The popularity of traditional saloons is in decline – Ford recently decided to stop development of such vehicles in North America – but bosses from the newly formed luxury French brand feel it is imperative that the company has such a flagship model in its range.
Expected to be called the DS 8, the car is set to get a more radical look to help it fight against a struggling market. Speaking to Auto Express at the recent Beijing Motor Show, DS vice-president of product, Eric Apode, confirmed the design of the BMW 5 Series rival has been signed off by company bosses.
“The design is finished and I can tell you the car looks amazing. Since the beginning it was extremely important to have this car in our range,” he said. “But we will never do a copy; DS is something different, something spectacular. With our flagship we will do that.”
It’s understood the marque will shun a traditional three-box saloon silhouette for a design-led fastback, as previewed by our exclusive images.
Design cues taken from the new DS 7 Crossback will appear to continue the family look, while the flagship’s more unconventional rear end will give it a unique selling point in the market.
Apode added: “When we talk about DS, we say we are the only French car maker positioned in the luxury premium sector, that we are unique in this position. Whenever we do a car we don’t start the process by saying we want to copy a car from Mercedes.”
Beneath the skin, the DS 8 will be based on the recently launched Peugeot 508 and use that model’s EMP2 architecture, while conventional 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesels and 1.6-litre PureTech petrols will be offered.
Electrification will play a significant role in the DS 8, with Apode admitting that electrification has become the new definition of luxury.
The plug-in hybrid model will make use of the E-Tense system found in the current DS 7 Crossback. However, unlike with the SUV, it will be front-wheel drive only and feature a more modest power output. An EV range of 40 miles will be achievable.