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A year after the official launch of the brand, and a mere matter of days after completing the modernisation of its entire European fleet, DS has again caused a stir with a unique vehicle: the DS E-TENSE.
The product of traditional craftsmanship worthy of a premier French luxury house and the use of digital tools in combination make the DS E-TENSE a one-off, as much for its exterior design features as for the drive sensation it provides. The experience is one of luxury, high-tech capability and exceptional performance in one sleek package. Encapsulating the brand’s technological and stylistic vision, this avant-garde creation opens the way to the future with a top-notch electric powertrain.
516 Nm and silence. 402 hp and zero emissions. 4.72 m long and 1.29 high... Just a few words and figures set the tone for the latest creation by DS, sure to turn heads when it makes its world debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show. To mark its second full year in operation, the young premium-market French brand has dreamt up a new model with state-of-the-art technology and refinement as its watchwords. Let’s take a closer look at what can be achieved when creativity, knowledge, experience and skill join forces...
“Our ambition was to create a high-performance electric GT. A car that embodies refinement, technology, and DS design. A car that inspires dreams. A car that gives you the overpowering urge to get behind the wheel.” Thus the unanimous aspiration of a project team made up of designers and engineers, all passionately interested in and passionately interesting about their work.
Sculptural shapes, fluidity of line, perpetual motion — anyone and everyone who sets eyes on the DS E-TENSE will instantly think of these three characteristics to describe it. With the silhouette of a grand tourer coupé emphasised by a central chrome-plated spine and an exclusive metallic green ametrine body colour, the DS E- TENSE kindles just one desire: to see this car drive !
DS design favours avant-garde styling, applied here at the rear of the vehicle. Like the DIVINE DS, the DS E- TENSE has no windscreen at the back, giving designers a huge amount of freedom to mould its contours and the product teams the opportunity to initiate the use of digital rear view technology.
An inimitable DS trademark feature, the light signature was the object of scrupulous attention — both front and rear. The mind-set required to create exquisite jewellery and luxury watches was the influence behind the LED modules (DS ACTIVE LED VISION) fitted at the front, detail by detail; the notion of giving the customer that extra “plus” paramount at all times. The daytime running lights — picked out as if in beaded stitches, a nod to the world of high fashion — accentuate the car’s expressive gaze. At the rear, the indicators integrated into the roof are inspired by the DS 1955. Finally, the light signature’s show stoppers are the tail lamps: equipped with full LED technology and scale-like in design, they seem to spring to life whenever the car is in use, setting the trend for future DS models.
As for the car’s interior, it is an example of the alchemy that occurs when French-style luxury savoir-faire is combined with superior materials. DS upholsterers took 800 hours to design, test and produce the interior, with particular emphasis on the upgraded watchstrap seat design and the dashboard. Other noteworthy features include the cold steel used for the dashboard, creating a futuristic look, and the strongly marked tulip-shape of the steering wheel. The ultimate confirmation of this attention to detail specific to DS is the guilloché work with the clous de Paris (hobnail) pattern around the toggle switches of the central console.
To raise this interior to new heights of sophistication, bespoke accessories have been created in collaboration with French luxury brands — products born of skills conjoined and embodying the DS values in every respect.
A helmet harness by Moynat
The artistic director of Moynat came up with this unique object by drawing inspiration from the Y-shaped straps that used to secure the trunk holding the spare tyre to the back of an automobile. The harness consists of two main handles made of natural calfskin in a stylishly up-market sienna with a patina that will become deeper and more lustrous with age. Inside, there is a supple leather pouch. Entirely hand-made by highly trained craftsman, the harness seamlessly perpetuates the venerable tradition of French fine leather goods. Its function is multipurpose: it can be fastened securely to the driver’s seat in such a way that absolute safety is guaranteed, but it can also be removed and has been designed to carry a helmet in a practical yet elegant way, so doubles as a bag about town.
