DS 4
Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.

Read time of 6 minutes.

Progressive, creative – and very French – DS Automobiles are the avant-garde brand coming for the premium German manufacturers

Leaving the Citroen legacy behind them, DS is breaking the mould and setting sail for a brave new world, where Parisian style reigns supreme

London, Milan, New York – DS. 

When the world is looking to you for fashion inspiration, it’s only right that your cars reflect that same elegant touch. And DS Automobiles are looking to style capital Paris for that elegance and sophistication the brand is becoming so well known for. 

DS 9

DS 9

The history of DS

DS Automobiles, as a standalone marque, was created in 2014 – but the first ever DS was actually unveiled at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, making its mark on automotive history. 

It was an innovative car, setting the tone for what DS has become today – bringing to life luxury French expertise and the spirit of the avant-garde, which DS says defines the philosophy at the heart of their DNA, and inspires all their designs. 

The Citroen DS 21 was even the car of choice for the French president in 1968, cementing DS's luxurious future. 

In more modern times, the DS crept into people’s lives back in 2009 as a Citroen sub-brand. You might even have owned one of these DS-branded Citroen cars back along, but DS split from the affordable French brand nine years ago when the independent marque was created.

Since then, DS have gone from strength to strength to build a name for themselves, stepping out of Citroen’s shadow and heralding a brave new world filled with the height of French luxury. No macarons included though, which is always disappointing.

Depending on who you talk to, DS can either be an abbreviation of Different Spirit or Distinctive Series, but if you speak French you might also have picked up on it being a play on words because the name is pronounced like the word deesse, or ‘goddess’. 

It’s a bold claim to make – but we think it works. 

1968 DS 21

1968 DS 21

What makes DS stand out?

DS are coming for some big players.

Where Citroen rivals less premium brands, DS are gunning for the heavy hitters of the automotive world: Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi

And to do that, DS claims that its production cars don’t just hail from a design lab to suit the needs of the consumer, but instead come from the innovation and inventiveness of the DS craftspeople, and are packed with expertise and unique savoir-faire (otherwise known as a ‘polished sureness’ to you and me), high-quality materials and elegant finishes.

In other words, these are cars built for the Parisian sensibility and shipped all over the world. 

If you dream of dancing along the Seine or strolling down the Champs Elysée, espresso in hand and beret firmly placed on your head, but you’re stuck on a pot-holed UK road instead, then treating yourself to a DS lease might give you a little taste of that Parisian luxury.

There’s nothing quite like picking your car lease to fulfil your favourite daydreams. 

The ‘elegant finishes’ that DS talk about include some really lovely little details. 

DS interior

DS have pioneered the use of a historic Parisian stitching technique (for the first time in a road car) called ‘pearl stitching’ to add a delicate and elegant detail to their cars. It’s as tricky as it is pretty, with the thread disappearing almost as soon as it appears in the leather. 

This challenge posed by the stitch meant that DS took four years and the development of a special machine before they cracked it, but it’s since become key to the DS Automobile finish.

Another unique feature is the ‘clous de Paris’ guilloche. It’s inspired by the Louvre pyramid (if you know, you know), and it’s as if small nails with pyramid-shaped heads have crisscrossed, and the engraved metal pattern decorates the surfaces of the DS Automobiles interior. 

It’s as close to Paris fashion week as this copywriter is ever going to get.

DS 3

DS 3

The cars

The DS line-up is quite spectacular, comprising some of the most delightful hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs that money can buy.

There’s definitely a distinct look to the DS car, with angular lines and bold styling making each model stand out in what can be a very crowded market. And when you’re competing with cars that have the added advantage of having been on our roads for years, it takes a bold move and some attractive little extras to draw buyers away from what they know.

DS are succeeding though.

The line-up is reasonably sizeable, spanning across the hatchback DS 3 right through to the BMW 5-Series-sized DS 9. You want electric? DS have electric. You want PHEV? DS have PHEV. You just want a car that’ll get you from A to B with the ability to fuel up at a petrol station?

DS have you covered in style.

If we ran through the entire range we’d be here all day, so instead, we’ve highlighted two of our favourites – the DS 4 and the DS 7 – to give you a flavour of the French luxury that DS are becoming so well known for.

DS 4

DS 4

DS 4

If a hatchback is too low and a crossover is too tall, then the DS 4 might be just right. 

It’s a good-looking machine too, bringing the French flair with its distinctive looks including multiple diagonal creases slashed across the metal, flashy textured LED lighting and an (optional) two-tone roof. It’s certainly not the car you’ll want if you’re trying to blend in.

But if it was, it wouldn’t be very Parisian. There’s no blending in when one of your most famous landmarks is the Eiffel Tower.

And, compared with rivals, you get a lot of tech for the price. It’s DS’ most impressive car yet, built to entice buyers away from opting for their umpteenth Mercedes or BMW.

