The company’s biggest sedan yet will go after the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6

The 2021 DS 8 is an upcoming midsize sedan from DS Automobile, the premium division of Citroen. The 2021 DS 8 is the company’s first venture into the midsize sedan market and it will be DS’ largest four-door yet, slotting above the DS 5LS.

Aimed at sedans like the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 2021 DS 8 will share underpinnings with the Citroen C4 Picasso and the Peugeot 508. Spotted testing since 2019, the DS 8 will probably break cover in 2020. Like most DS products, it will be unveiled in China initially, but will be sold in Europe as well.

2021 DS 8 Exterior

  • Borrows cues from other DS models
  • Big front grille
  • Thin headlamps
  • Bland profile
  • Notchback-style roof
  • Sporty rear end
  • Biggest DS yet
2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862471
The grille is placed relative low in the fascia, making room for a longer nose.

The heavy camo keeps most details out of sight, but we can immediately notice the imposing size of the DS 8. Sure, it’s not massive compared to a full-size sedan, but it’s bigger than anything else you can buy from DS (or Citroen for that matter), so it takes some getting used to. The DS 8 is almost five meters long, or around 195 inches, which puts it in the same league with the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6. Given the size, the DS 8 should also be around 73 inches wide, while its wheelbase should be somewhere between 115 and 120 inches.

As far as design goes, we might not see much here, but the sedan was spotted without camouflage in China and existing DS models include plenty of hints.

For starters, the front end is defined by the already familiar trapezoidal grille. The grille is placed relatively low in the fascia, making room for a longer nose, while the headlamps sit a tad higher on the sides. The latter look rather simple, with a long and clean design that becomes slightly narrower toward the grille.

2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862473

Like on other DS models, the lower and inner areas of the lights make contact with the grille through glossy elements that extend for the upper frame. The outer edges of the headlamps trickle into the lower bumper through thin LED stripes. This is a cool feature, although it reminds me a bit of certain Lexus models.

Like most premium sedans in this niche, the DS 8 features simple body panels with no so many creases.

The bumper is pretty basic design-wise, with a flat and wide trapezoidal vent in the center and fog lamps onto the sides. However, the lower trim of the main grille extends toward the sides as well, and this feature alone gives the DS 8 an elegant look.

Too bad DS dropped the chrome trim that extends from the A-pillars to the inner edges of the headlamps on the DS 5. That’s a cool, albeit a bit unorthodox feature that could have looked awesome on the DS 8.

The profile is obviously of the midsize variety. Like most premium sedans in this niche, the DS 8 features simple body panels with not so many creases to talk about.
2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
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The side skirts are almost flush with the body, while the beltline is rather restrained and the wheel arches aren’t overly muscular. This seems to go against the trend compared to other segments, but more and more automakers are shifting toward clean designs for larger sedans. DS noticed that and it’s joining in with subtle design.

The rear fascia looks unique compared to other DS models, mostly due to the slim two-piece headlamps.

But there is something that sets this model apart. The cabin is much sleeker that the competition, so the side windows aren’t that big. This makes the beltline seem taller than normal, so the DS 8’s profile looks a bit more imposing. What’s more, the coupe-shaped roof extends farther toward the rear, so this four-door boasts a notchback-style design rather than a conventional sedan look like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The rear fascia looks unique compared to other DS models, mostly due to the slim two-piece headlamps and the chrome trim on the trunk lid. The integrated spoiler gives the sedan a sporty vibe. Other than this, we’re looking at a simple bumper with a license plate recess in the center. The round tailpipes are just prototype elements, as the outlets suggest the sedan will feature trapezoidal end pieces.

2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862468
Arguably the most interesting feature seen on the camo-free Chinese version is that the sedan boasts a DS 9 badge.

This could mean that DS could go with the 9 badge instead of 8 or simply be offered in China as the DS 9 and in Europe as the DS 8. Interestingly enough, most reports suggest that the sedan will be called the DS 8, so the name remains a bit of a mystery.

2021 DS 8 Interior

  • Might be similar to the DS 7
  • Big infotainment display
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Premium materials
  • New technology
  • Luxury options
  • Plenty of legroom
2018 DS 7 Crossback High Resolution Interior
- image 707091
Based on the placement of the infotainment screen and the A/C vents, the DS 8's interior seems similar to the DS 7 Crossback.

