at the wheel of the future “electric Alpine” from DS!

It was on the road where we took the wheel of the DS E-Tense concept car. An omen that this sports and electric coupe is ready for production? Probably. A rival to the BMW i8, this model would certainly legitimize the presence of DS among premium manufacturers.

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The DS E-Tense concept car is as cozy on car show mats as it is on the road. Its 400 hp is expressed to the fullest.

LACOSTE.Laurent


Star of the Geneva Motor Show 2016, last March, the DS E-Tense concept car came off the carpet of the Swiss event to roll down the street. Like a normal car? Almost, because contrary to appearances, this spectacular-style studio is much more than just a prototype assembled to shine in the spotlight. The realization of the DS E-Tense it is very successful, the car could be used, with some reservations, as a production vehicle.

E-Tense = Exagon Stealth-eGT?

The DS E-Tense has two electric motors. Its top speed is 250 km / h and its theoretical range is 310 km.

And for good reason, DS brand engineers didn’t design the E-Tense from scratch. On the contrary, it occupies the technical base of the French electric sports car Exagon Stealth-eGT presented at the Paris Motor Show in 2010. Made in Magny Cours (58), the latter has already been demonstrated in the demanding circuit of Nuerburgring (Read our Exagon Furtive-eGT test on the Ring article).

With 400 hp on the rear wheels, 250 km / h peak and 0 to 100 km / h in 4.5 s, the DS E-Tense legitimately carries the DS Performance label.

The Hexagon Furtive-eGT that serves as the technical basis for the DS E-Tense

The two electric motors of the Furtive-eGT (see photo on the side) are also part of the game and transmit to the rear wheels of the E-Tense a total power of 400 hp. We noticed it during our road trip, the E-Tense accelerates a lot! It is assigned 4.5 s for 0 to 100 km / h, a time identical to that of a Porsche 911 Carrera S before the turbo shift. On the other hand, we did not manage to check the maximum speed of 250 km / h, nor the autonomy of the given lithium ion batteries for 310 km. It was not the mission of the day.

DS E-Tense video on the road

A bigger DS

Bob Romkes, DS E-Tense exterior designer

The exterior designer of the DS E-Tense, Bob Romkes (see his interview in our video) accompanied us as a passenger during this manipulation. Delighted to see his latest hit in action, he told us he had reworked the proportions of the original Hexagon. The E-Tense is 26 cm (4.72 m) long, 17 cm (2.08 m) wide but has maintained the same height of 1.29 m. Clearly it is more imposing and gaining presence. Dimensions imposed, he explains, by the implementation of certain specific technical elements of refrigeration in particular, but also to optimize aerodynamics. The DS E-Tense spent long hours in the wind tunnel. In the end, if the hexagon that serves as the base has a size comparable to that of theAudi R8time E is as long as BMW i8 or a Ferrari LaFerrari!

An ominous style

Appearing in the DS Divine concept car, this DS Wings grille is of course present in the DS E-Tense. We will see this pattern again in 2017 at the upcoming DS6 SUV.

Beyond the sporty look and electric technology, two essential elements to legitimize a premium brand, the DS E-Tense concept car announces the stylistic orientation of future models of the brand. He is proud of him Grid DS Wings second generation, ie with two horizontal blades, the first, at the top, highlighting the headlights and the second, at the bottom, delimiting the shield and the diffuser. A pattern echoed through the lights.

Indicators on the top of the roof, such as the 1955 “Citroën” DS …

… headlights like the 1967 “Citroën” DS.

Above, a look at the 1955 DS, the indicators are located at the edge of the ceiling. And for formal purity, the DS E-Tense has no rear window. It stretches its curved roof gently to the end of the stern. Quiet, for the rearview mirror, a camera takes care of the grain and shows a rear view in the traditional location of the central mirror, just get used to the depth of field, the vehicles that followed us seemed further away in reality they were.

Forget the back window! A camera replaces it, but we will not say advantageous … it takes time to adapt.

On the sides, two shark fins – their own stylistic trick – adorn the quarter panel and, on the opposite side, the lower part of the body at the level of the front wheel arch. The set is elegant, combining a subtle pairing of sensual curves reminiscent of certain transalpine racing cars of the 60s, with more manly lines, promises of technology and sportiness. But what will really leave the E-Tense in the series? Of course we can expect rotating headlights (this time with reference to the 1967 DS) of the same type, a similar luminous signature and a grille made in 3D printing on the future DS6 SUVscheduled for 2017. For the rest, look for more concrete cables inside the car.

Luxury, tranquility and connectivity

Reptile for some, baroque for others, the furniture of the DS E-Tense is simply original and luxurious.

On board the E-Tense, the atmosphere is typically DS. It is impossible to confuse the furniture with that of a model from another brand. The control panel, made up of a carved piece of metal, keeps the center touch screen in levitation. Gray leather with stitching and green leather serve as a showcase for 100% digital technology.

A 12-inch digital panel in front of the driver …

… a 10-inch touch screen to share with the passenger.

The instrumentation of a 12-inch panel has nothing to envy Audi virtual cockpit, state-of-the-art technology that has just introduced the new Peugeot 3008. Clear and precise, without the artifices sometimes abused by saloon prototypes, the layout of the information and menus are very realistic. This gives us beautiful insights into the multimedia universe of the upcoming DS series. Could this be the premium interpretation of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit? Answer in 2017.

Unless you can travel in a fetal position, the rear seats of the DS E-Tense are useless.

What about a standard E-Tense?

In a production version, the design of the shields should gain in wisdom. The aggressiveness of the concept car is not necessarily compatible with pedestrian impact standards or to ensure a decent repair cost in the event of a light collision.

Obviously comes the issue of limited series production of this DS E-Tense. Audi has its R8, BMWis i8, Alfa Romeoyour 4C, not to mention … Renault which will have its Alpine next year. In addition, the cessation of production of the Peugeot RCZ gives DS free rein to take the torch to the sports coupe market.

The cessation of production of the Peugeot RCZ leaves the field open to a future sports coupe with the DS logo.

Finally, the PSA group is not afraid of market niches, especially if the design and production of vehicles has been outsourced. In the “electric” family, the Citroën E-Méhari, which is none other than one Bolloré BlueSummer recarrossée, testifies some. It seems that all the conditions are met to one day see a standard DS E-Tense on the street. Please sir Carlos Tavaresplease (and yourself), make your “alpine dream” come true at DS!

BMW i8: on sale since July 2014

Alpine Vision: almost the future Alpine of 2017

Results of our DS E-Tense concept test

The DS E-Tense left us very fond memories.

We have already had the opportunity to try a series of concept cars, these are always magical and beautiful moments that we know how to fully appreciate. However, the DS E-Tense immediately stands out for its highly accomplished design and its “comfortable” driving that is not incompatible with traffic, with the disadvantage of avoiding too steep speed drops, its sculptural shield before he could not resist. Knowing that the technical basis and assembly are possible at Exagon, we sincerely hope that this French-style electric GT will one day appear in the DS catalog.

Whatever happens with the E-Tense, it’s official, 100% electric propulsion will be a reality at PSA in 2019.

Called e-CMP, this technology will be offered in four models distributed between the three brands of the group (Citroën, DS and Peugeot) with a range of approximately 450 km. In the case of the DS, the future DS6 SUV will open the ball in 2017.

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