Most powerful 100% thermal version
225 hp, 300 Nm, 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 s.
This second generation of DS 4, we have already tried it long, wide and across. But on the side of the gasoline models, we still had to take control of the most powerful of the non-electrified versions: the 1.6 Puretech 225. It is therefore this model that we had in our hands to dissect it at leisure.
It is also almost a surprise to find it in the range of this new compact from the French premium manufacturer. Indeed, it already has a 225 hp version. With the difference that it is an E-Tense, that is to say a plug-in hybrid version. So what is the point of offering another version of the same power? Quite simply to be able to display a (slightly) more affordable price. Indeed, without electrification, the DS 4 Puretech 225 is sold for €2,100 less than the PHEV. A price difference which is however reduced to €1,100 if we take into account the ecological bonus enjoyed by the E-Tense, officially until July 1, 2022 (it is rumored that they will be extended beyond).
But perhaps this pure thermal has other advantages? Let’s see that.
Already, by abandoning the hybrid part of the PHEV version, this compact gets rid of 234 kg, which some would consider superfluous. A reduction which is felt (a little), at the level of the dynamic behavior, but it is subtle. This could affect performance. Yes, with the same power and lighter, the Puretech 225 100% thermal should prove to be more efficient. But that’s forgetting the torque input of the PHEV’s electric motor (360 Nm combined against 300 Nm here). And in the end, it is the heaviest which is the most efficient. With 7.7 seconds for the 0 to 100 km/h, it leaves the light thermal 2 tenths of a second behind it (7.9 seconds).
Moreover, in absolute terms, the performance of this 225 hp DS 4 is well behind the competition. For example, a Mercedes A-Class 250 with 224 hp only needs 6.2 seconds, and an Audi A3 40 TFSI with only 190 only needs 7 seconds. This puretech is therefore very lazy!
And it feels like flying in hand. The accelerations are very soft compared to the power, and the 225 horsepower are rather small ponies, some of which have escaped from the paddock! And it’s not even the fault of the EAT8 box, which does its job properly. It is fairly quick in upshifts and downshifts. She has a little reaction time on takeoff in first gear but nothing bad. And in sport mode, which has the good taste of not being caricatural, it gains in responsiveness, at the same time as the direction hardens, and the accelerator becomes more sensitive. But nothing to do, at mid-range, the 1.6 lacks punch, and it also lacks a bit of extension.
Let’s be clear, this version is not underpowered, and we will get out of all situations (truck overtaking, motorway insertions) without any worries. But the comparison is harsh with the competitors, who seem to have wings next to her. Even more surprising, the 1.6 Puretech 180 version, also 100% thermal, offers almost the same performance, with 45 hp less (0 to 100 km/h in 8 s.), a shame, and for €2,600 less .
It is therefore difficult to understand the reason for this power variant, when the 180 hp does as well (it only loses 5 km/h in v-max, 230 km/h against 235), or when the PHEV is more powerful while consuming much less, at least on paper.
This Puretech announces in the WLTP cycle 6.6 liters on a mixed route, for 149 grams of CO2 per kilometer. The PHEV is 1.3 liters and 30 grams. In real life, and over 500 km of varied routes, we obtained 7.5 liters of real average calculated at the pump. A correct figure in the absolute it is true, for the power. But the PHEV version, even empty battery, can make do with 6 litres, which makes it possible to offset its additional cost (€1,100 bonus included) in around 37,000 km.
So what remains to this 225 hp thermal? Not much you will understand. Perhaps mechanical simplicity that can reduce potential reliability issues. But electrification is rarely a problem.
In short, far be it from us to fire red balls at this engine. Just a real misunderstanding in relation to its placement in the range and its usefulness, since it does not provide higher performance or greater pleasure. So why pay more?
Very real qualities
But let’s get out of these mechanical considerations to come back to the DS 4 itself. A car that demonstrates remarkable comfort, and this version like the others. The suspensions are well calibrated to offer remarkable softness. Only the road joints, or the potholes, will bring up some percussion, probably also due to the 19-inch rims, (which are surprisingly mounted with very narrow tires in 205/55/19, to the benefit of consumption c sure).
Our Cross Rivoli version is equipped with “DS Active Scan suspension”, which adapts their level of firmness according to what the front camera has observed on the road in front of the car. Equipment that only works in “comfort” mode of the driving mode selector.
The soundproofing is also excellent and you travel in complete serenity even at German motorway speeds. The air noises are also well filtered, it’s very pleasant.
Steering and braking call for no criticism. The first hardens sufficiently with speed, the second is powerful and easily dosed. More easily than on the PHEV version. There is indeed no regenerative braking to manage.
A premium atmosphere
On board, the DS 4, we emphasize again, offers a particularly pleasant atmosphere, a modern and classic design, and very good build quality. Fitted with the Criollo Brown Opera interior package, it displays excellent quality materials, with extended leather, real wood, and aluminium. Here, this car easily meets the premium standards in force at Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Ergonomics is improved compared to other models in the range, but remains a bit special. In any case, the large 10.3-inch multimedia screen is responsive and pleasant to use.
In the back, the place for the passengers is comfortable, but measured. Legroom is average, and taller ones will be close to the ceiling. The ransom of a very collected style. Still, the significant length (4.40 m), allows to have a spacious trunk (430 liters, against 390 liters for the PHEV version, and for example, 345 liters for a Mercedes Class A or 380 for an A3) . On the other hand, the threshold is very high and a big step is to be crossed to get the luggage out.
Finally, in terms of equipment, our trial version Cross Rivoli charged €6,000 is full, with for example: head-up display with extended color display, matrix LED lights, dual-zone air conditioning, acoustic windshield, rear traffic detection, lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, etc. More details by scrolling down the menus on the equipment page.
As you will have understood, this DS 4 Puretech 225 is not a bad car, far from it. It is even probably the best DS has done so far, but the relevance of this particular version seems to be lacking.