New DS 8 flagship planned to take on the BMW 5 Series

DS will crown its range with a ‘spectacular’ new flagship, Auto Express can reveal. It will be on sale by 2020 and mark 65 years since the arrival of the original Citroen DS.

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.

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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.

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