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What is it like to drive?

DS’s engineers have done their job here. This executive saloon car rides with a floaty pliancy that’s enormous refreshing. Riding on modest 19-inch rims with a proper sidewall, the DS 9 soaks up imperfections pleasingly. 

So what if it doesn’t apex with the Nürburgring-conquering verve of a 5 Series? You might not arrive quite as quickly as you would in the BMW or Jag, but you’ll probably alight more chilled then when you climbed in. 

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It’s commendably quiet inside thanks to laminated double glazing, with no obvious wind rustle around the mirrors and less of the road-roller tyre roar you’d get in a firmer-riding rival. Obviously keeping the engine off for half the journey helps keep noise levels down. So, you’ll be wanting the E-Tense plug-in hybrid then.

We went with the middling version, got a disappointing 17 miles of EV range versus a claim of over 30, and combined economy of 112mpg when the battery was charged, against 38mpg when it ran flat. 

The engine’s a little too buzzy when roused, but nothing about the 9’s wafty demeanour encourages time-saving driving: this is not a fun or even a memorable car to drive. So, the game becomes driving like you’re taking a royal chauffeur job interview, trying to make progress as swiftly as possibly while keeping engine revs low, or absent entirely. 

The switchover between power sources is smooth, and the brake pedal doesn’t fidget and fix as the car chooses between regen-braking and old-fashioned discs. Apparently nous from DS’s championship winning Formula-E team has been helpful here. Sounds like marketing guff, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. 

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After all there’s nothing ‘Motorsport’ about a BMW 520d, but most of them are still plastered with ‘M’ badges…

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