacity does not compare with only 335 liters advertised.

For their part, the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series are intended to be a little more compact with respectively 4.34 m and 4.32 m in length and this is felt on board where you feel more confined. Same story at the level of the presentation of the passenger compartment, much more spectacular in the Class A and in the new DS 4 than in the Series 1 and A3. The latter stick to a dashboard with a more classic design, in particular the BMW when we find little airs of Lamborghini in the Audi. The DS relies on very refined shapes with a less bling-bling design than the DS7 and DS3 Crossback SUVs. Un first contact with a pre-production model proved convincing in terms of the quality of the materials used. They have nothing to envy, even exceed the German trio including at the level of their blends. We will be sure to check if the same will apply to the versions released in the fall.

Several bodies but different strategies

While DS could have been satisfied with a single model for its compact, the brand has instead decided to unveil it with not one but two different bodies: a sedan and a Cross version. The latter blurs the tracks, appearing artificially elevated when in reality it is not. It plays with artifices such as black plastic rocker panels, roof bars or a roof painted the same color as the bodywork to give itself the false air of adventurers.

This is where the branding strategy differs between DS and the German manufacturers. Indeed the 1 Series has its X1 and X2 derivatives, the A3 its Q3 and Q3 Sportback and the A-Class its GLA and other CLAs (5 derivatives in total!), models in their own right and quite distinct from the compacts from which they derive. DS’s choice not to make a Crossback SUV version of its DS 4 can, among other things, be explained by the brand’s desire not to run on the flower beds of the DS 7 SUV, technical cousin of the Citroën C5 Aircross and Peugeot 3008.

Hybridization: not all are at the same level

If there is one chapter that is difficult to ignore today, it is that of electrification. The new DS4 will therefore be available from the start of its marketing with the E-Tense plug-in hybrid engine shared with the DS7 Crossback.. The 12.7 kWh battery promises up to 50 km all-electric, while the cumulative power is 225 hp, all sent to the front wheels. Mercedes offers a 250 e version of its Class A (218 cumulative hp) and Audi even goes so far as to offer two plug-in hybrid units for its A3 (40 TFSI e of 204 cumulative hp and 45 TFSI e of 245 cumulative hp). On the other hand, BMW curiously ignores it on its 1 Series, preferring light hybridized engines. By sharing its platform with the X1, the Series 1 could however take over the 25th block (220 hp cumulative) without having to make drastic adaptations.

A less supplied engine range

Where the BMW, on the other hand, does well is in the engine chapter. It offers 5 petrol and 3 diesel. Mercedes offers 9 plus the hybrid, while Audi is content with 5 thermals and 2 hybrids. DS is limited to four thermals also including a single diesel BlueHDI 130 hp. On the gasoline side, we find the small 3-cylinder 1.2 PureTech with 130 hp, while the 4-cylinder 1.6 PureTech is available in 180 or 225 hp. Note that the automatic, eight-speed gearbox comes as standard with all engines and that there will therefore be no manual gearbox proposal, a possible proposition with some German engines. The latter can also adopt all-wheel drive.

Finally, if there is indeed a field where the Frenchwoman will not venture, it is also that of sport, which the Germans fight fiercely. BMW offers its 1 Series in 128ti with 265 hp (traction) or in M135i four-wheel drive xDrive with 306 hp, to make the powder speak. Audi has the 310 hp S3, while the next RS3, which will produce at least 400 hp, will join it at the end of the year. As for the Mercedes Class A, it exists in an AMG 35 version of 306 hp or even a nasty AMG 45 S of 421 hp.

Style as an ally

The DS 4 therefore arrives in a segment already quite crowded, with well-established competitors who will not be easily shaken by the newcomer. The Frenchwoman keeps for herself an explosive style close to a concept car and a French label (although its manufacture is German) which could well appeal to buyers in France. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel to judge the road capabilities of its revamped EMP2 platform, which will also benefit the next 308, but we’ll have to wait a few more months. If orders will open in the spring at prices still unknown at the time of writing, the first deliveries will probably only take place in the fall.