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New 2021 DS 4 E-TENSE plug-in hybrid: pictures, details and on-sale date

Online reservations for DS' new luxury plug-in hybrid hatchback have now opened, with deliveries expected to begin later this year; prices start from £43,100

Online reservations for the new DS 4 E-TENSE plug-in hybrid in limited-edition La Premiere trim are now open. Prices start from £43,100 for the upmarket hatchback, with deliveries expected to begin later this year.

La Premiere customers get a choice of two paint colours – Lacquered Grey or Pearl Crystal – as well as 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels. All La Premiere models also come with Matrix LED headlights, 'Level 2' semi-autonomous driving capability and DS’ Active Scan Suspension, which monitors for bumps or cracks in the road ahead and adjusts the car’s suspension in response to any it detects.

Inside, La Premiere cars get Nappa leather upholstery, an extended head-up display (more on that below) and the Iris infotainment system – plus cooling, heating and massage functions for the driver’s seat. Customers can also specify an optional 14-speaker Focal sound system and the DS night vision system. 

The La Premiere spec will be the first to arrive in the UK, however the DS 4 will eventually be available in three distinct versions – the standard DS 4, the SUV-styled DS 4 Cross and the luxurious DS 4 Performance Line – with a choice of petrol, diesel or petrol-electric plug-in hybrid power.

The plug-in hybrid DS 4 E-TENSE is one of many electrified compact premium models arriving at the moment, with direct rivals including the Audi A3 and Q3 TFSI e, the Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 and T5, the BMW X1 xDrive25e, the Mercedes A 250 e and the Mercedes GLA 250 e.

DS 4 E-TENSE powertrains and range

The La Premiere variant of the DS 4 is only available with the plug-in hybrid or petrol powertrains. The plug-in hybrid E-TENSE powertrain consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor, producing a combined total of 222bhp and offering an electric range of over 30 miles.

The now familiar petrol-electric PHEV powertrain is the same as you’ll find in other DS models like the DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE large SUV and DS 9 E-TENSE luxury saloon, as well as other Stellantis Group models such as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid, Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid and Citroen C5 Hybrid.

DS 4 customers will also get a choice of regular 128, 178 or 222bhp petrol engines, or a 128bhp diesel, in later models. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission choice.

Trim levels and specifications

Above the entry-level model is the DS 4 Cross (above), which gets off-roader-inspired styling cues, including matt-black finish lower down on the body, as well as gloss-black upper window frames, a gloss-black grille, its own design of alloy wheel, roof bars and a body-coloured roof. The Cross can be given a modicum of off-road ability by specifying the optional Advanced Traction Control, which incorporates modes for tackling sand, snow and mud, along with hill-descent control.

Above the Cross is the DS 4 Performance Line, set apart by black exterior trim – on the wings, between the rear lights on the grille and on the side window frames. It also gets a specific alloy-wheel design, as well a specific interior finish, including swathes of Alcantara trim, plaited cloth upholstery, forged carbon on the steering wheel, customisable ambient lighting and a 690W, 14-speaker Focal sound system.

Design, interior and tech

All versions of the DS 4 have what its maker describes as "a digital interior". A key feature is 'invisible' air vents, named 'DS AIR' by the brand. It uses compact air vents mounted high up in the cabin, with hidden blades. DS says this removes the need for vents to be integrated into the dashboard, allowing it to be more flowing and less cluttered. Materials used inside to give a high-end luxury feel include various types of leather, Alcantara, forged carbon and wood.

Interior technology includes an extended head-up display with augmented reality, intended to minimise the amount of time the driver needs to take their eyes off the road. Using an optical illusion, this system will seemingly project information on the road ahead as you look out the windscreen, following your gaze in the process. Information projected will include your current speed, driver-aid indications, navigation directions, warning messages or music track names. The head-up display will also be used for the car's infrared night-vision system, which is available as an optional extra.

The design of the DS 4 was inspired by the company's Aero Sport Lounge concept, which was unveiled in February 2020, but never got to make a public debut due to cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show. It measures 4.4 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and 1.47 metres high. Up front, there's a new light signature embedded in the slim LED matrix projector headlights, as well as LED daytime running lights, with wheel sizes up to 20 inches  available, too.

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