Sunday, January 27th, 2019 - Citroen

Two cars in one – sound practical? That must decide the future. Drive in DSX E-Tense with the real racing engine, asymmetrical body, and two cabins.


  • Drive: Electric
  • Engine: 200 kW (272 hp)
  • Battery: Lithium Ion (Capacity: n.a.)
  • Transmission: Fixed translation
  • 0-100 km / h: 3.7 s
  • Top speed: 225 km / h
  • Length: 4.75 m
  • Width: 2.10 m
  • Height: 1.20 m
  • Weight: 2,000 kg

The feeling in this car is quite incomparable: to be able to watch as under the feet of the passenger pebbles patter against the glass bottom. How the asphalt loses its texture and turns into gray noise.

Outside the Plexiglas dome, the pilot in the Darth Vader helmet brakes the electric car hard and presses the passenger’s stomach (meaning mine) into the corner of the red leather and feather lined cabin. The safety belt is a dummy. It is hot in the closed room, without ventilation and air conditioning, the sweat flows after 2 minutes.

As incomparable as this is: with the vision of a perfect symbiosis of luxurious comfort and fascinating sports car, which wants to convey the noble PSA subsidiary DS with this car, it has little to do. That does not matter, because the DSX E-Tense (the DS designation for electrified drives) is a showpiece, a concept car – and at the same time a fully mobile single piece. Other manufacturers save on their showcars the “fully mobile”, this DS can reach 225 km / h peak speed with 200 kW power.

DS has found this value here, on a closely guarded airfield of the French Air Force. Anyone who wants to get in or out needs the permission of the military. They do not just turn out to be good-humored freshly-baked football champions. They are also quite normal car fans: During our press appointment, half of the base looks like it’s over and finds the DSX E-Tense either “bizarre” or “formidable”.


What people of DS are not guaranteed to hear are words like “expectable” or “ordinary.” The asymmetrical structure of the two completely different car halves irritates the eye. The sturdy and fully functional design gives the designer’s piece a corporeality that is often lacking in fragile showcars – given that they are designed for exhibition stands only. The DSX requires prudence, but no special care. With the howling of an angry S-Bahn he bangs on his 22-inch sports tires on the airfield.

What does the PSA daughter want to show here? With the DS7 Crossback being the first stand-alone DS model on the market, the French brand is looking a little further into the future. The DSX is designed to bring together the worlds of individual mobility in 2035 – symbolized by an open motorsport cab on the left and a luxurious travel cocoon on the right. And he combines the ideas of the DS designers with the motorsport expertise DS collects in the electric Formula E.

There is no communication between the two cabins. If you want to drive, you want to focus on driving, says DS chief designer Thierry Metroz – and makes a cheap joke about taciturn spouses in itself. Those who do not want to drive can be transported autonomously and enjoy the surround sound of a laser-milled Focal sound system or a coffee from the integrated espresso machine. Even the clock of the luxury manufacturer BRM can be folded away. The DSX passenger should not be a slave of the time.

Today’s electric cars Metroz finds “cool and tasteless”. Almost all car manufacturers also wanted to abolish the driver in the next few years. DS does not say: “It may be that driving for two decades is a luxury. We want to preserve this soul for personal mobility, “says Metroz.

This is thought far into the future. Lifted? The French prefer to hear “avant-garde”. The DSX should pay for the identity of the still young brand and give its developers a guiding star. Today, for good reason, nobody builds asymmetrical cars. Just the expense of outlining the digital design sketches is twice that of normal cars.


Much work flowed into countless details. The lighting has the French firmly integrated into the body, DS calls the grid of LED lights “Light Veil”. They can be individually controlled with complicated control electronics. At the front, the lighting system consists of 800 LED elements, in the back there are 300 – all vary in size and form a seemingly random pattern. At the mechanics that safely opens and closes the heavy doors, a technician worked two months. Just as long took the interior of the cockpit.

The driver’s cockpit reduced the designers to the bare essentials. In front of the driver, a steering wheel and a crystal, gas, brake stored with the info display – that was it in essence. The concept includes a roof instead of a full-face helmet, the seat moves with the interior trim. The “passive” right-hand cabin is eclectic in comparison. A cuddly leather seat, top decorated with real feathers of chicken and duck. Real wood hifi system, capsule coffee machine and – the glass bottom. “That would be hard to enforce in production,” admits Thierry Metroz.


That was not the only problem of the project. The worst: The drive technology of 2035 does not exist yet. That’s why the DSX E-Tense received a 2018 Formula E engine – as well as actual and imaginary performance data. Really under the carbon body is a 200-kW electric drive (272 hp). How big the battery is, says DS not – “70 kilometers full throttle” is the unit in which one expects the motorsport team DS Performance.

From 0 to 100 km / h, it should go in 3.7 seconds, slightly slower than in Formula E, because the show car is with about two tons of weight significantly heavier than the race cars. “Light as a feather”, that’s not possible with such a powerful electric car – at least not with the technology of the year 2018.

Underpowered the show car looks in no case. Imaginatively, the DSX E-Tense is much stronger. 400 kW (540 hp) to 1,000 kW (1,360 hp) Peak power to drive him 17 years. “We know the pace in which we are progressing,” says a DS drive engineer – 1,000 kW with good range at the same time will be possible in a few years without any problems.

Chassis and chassis of the Formula E-Renner could not be taken over because of the dimensions and the body weight – unlike engine, transmission, inverter and battery. So had to be developed for the concept car, a new chassis. A great effort for a single piece, but: “It’s our philosophy not to build empty shells, but real cars,” says Thierry Metroz. Only in this way can one learn something for the future, which should become autonomous, electrical and in the case of DS as independent as possible.

Therefore, the French not only want to carry out numerous tests with the adapted Formula E drive and find out which elements have a future on the road. Even the ideas of the designers have to prove themselves in the wind tunnel. Some, like the X-light signature and the color-contrasting bonnet, will soon be seen in production, says the DS chief designer, devoting himself to his salmon quinoa salad. Every bet: In the land of the World Cup champion goes without good food in the future, nothing.




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