A one-off edition watch by BRM Chronographes
Watchmaking technology is distilled to its very essence in this timepiece specifically designed for the driver of the DS E-TENSE. It can be worn on the wrist or affixed to the car’s central console. The case is angled at 90° so that the time is viewable while driving.
A first-class audio system by Focal
A silent car doesn’t mean that sound is not a crucial consideration. For an exclusive experience, 9 Focal Utopia high-fidelity loudspeakers transform the interior of the DS E-TENSE into an auditorium to satisfy the most exigent listeners. Top-of-the-range speakers utilising highly sophisticated technology are a reflection of the car itself.
The brand has taken an unprecedented approach in choosing to build partnerships with companies rarely seen on the automotive stage.
A high-performance electric car
As a Formula E world championship competitor, DS has equipped its latest creation with a 100% electric 402 hp engine with 516 Nm torque — a mode of propulsion that is clean, silent, but above all efficient and powerful. Add the 310 km mixed cycle range (or 360 km urban cycle) and the DS E-TENSE takes its rightful place among the ranks of high-performance GTs.
The lithium-ion batteries are situated under the car’s chassis, which keeps the centre of gravity low and enables even torque distribution between the axles.
Features developed using parametric design
Following close behind the DS 4 Concept, it was the DS E-TENSE’s turn to see certain elements take shape through the use of an innovative and avant-garde design method. Already established in couture and architecture spheres, parametric tools enable surface and volume to be generated in a novel way.
There is no better example of this than the DS E-TENSE’s dashboard, sculpted to futuristic effect. Likewise the radiator grille at the front, also a product of parametric design but here used in conjunction with 3D printing.
A concept car represents a road map for the future. The DS E-TENSE takes DS LED VISION — a hallmark of all current DS vehicles — to the next level, making it active. All the LED xxx W modules, again worked into the design as jeweller or watchmaker would practice their craft, now rotate at 180°. Not only this, but there is a welcome mode for the driver, a wider luminous flux (increased by 20° on the sides) and, most importantly, new features (a high-way function for motorway driving; a weather function that widens the flux in rain, snow and fog). DS ACTIVE LED VISION pushes back the outer edges of darkness for an ultimately safe drive.
State-of-the-art technology, evidence of remarkable attention to detail
The car presents other examples of the latest technology, such as the digital rear vision that works with the camera at the back, or the innovative “clean cabin” filtration system that works with the air conditioning to provide active protection for passengers. The system continuously identifies, analyses and filters exterior pollutants in order to purify the air in the cabin.
A unique creation, for people who want to give free rein to their passion for cars, without compromising on driveability or performance... this is what DS E-TENSE represents.
The two-seater monocoque chassis is manufactured from carbon fibre and equipped with independent superimposed double wishbone suspensions. Because the batteries are located beneath the floor, the centre of gravity is low so the car handles with rigour, precision and verve all in total safety (especially given the even torque distribution between the axles). Meanwhile, the streamlined silhouette, the carbon fibre diffuser and the flat underbody all contribute significantly to its aerodynamic performance. The specially developed MICHELIN tyres (able to sustain the high torque electric powertrain) also deserve a mention for the safe and comfortable drive they guarantee, even at top speeds.
This safety and comfort is facilitated by high-definition digital instrumentation: a 12″ digital handset is coupled with a 10″ touchscreen. The ergonomic design of the controls is efficient and intuitive, thanks to an electronic system developed in collaboration with Coyote.
Dimensions: 4.72 L x 2.08 W x 1.29 H
Engine: 100% electric 402 hp
Acceleration: 4.5 seconds from 0 to 100 km
Range: 360 km (urban cycle) or 310 km (mixed cycle)
Maximum torque: 516 Nm
Top speed: 250 km/h
Weight: 1.8 tons
Tyres: MICHELIN Pilot Supersport Front: 245/35 ZR 20 Back: 305 /30 ZR 20
Carbon monocoque chassis
Sound: Focal Utopia system, ninz loudspeakers, 640W, with a Digital Signal Processor for tuning