Info about the interior is scant and we only have one spy photo to run buy. And it’s far from relevant since many elements are still covered in camo. But we can confirm that it will have a big infotainment display and most likely a digital instrument cluster too. But while competing midsize sedans switched to displays placed atop the dashboard, the DS 8 features a screen in the center stack, below the A/C vents. We can also see door panels with soft materials and chrome trim and a multi-function steering wheel.

Based on the placement of the infotainment screen and the A/C vents, as well as the layout of the center console, the DS 8’s interior seems similar to the DS 7 Crossback. And the SUV is quite nice on the inside. Most surfaces are wrapped in leather and Alcantara, while the size of the instrument cluster and the infotainment display are competitive with what you can get from BMW, Audi, or Mercedes-Benz. The fit and finish is on par with the German vehicles.

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Interior
- image 632445
The wheelbase looks long enough to permit competitive legroom for rear-seat passengers.

Sure, you can still find some plastic surfaces here and there and the base model comes with an eight-inch screen instead of the 12-inch unit in the more expensive trims, but DS compensates through metal windows switches, glassy knobs and buttons, and a premium dashboard clock.

The highly adjustable seats with solid bolstering, venting, heating, and optional massage function should also make it into the DS 8.

It’s tough to say what kind of passenger room the sedan will offer, but the wheelbase looks long enough to permit competitive legroom for rear-seat passengers. There might not be as much headroom as in the German sedans, but shoulder and hip room should also be competitive.

2021 DS 8 Drivetrain

  • Gasoline and diesel engines
  • Hybrid possible
  • Gasoline units with up to 222 horsepower
  • Needs more power to compete
  • AWD possible
  • Manual and automatic gearboxes
2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862472
DS' most powerful engine right now cranks out 222 horsepower.

Like most sub-brands, DS uses drivetrains from parent company PSA, mostly from Citroen. So the lineup includes a range of three- and four-cylinder engines with displacements between 1.2 and 2.0 liters. The larger DS 5, DS 6, and DS 7 models are usually equipped with 1.6- and 2.0-liter engines, so it’s safe to say that the DS 8 will feature at least one of those mills.

The DS 5SL, for instance, comes with a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder available in two flavors. The base model generates 158 horsepower, while the range-topping version cranks out 197 horsepower. The DS 7 Crossback features a more powerful version of this unit, rated at 222 horsepower. This is the most potent engine from the DS lineup and it’s probably the mill that will motivate the DS 8. The DS 7 Crossback also features a 177-horsepower variant of the engine, which is also a likely candidate for the sedan. Both engines develop the same output in the Peugeot 508, a sedan that rides on the same underpinnings.

2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862464
The DS 8 could also feature a diesel engine, most likely the 2.0-liter Blue HDI in the Peugeot 508.

However, DS will need a more powerful engine in order to compete with offerings from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. I’m not going to include BMW M, Audi RS, and Mercedes-AMG versions here, but the regular German sedans are plenty powerful in the more expensive trims. The BMW 5 Series, for instance, cranks out 335 horsepower and 540i trim, while the E-Class comes with 362 horsepower in E450 guise. Likewise, the Audi A6 generates 362 horsepower in its most potent non-S version. This means one thing: DS needs an 8 model capable of at least 300 horsepower.

Sadly, no vehicle in PSA’s lineup generates more than 222 horsepower and the 1.6-liter four-cylinder might not be capable of much more. Unless DS finds a way to add more oomph, it might not be able to compete with the German big boys trim for trim.

2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862474
The DS 8 is also likely to be offered with a hybrid setup.

The DS 8 could also feature a diesel engine, most likely the 2.0-liter Blue HDI in the Peugeot 508. This unit is offered in two flavors, rated at 150 and 178 horsepower, both with 295 pound-feet of torque.

The DS 8 is also likely to be offered with a hybrid setup, but the configuration remains a mystery as of this writing. As of 2020, DS features an electric-diesel setup in the DS 5. It pairs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel rated at 163 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque and an electric motor good for 37 horses and 148 pound-feet of twist. This isn’t a bad setup, but Citroen has been using it for quite a while now and I think the DS 8 should get a new drivetrain. But at this point all we can do is wait and find out if PSA is prepping a gas electric drivetrain.