DS 4 details

DS 4 details

There are four trims to opt for (plus a sportier Performance Line), all named after Parisian landmarks: Bastille, Trocadero, Rivoli and Opera. It does get rather expensive as you move up past the Bastille+ trim, but if you don’t fancy storming the Bastille on the daily, Trocadero and Rivoli trims are worth the money, adding in useful extra tech like a built-in sat nav, reversing camera and a handy second touchscreen.

It's not all style over substance either.

The cushy interior feels cocooning, rather than airy, and the plush finish to the cabin includes plenty of knurled metal, unusual stitching and soft furnishings. It’s a rather lovely place to pass the time, even if you’re stuck in stop-start traffic on the morning commute. 

For a brand that are still newer to the scene than most established rivals, DS aren’t holding back.

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7

The DS 7 was the first DS to be designed and built as a DS from the word go. 

With rivals including the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLA and the Jaguar E-PACE, the DS 7 had a lot of work to do to prove itself against these established rivals.

But with a left-field appeal that none of the others quite match, it’s an excellent choice if you’re bored of the usual luxury SUV offering. The styling is smart, with slim LED headlamps and five vertical light bars on the front corners (known as a light veil).

Inside, the elegant styling continues, with high-quality materials to finish, a refreshed infotainment panel and an improved infotainment system with voice recognition. And there’s no missing that spangly diamond finish – with diamond-faceted switches, diamond-shaped virtual dials, diamond screen graphics, and diamond stitching on some versions, you’ll feel like you’re sat inside the Louvre.

In fact, if you turn your head just so, you might even spy the Mona Lisa smiling at you.

DS 7 Crossback

DS 7 Crossback

There are five trim levels to pick from, dependent on your needs, with the top specs named after famous Parisian landmarks to continue the theming, including the Rivoli and the Opera and Opera Premiere.

But if you’re not after all the bells and whistles, the not-quite-entry-level Performance Line+ has a decent amount of standard kit, including keyless entry and start, 12in instrument cluster and infotainment display, front parking sensors, reversing camera and heated front seats. 

However – the Rivoli trim is really quite nice.

It includes a Basalt Black leather interior, massaging front seats and a central clock from luxury French watch manufacturer B.R.M Chronographs, while the Opera trim adds ventilated front seats, electric tailgate and panoramic sunroof, wireless charging and adaptive cruise control.

Fashionable French design has never fallen out of style, and DS have managed to tap into a niche that hadn’t quite been filled by the usual French manufacturers (Renault, Citroen, Peugeot) before. 

If you want French style in a high-riding car, then you can’t go half wrong with a DS 7 lease. 

It’s even been the French president’s choice of car before. And what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all.

DS 7

DS 7

DS Collection

If the standard DS 4 and DS 7 aren’t quite luxe enough for you, have no fear – DS are here to alleviate your fears.

The new Esprit De Voyage models are inspired by the fashion industry and world of haute-couture, and characterised by light interiors, exclusive finishes and extra tech.

Both the DS 4 and DS 7 Esprit De Voyage are based on the Rivoli trim, and offered in plug-in hybrid guise – good news for a business car lease, if you’re a company car driver, because the reduced emissions will mean less Benefit in Kind tax. 

The DS 4 Esprit De Voyage adds exclusive details and extra equipment as standard, including Pebble Grey Nappa leather on the seats, armrests and centre console, and a new shade of Nixon Grey on the side trim. The exterior details unique to this trim includes Esprit De Voyage laser etching on the mirror caps, and 19in Cannes diamond cut alloy wheels finished in a new Anthracite Grey colour, as well as an elegant gloss black finish on the door cladding, upper window surround, DS WINGS and grille surround.

Now, take a deep breath – the tech list is quite something. 

DS 4 and DS 7 Esprit de Voyage

DS 4 and DS 7 Esprit de Voyage

As well as all the equipment included in the DS 4 Rivoli trim (Drive Assist, 10in touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 7in digital instrument cluster, folding and heated door mirrors, and a host of safety features), the Esprit De Voyage spec comes with keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors with reversing camera, an extended heads-up display, the DS Iris infotainment system, and the DS matrix LED headlights. 

And breathe.

The DS 7 Esprit De Voyage is just as good as the DS 4, but is the one you’ll want to opt for if you want something a little bigger and even more opulent. 

It’s basically as close to Parisian luxury as you can get without actually hopping on the Eurostar and taking yourself on a weekend break to the city of love. 

It’s also based on the Rivoli trim, but with an exclusive light leather interior and more tech than you could shake a stick at. And if all that wasn’t enough, the craftsmen at DS have gone that extra step further with luxe little touches like the heat-embossed Pearl Grey Nappa leather on the dash.

The DS 7 was already quite the machine, and the Esprit de Voyage trim takes that premium feel and runs with it. If you’re after something a little different for your next business car lease, it’s worth some serious consideration.

Your next DS lease is just a Whatsapp away.