DS 9 E-Tense 250 Performance Line+ review

The plug-in hybrid version of the French luxury brand’s executive saloon gets more power and lower BIK taxes

What is it?

We published our detailed road test of the DS 9 in E-Tense 225 specifications a month ago. It “brings back premium saloons with a variety of options”, but the plug-in powertrain provides only lukewarm performance, and limited electric range.

Three weeks later, I have a new 9, with 25 more horses from the petrol engine and four miles of electric range thanks to a larger (13.6kWh) battery. We got exactly what we wanted.

The E-Tense 250, while not a revolution, is a welcome upgrade to the original E-Tense 225. Although it’s PS1000 less expensive than the 225, it has four more miles and falls within a lower benefit in kind tax band (12% instead 14%) These savings will offset the premium for most company car drivers.

The 250 upgrade is a hard sell. DS believes that very few buyers will buy the 250. As a mid-range option for the 250, DS expects the 250 to go on sale in April. However, the E-Tense 225 will be discontinued in the autumn.

While the upgrade is a good deal, the 9 is still not a great value when compared to its intended competitors. The E-Tense 250 Performance Line+ is priced at PS47,000. This is roughly the same price as the Mercedes-Benz E300e, and a bit less than the BMW 530e. It doesn’t have the same power or space as other cars and doesn’t carry the same badge (and associated resale values) as those cars.

It’s what?

To buy a 9 you need to be different, and this 250 version won’t fundamentally alter that.

It does make the 9 a little less fragile. The 9 is still not neck-snapping fast with a sprint time of 8.1sec from 0 to 62 mph, but the 9 isn’t a car you can drive quickly. It can, thanks to its ample grip and adaptive suspension that keeps body roll under control, but its strength lies in its wafting.

It does a wonderful job wafting it. The ride on the motorway is smooth and comfortable, with very little road noise or wind noise. The responsive steering is slow and calm. Active lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are both well thought out and comfortable for long distances.

A torquey 2.0-litre diesel engine would be a great fit for the 9’s autoroute remit, but it’s not trendy anymore and it wouldn’t sell. There’s much to admire about the plug-in hybrid’s ability shut down its petrol engine when it’s not being used and to quietly glide through town.

It is a nice place to spend time in. Although it isn’t as large as the E-Class, the layout of some switches can be a bit confusing. However, the materials used and the quality of the construction are excellent. It is a shame that the infotainment system doesn’t seem more logical or responsive.

Do I need one?

Either you get the 9 or not. It’s not the best plug-in hybrid executive saloon, and the traditional German options are more sensible.

The new 250 puts it in line with its rivals on paper and on the roads. It also preserves the 9’s uniqueness and appeal, something the 360 4×4 model is unable to do.