THE DS car brand is thinking big.

Now divorced from Citroen but very much a part of the PSA group, it is on the offensive with its largest offering yet, the luxurious DS 7 Crossback, which follows on from the DS 3, DS 4 and DS 5.

Wow factors come virtually wherever you look in and around this French expression of a premium crossover.

Vehicle of choice for French president Macron at his inauguration parade, it espouses “charismatic design” with lashings of luxury and technology.

It is priced from about £28,000, rising to £43,000 for the top trim level and hopes to attract customers who are “in tune with the latest trends” and have big enough wallets.

Starting with the exterior, there’s lots to admire. None more so than the lighting, which includes six-mode active LED vision that can adapt to differing road conditions, and night vision, which spots pedestrians or animals that might wander in front of the car in the dark.

There’s more to admire at the back with the first appearance of “hypnotic” 3D lights in a diamond effect, while the interior lighting ambience can be altered at the touch of a button and there are puddle lights to assist your exit.

With a dedicated network of stores and salons, this feels like the start of a new era for the brand. Indeed, this flagship model is the first to have been developed from the ground up by DS.

Riding on 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels with a big, bold grille separating those gorgeous headlights, it exudes an air of confidence. Simple forms are reinforced by sharp lines and a creased bonnet to give the impression of power.

And to make your journey that bit more comfortable, the bespoke DS 7 employs active scan suspension, which uses piloted shock absorbers and a camera to adapt the ride.

Underneath all this fancy technology and design is a choice of four excellent engines, too, with a powerful hybrid 4x4 joining the line-up next year.

The diesel offerings are a two-litre 180hp matched with automatic transmission or a 1.5-litre 130hp manual. The 1.6-litre petrol engines, which were voted engine of the year in 2015 and 2016, are available with either 225 or 180hp and are both linked to automatic transmission.

Having tested both the manual and auto transmissions, I would say the customer faces a difficult choice. Both are exceptionally good, but the new eight-speed auto - which saves four per cent on fuel compared with the previous six-speed auto gearbox – just gets my vote.

There are four trim levels to choose from: Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige. It is the Performance Line model that won me over for its sporty overtones, but many will be lured by the sumptuous leather of the higher grade trims.

Packed with safety and convenience features that are now becoming commonplace in this sector, the DS 7 pulls out all the stops to please the senses.

There’s a 14-speaker audio system, large touchscreen, excellent ride position and vision and even pearl stitching on the seats in top trim models. And rear-seat passengers will appreciate the ample leg and knee room.

My only niggle was the lack of a head-up display, but other than that the designers and engineers seem to have thought of everything in what they call “a concentration of excellence”.

Innovation and flair is there in bucket loads, with more on the way over the next couple of years.