DS has done a great job making this new DS 7 a competent back-road sculptor, but it seems like an odd place for the brand to focus so much power when cars dropping off the stealth rankings still call for improvement. suspension. Despite this, internal and external tweaks across the lineup are welcome.
We have several concerns about the DS 7, but one awful smudge on its report card is the ride. As the first bespoke DS product after its split from Citroen, it should really be smoother, given the brand’s clear focus on comfort.
Yes, the damping is soft, but it lacks control and consistency, roll and swaying on road imperfections, and often struggles for stability. Now, there is an improved version of the DS 7, and the suspension has been completely overhauled.
but there is a problem. Only the E-Tense 4×4 360 – the new class – gets these changes, all aimed at honing the driving experience at the slight expense of ride smoothness.
Team DS Performance went to town on an EMP2 platform, which the Stellantis Group also uses for the Citroen C5 Aircross, Opel Grandland and Peugeot 3008. It sits 15mm higher on new springs and revised dampers, while track width has increased by 24mm in the front and 10mm in the back.
There are new 21-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires which are – curiously – custom “TO” versions originally developed for Tesla, and below them on the front axle are a pair of 380mm ventilated brake discs compressed by four-piston calipers. .
The powertrain is – for the most part – the same as the hybrid powertrain as the DS 7300. The 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor that feeds the front wheels are unchanged, and there is also no rear-mounted electric motor. The inverter and powertrain are both new, however, power output from 296 hp to 355 hp, while torque swells from 450 Nm to 520 Nm. The 0 to 62 mph time is now a very respectable 5.6 seconds, and it will top out at 150 mph. Healthy characters, though DS insists this is meant to be a big touring vehicle rather than an outdoor performance vehicle.
Just take a quick look at the DS 7 360 to see that it differs slightly from its counterparts in stability. The 21-inch wheels feel particularly roomy thanks to the use of the sidewalls of the barely 35-inch tires, and the low-profile nature of the body is immediately apparent.
Meanwhile, the difference in the driving experience is quite evident from the moment you take off – the low-speed ride is busy, sometimes on the verge of crashing. That will partly be due to the new springs and dampers, and partly to the big wheel and extremely low set of tires. It’s a shame it’s not available with smaller rims, like the look of the new “Brooklyn” design wheels. They will also be highly susceptible to damage reduction, as the sidewalls of the tire offer virtually no protection. Park carefully.
The ride improves quickly, but this is certainly not mobile, as body movements remain very energetic even on the smooth French highways of the first driving position. When you peel it off and head into the mountains, the payoff is clear – it’s a DS 7 that’s happy to sprint well through a range of tight bends.
Given the size of the DS 7 (this version is nearly two tons enough), the body control is commendably tidied. The 360 responds well when the driver requests quick changes in direction, and the car stays nicely level even when pushed. There’s nothing in the way of getting meaningful steering feedback, which is well weighted at least.
Although the front axle is provided with significantly more torque than the rear axle, it is not overloaded even under full throttle in the tightest corner. Side grip is good, too, although the overly ambitious entry speed will remind you of the DS 7’s height and weight, with the front end thrusting down low on the tires. Be more realistic in your expectations, and the DS 7 360 can be quite fun on the right track.
The racy hybrid setup never leaves you wanting for power but it doesn’t feel very fast either. The whole affair is also undone somewhat by the eight-speed automatic gearbox, which takes great care to downshift even under only the partial throttle, especially in Sport mode, which results in higher revs.
The 1.6-liter engine feels taut in its upper reaches, and given all the extra low-end torque the engine provides, the transmission’s obsession with sending you there seems unnecessary. Although there are some gearshift paddles to allow the driver to control the gearbox, there is no manual mode, so you can’t stop useless sprinting moments. This situation is still present in other modes, albeit to a lesser degree.
This gets in the way of enjoying DS Performance’s highly successful chassis tweaks during dynamic driving, although the new setup can be appreciated elsewhere as well. Although it may seem counterintuitive, this version of the DS 7 is more comfortable due to its sturdier nature. The standard car is too soft for its own good—there’s not enough finesse in the damping, so ripples and imperfections in the road surface can make it ride clumsily. 360, on the other hand, is more controllable.
As with all models in the range, it is optimized for on-the-go, which isolates occupants well from wind and road noise. It’s a particularly comfortable car to drive when powered by electric power alone, something the DS 7 can do for up to 36 miles. The transition from electric-only to hybrid operation isn’t always the smoothest, though—when the right amount of throttle is applied, there’s a noticeable pause before the 1.6-liter engine wakes up to join the party.
The DS 7 is now also available on the inside, and features new color options and leather styles – including a clever embossed ‘grain’ leather effect for the dashboard – as well as a new 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a 12-inch infotainment screen powered by the latest IRIS software.
It’s a reasonably responsive, crisp-looking screen, although the hotkeys on the bottom are small and thus not easy to use on the go. Fortunately, there is a view that places the dual-zone climate control functions on either side of the map, eliminating the need to fiddle with the touchscreen while navigating. Because the screen is larger, the map is kept at a reasonable size in this view. We like the navigation itself to be a little faster, however – it’s often a bit slow, and leaves you “catch up” with your actual location.
As before, the cabin is filled with various gleaming trinkets, including the BRM analog watch that appears from the top of the dashboard at startup. It’s borderline fierce there, but the interior design makes for a welcome change of often into the rugged cabins of German competitors. The level and quality of the build leave us no complaints either.
DS has also tried to improve the exterior. The look of the DS 7 has always been one of its strongest suits, but now it looks smarter than ever. There’s a larger front grille, as well as a new LED daytime running light that features four dramatic vertical strips on each side of the bumper.
The new headlights feature DS’s Pixel LED Vision 3.0 technology, which delivers more efficient cornering illumination. You can no longer rotate items within groups on startup – according to Stellantis Global Head of Communications Bastien Schupp, this is due to this functionality being incompatible with the latest Pixel technology. It will not confirm or deny whether removal makes assembly easier and/or less likely to go wrong in the long run.
In the back there are some new wrinkles, which increase the visual aggressiveness, and the light clusters are slimmer. The “DS Automobiles” script now replaces the old crosshairs. Although the body has a larger battery, practicality remains unchanged. You still get 555 liters of trunk space – enough to challenge a higher class SUV like the Audi Q5 – plus good rear legroom and enough rear room to accommodate people of just over six feet in height though from the sloping roof line.
It’s a functional, cool car that’s a lot better to drive than you might expect, but we can’t help but feel a little confused about who it is. It seems odd to invest what should have been a large part of R&D into the chassis of what will be a niche model (360 is expected to make up 10 per cent of DS 7 sales in the UK) while leaving the bread and butter suspension of versions untouched.
It’s especially baffling given the DS’s supposed hallmarks of “comfort and serenity” we were told about in the presentation before the drive, even though Schupp claims the brand’s “center point” is still where it should be given Because 360 performance is the most that the DS can offer. its formation. Considering this car – admittedly in a good-spec Opera design – already costs £60,440, this is probably the best.
|Model:||DS 7 Opera E-Tense 4×4 360|
|engine:||1.6 liter 4-cylinder petrol + 2 electronic engines / 14.2 kWh battery|
|Connecting:||Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|
|0-62 mph:||5.6 seconds|
|maximum speed:||148 mph|
|fuel economy:||161.1 mpg|
|For sale:||September 28|