Peugeot 508 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 specifications
Engine: diesel, 1.997 ccm
Horsepower: 177 horsepower at 3.750 rpm
Torque: 400 Nm at 2.000 rpm
Combined fuel consumption: 4.7 l/100 km (50 mpg)
CO2 emission: 124 grams/km
Emission standard: Euro 6.2
Weight: 1,535 kilograms/3,384 pounds
Trunk Capacity: 487 liters
Reservoir: 55 liters
0-62 mph 8.3 seconds
37mph to 62mph 6.09 seconds
50mph to 75 mph 7.27 seconds

2021 DS 8 Prices

2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862469

There’s no hint as to how much the DS 8 might cost, but it will set you back more than the average Citroen. Actually, it should be the most expensive DS yet, so expect it to fetch more than the 7 Crossback, which starts from £32,125. DS will probably aim for a sticker closer to the competition. With the BMW 5 Series priced from £37,600, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class from £38,550, and the Audi A6 from £39,375, the DS 8 will probably cost at least £35,000 before options. Unfortunately, the DS 8 won’t be sold in the United States.

2021 DS 8 Competition

BMW 5 Series

2017 BMW 5 Series
- image 703473

One of the most popular premium midsize sedans out there, the 5 Series was redesigned in 2016, when it borrowed styling features and technology from the bigger 7 Series. Riding on a new architecture, the 5 Series is available with the best technology BMW has to offer and the more expensive models are loaded with fine materials and luxury convenience features.

It’s not necessarily better than the DS 8 when it comes to premium equipment, but the BMW badge is far stronger than the still-new DS emblem. Under the hood, the 5 Series comes with a variety of engines globally, starting with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder rated at 168 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

Next up is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 248 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the iPerformance hybrid combines the same mill with an electric motor for 248 horses and 310 pound-feet. More oomph comes from the 540i trim, powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six good for 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist.

The diesel lineup includes a 2.0-liter four-banger with 188 horsepower and 295 pound-feet and 228 horses and 369 pound-feet. There’s also a 3.0-liter inline-six with either 261 horsepower and 457 pound-feet or 315 horsepower and 502 pound-feet. Pricing for the 5 Series starts from £37,600 in the United Kingdom.

Read our full review of the 2019 BMW 5 Series

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 661154

The current E-Class is just as old as the 5 Series, having been launched for the 2017 model year. At the time of its release, it was the most advanced midsize sedan out there. It was also the most advanced Mercedes, as it debuted numerous technologies, including semi-autonomous driving, a smart steering wheel that recognizes swipes like a mobile phone, and many new active safety features.

Despite being three years old as of 2020, it’s still one of the most advanced production cars available. And needless to say, it has everything you’d expect from a luxury model, including fine materials, authentic wood veneer, and premium trim. The engine lineup is quite diverse, starting with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 194 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The same engine comes with 208, 242, and 295 horsepower and up to 295 pound-feet of twist.

Mercedes also offers a hybrid with 320 horses and 516 pound-feet and a 3.0-liter V-6 with up to 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from £38,550.

Read our full review of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Audi A6

2019 Audi A6 Exterior
- image 771012

Audi redesigned the A6 for the 2019 model year and not surprisingly, it’s more of the same design-wise. Sure, the exterior now features more angular lines and sportier bumpers, but it’s not a massive departure from the previous generation. If you like that, then you should know that the cabin is simple but packed with cool features, high-quality materials, and state-of-the-art technology.

There are big changes to talk about under the hood as well, because all engines are now mild hybrids as standard. Gas engines include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 245 horsepower and a 3.0-liter V-6 that cranks out 340 horses. You can also go with a 2.0-liter diesel with 204 horsepower or a 3.0-liter V-6 with 286 horses.

Finally, a plug-in hybrid model comes with 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on tap. Pricing starts from £39,375.

Read our full story on the 2020 Audi A6

Conclusion

2021 DS 8 Exterior Spyshots
- image 862466
The DS 8 (or DS 9) is a big step forward for the French brand, which finally joins the premium midsize sedan market.

PSA-owned brands barely exist in the midsize market, so a premium model is a welcomed addition. Sure, DS has many issues to solve. It needs a more powerful engine for the range-topping model, better marketing, and better presence in Europe, but the DS 8 is a solid start if it’s as good as the DS7 Crossback. But it’s obviously too early to draw conclusions. We’ll wait until we find out more about this sedan later in 2020.

  • Leave it
    • Not as recognizable as the competition
    • Needs a more powerful engine
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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