Divine concept hints at DS brand future

  • 10-Oct-2014 09:50 EDT
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Divine DS shows the future design direction for PSA's DS brand

The evolution of the DS into a brand separate from PSA's Citroën was marked at the 2014 Paris Motor Show by the Divine DS concept, a four-door compact sedan of about the same length as the DS4 at 4.21 m (13.8 ft) long. The Divine DS is designed to show what customers can expect of DS from now on. This will be a combination of sophistication and technology, according to the company. So expect advanced technologies, with elements of French “haute couture.”

Head of DS styling Thierry Metroz hopes to have captured elements from the sculptured teardrop designs of French Grand Routiere cars of the 1930s, from designers and coachbuilders such as Figoni and Falaschi, Saoutchik, and Carrosserie Pourtout. “When you look at Divine, the inspiration came from these. With DS, we would like to revive this French spirit,” he told Automotive Engineering.

Metroz is clear that Divine is just a concept, not a potential future model, but with it, he says that the company is making clear all its future design codes for all future DS models in terms of exterior and interior design as well as color and trim definition. “It’s a key concept car in the history of DS,” he told Automotive Engineering. “[As] with all our concept cars, it’s not only a futuristic design vision; we would always like to produce realistic concept cars to show what we could add quickly to production cars. We will see a lot of features or design items from this car on a production car.”

Following the DS concepts Numero 9 and Wild Rubis, large concepts designed for the Chinese market, Divine is aimed more at European car buyers who might want a car for the weekend, “It’s compact, it’s very cute, it’s very dynamic,” suggested Metroz.

The Divine has been designed without a rear window and in place of a rear-view mirror there is a screen carrying images from a small camera at the rear of the car. “In terms of design, it’s a great opportunity because we have no rear window and it’s good for our designer to imagine a different design for the rear. The body is also fitted with metal “scales” to give the appearance of a reptile such as a snake. The scales can be raised or lowered to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the car. Similarly, the rear lamps are covered by scales, which open up when the engine is started. Metroz suggests that his design team is working on the scales as a production-car feature.

“On Divine, we show our future direction for the front identity of all DS models,” said Metroz, “It’s a key point when you are working on a premium brand; it’s very important to have a strong front and to keep the design for many years and many generations of cars.” Referring to the two horizontal wings on either side of the front grille, Metroz said, “All my designers know that you don’t touch this—these two wings on the side are our DS signature. All premium brands have a fairly large grille to give status—it’s a premium code. But the two wings are unique to DS and it will be a key code for DS on all future models. After that, we are developing a specific design for the grille. To introduce the design we have for the Divine grille on a production car is not so easy.” This is because the grille on the concept would not allow enough cooling air to pass through the radiator.

The paired wing signature is already in production in China on the DS5 LS and DS6, having first appeared on the Numero 9 concept in 2012. Metroz said that it will appear very soon in Europe, probably during 2015 and after that it will appear on all new models with the DS emblem, and the Citroen chevrons will disappear. “It’s a key point,” said Metroz. “You can change the design of the body size or the rear, but it’s impossible to change the front every two or three years. If you do that, you are not a premium brand; you’re just a brand.”

Inside the Divine, DS has invented the concept of “Hypertypage.” The idea is to bring the choice of interior trim close to the concept of Paris fashion “haute couture.” The dashboard and door scrolls can be changed in 15 minutes to give a choice of three different styles.

These include “Mâle” designed to give a masculine perspective using carbon fiber on black leather with a pearl stitch and red dots.

“'Fatale Punk' is much more rock and roll,” explained Metroz, with embossed black leather studded with Swarovski crystals. “The door trim is made with crystal fabric,” he added. “It’s like a textile, but made with crystals woven in, using microscopic pieces of crystal. It’s the first time that the automotive industry has used this type of material. We decided to work together with Swarovski because this company is the world leader for using crystal dedicated to haute couture and technical crystal. Swarovski has a large R&D department with more than 600 people.”

The third trim is “Parisienne Chic” using full grain ivory colored leather with pleated silk satin embroidered in the door panels with beads and crystals, produced by the French embroidery designer Maison Lesage.

“So this is our future design philosophy for all DS interiors,” said Metroz, “For a concept car we like to deliver strong messages and we exaggerate the design features.”

Metroz has other ideas for interiors too, “For example, we are working for a future project to introduce stone on the dashboard. Not small pieces of stone, but big pieces,” he said. “We have the technology at the moment to produce very thin, very soft sections. You could, for example, cover all the dashboard with real stone. It feels like stone, has the same visual effect, and it’s very light.” 

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