Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. I would like to welcome you aboard flight DS5 to Ashford. Flight duration is approximately 30 minutes. We will be climbing to about 18 inches and cruising at speeds of up to 50mph. Please ensure your seatbelts are fastened before take off, thank you. Enjoy your flight…
Delivering that speech added several agonising seconds to my other half’s journey to, and from, work every day but I really couldn’t help myself. With the help of a (very) vivid imagination, sitting in the driver’s seat in the DS5 was exactly like being at the helm of a commercial passenger jet.
There are switches everywhere. Either side of the transmission tunnel, in the roof... they look as though they should raise the undercarriage, extended the flaps or open the pod bay doors.
Sadly, Dave, they don't. At least as far as I know.
You’ve probably gathered by now that I found the DS5’s cabin to be exciting, intriguing and, to some extent baffling. While Citroen should be applauded for daring to do something different, the placement of some of the controls is a touch confusing.
For example, the switches to operate the electric windows - front and rear - are buried among the controls on the transmission tunnel while if you want to adjust the position of the head-up display, well, that would be above your head.
It is, of course. something that you would become accustomed to in a matter of time, and it's entirely possible to mark it down as just another quirk of owning this car, but I'd still be happier with a more logical layout.
I know, I'm a picky bugger.
Passenger space is generous enough to ensure that at least four adults can travel in comfort. Head and legroom in the rear would not disappoint a couple of six-footers but a third might find it a tad cosy.
The build quality is excellent and, though it might be slightly flawed in places, the attention to detail is obvious.
The panoramic roof has been divided into three sections – one above the driver’s seat, one above the front seat passenger’s and a full-width panel above the rear bench – each with their own blind.
The 7in Touch Drive Interface controls all of the DS5’s primary functions and, apparently, replaces at least 12 buttons. It’s just as well, because I have no idea where they’d have squeezed them in if it hadn't.
Standard equipment is generous – although the lack of an altimeter didn’t go unnoticed – with cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, blind spot monitoring and directional headlights.
The exterior of the DS5 does, at least, give a hint at the flamboyant idiosyncrasies awaiting you on the inside.
It’s a hatchback but with crossover ambitions. It possibly aspires to be a coupe, with a hint of estate thrown in, but of one thing I’m sure. This is the closest Citroen have come to evoking the spirit of the trailblazing original DS since the brand’s rebirth.
The styling is taut, aggressive, but not overly so, and classy. It’s a fluid, balanced design full of momentum that begs to be driven. It’s a car that can surprise you with fresh details every time you look at it.
Unfortunately it does not, in any way, resemble a plane.
My test car was powered by a 150hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel and, while it certainly wasn’t the quietest, particularly at start-up, it was easy to live with. Noise suppression is generally very good and, at cruising speeds, the cabin proved to be a relatively tranquil and relaxed place to watch the world whizz by.
It’s not the quickest off the line, but the manual gearbox is slick and precise, and the clutch light, which ensures the 10 seconds or so it takes to hit 60 is untroubled.
Motorways are where the DS5 does its best work. Its body control is soft, which allows for a fair amount of movement on the springs around corners and under heavy acceleration and braking, but the dampers do an excellent job of settling the car quickly, alleviating any tendency to wallow.
It means, of course, that progress along more challenging roads falls a little short of brisk, but it’s certainly unruffled with no hint of turbulence regardless of what’s going on under the wheels.
The steering is a touch vague too, but given the nature of the car the lack of feel is hardly an issue, and it at least has a nice weight to it.
The DS5 is, perhaps, the first from the now independent stable to really capture the iconic marque’s history. Inside and out it defies convention. A little, at least. It also happens to be a pretty darn fine luxury automobile. It’s not cheap, but many will find the cost of driving something that dares to be different worth bearing.
The DS5 is definitely a high flyer.
DS5 Prestige BlueHDi 150 S&S
As tested: £31,400
Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Max power: 150hp
Max torque: 273lbft @ 1,500rpm
Max speed: 127mph
Acceleration (0-62mph): 10.6sec
Extra urban: 74.3mpg
Emissions (CO2): 113g/km
For more information visit www.driveds.co.uk/uk