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Car and Driver: An Electric Supercar with a French Accent


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The French love to tease us. Both in general, with feathers and—the specificity that brings us here—at auto shows. No European shindig is complete without some impossibly elegant, or elegantly impossible, French concept car that turns out to have hinted at nothing more meaningful than the future of its parent company’s doorhandle design. Yet, despite appearances, the DS E-TENSE is different.


Yes, it’s a carbon-fiber-bodied electric supercar replete with the sort of design details that would be marked down at Paris Fashion Week for being “a bit extravagant.” But it’s also been made to production standards. Although we’re told there are no plans to build it, it’s clear that DS could produce something very similar if it chose to do so. In the cabin, the seats and dashboard boast a “watchstrap style design,” while the steering wheel is of a “tulip-shape.” The included BRM wristwatch can be mounted on a case attached to the center console. Outside, LED headlights swivel up to 180 degrees and can reshape their beam in inclement weather, while “digital rear vision” replaces a prosaic rear-view mirror. At the rear, the turn signals are integrated into the roof, a nod to the classic Citroën DS of the 1950s.




Today, DS is PSA’s newly launched luxury brand, the badge—previously used for posher Citroëns—was spun off into its own line two years ago. DS is committed to launching six all-new models by 2020, with product boss Eric Opode having recently told us about the brand’s global ambitions. As such, the E-TENSE is both a clear indication of intent—we’ve been told that one of those six new cars is likely to be a (more prosaic) EV—and also of ambition.


It’s built around a carbon-fiber tub with aluminum subframes mounted at each end. At the back is the electric powertrain with two electric motors that, together, produce a total of 402 horsepower and 381 lb-ft of torque. DS claims a  top speed limited to 155 mph, as well as a 4.5-second 0-to-62-mph time. Granted, Tesla can beat that acceleration number with a seven-seat sports-utility-minivan, but it’s not bad for a first effort.


What’s missing is a logical reason for building what is practically a production-ready EV sportscar that the company insists it has no plans to actually produce. The DS brand is in urgent need of a halo car to win some glory for its global ambitions; the E-TENSE should be that car.




2016 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage


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