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New DS 4: premium hatch gets PHEV version, advanced tech

As the first bespoke C-segment hatchback from the PSA Group’s premium brand, the new DS 4 will go up against the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3 with a focus on comfort and technology.

The DS 4 sits atop an evolution of the PSA Group’s new EMP2 architecture, which can accommodate both pure-combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and is said to have allowed “unprecedented proportions” for the car’s design.

DS is yet to reveal the 4 in its entirety but promises it will have “daring” styling, a unique body-to-wheel ratio for its segment and an “athletic silhouette”. The covers are set to come off at the beginning of 2021.

Distinctive three-segment LED headlights will feature, as on other DS models, and so will an evolution of the vertical daytime running lights that featured on the dramatic Aero Sport Lounge concept. 

The platform’s composite construction is said to have been designed with a focus on keeping weight down while enhancing safety and dynamic refinement. The suspension and steering systems are entirely new and are claimed to combine responsiveness and comfort.

The plug-in hybrid option is familiar from other PSA models, including the Peugeot 508, Citroën C5 Aircross and Vauxhall Grandland X. Combining a 178bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine with a 108bhp electric motor, the system sends a combined 222bhp to the front axle through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Final performance figures have yet to be released but can be expected to be roughly in line with the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid 225, which is powered by the same system. DS claims the 4 will manage more than 31 miles on electric power alone. A 0-62mph time of just under nine seconds and a 140mph top speed are likely.

Pure diesel and petrol options will also be offered, each equipped exclusively with the automatic option. 

Inside, the 4 makes a significant leap, technology-wise, over its 3 Crossback and 7 Crossback stablemates.

The brand’s new ‘Extended Head-up Display’ features as a means of minimising the time the driver has to take their eyes off the road. It’s described as a “first step towards augmented reality” and has been calibrated to display vital information at a perceived distance of four metres in front of the windscreen.

The upgraded head-up display arrives as part of DS’s new ‘Iris System’ infotainment offering, which places a focus on personalisation and draws inspiration from smartphones. It can be controlled by voice and hand gestures and will receive over-the-air updates.

The 4 is also the first model to feature the second generation of DS’s driver assist programmes. Semi-automatic overtaking, speed adjustment for corners and more precise automatic lane positioning are among the headline features, made possible through a front-mounted lidar sensor and the installation of radar devices at all four corners.

In what is described as a segment exclusive, the 4 will also feature camera-controlled ‘Active Scan Suspension’, which analyses the road ahead and adjusts each wheel’s suspension automatically as appropriate.

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