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Citroen’s born-again DS nameplate almost here

Born-again DS: All-new DS3 arrives earlier than expected Down Under in September.

First DS-badged model in 35 years just three months away as Citroen locks in DS3

4 Jun 2010

CITROEN has confirmed the Australian line-up for its first model to wear the hallowed DS nameplate in 35 years, the DS3.

Now on sale in Europe, the premium three-door French hatchback will arrive in local Citroen showrooms with a choice of three petrol engines, three transmissions and a selection of customisation options from September.

That means the DS3 will be released here a month before the all-new C3 five-door upon which it is based, rather than after it as originally planned.

Expected to compete directly with Mini’s entry-level Cooper hatch with a starting price of about $32,000 is the base DS3 1.4i, powered by a 70kW 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that will be available exclusively with a five-speed manual transmission.

Next up will be the midrange DS3 1.6i 88, which comes with a – you guessed it – 1.6-litre petrol engine from the Mini, delivering the same 88kW of peak power. It will be offered only with a conventional five-speed automatic transmission.

Topping Australia’s DS3 range, for now, is a 115kW version of the 128kW turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol four that powers the Mini Cooper S, this time matched exclusively with a six-speed manual in the top-shelf DS3 1.6i 115.

33 center imageDiesel versions of the DS3 are on offer in Europe but are not yet confirmed for Australia, while a hotter turbo-petrol derivative – aimed directly at Mini’s 155kW John Cooper Works models – is also on the cards, previewed by the 147kW DS3 Racing hot-hatch concept at the Geneva motor show in March.

While all DS3s measure 3948mm long and 1737mm wide, the auto-only naturally aspirated 1.6 has 134mm of ground clearance, reducing to 130mm for the entry-level 1.4 manual and 126mm for the 1.6 turbo flagship.

Apart from stiffer suspension with 15mm lower ride height, Citroen’s DS3 Racing-based JCW rival should score new front and rear shock absorbers, 30mm-wider wheel tracks, 18-inch alloy wheels with 205/40-section tyres, retuned steering, and electronic stability control systems.

When it joins the range next year, the range-topping DS3, final assembly of which will take place in a special workshop dedicated to the first performance DS model, will also wear a specific bodykit comprising lower front and side skirts and special chequered graphics on the roof, bootlid and fuel flap, with other changes extending to chromed door-handles and exhaust outlets.

Inside, the DS3 Racing concept gained carbon-fibre trim on its dashboard, centre console, steering wheel and door mouldings, a numbered plate in its roof lining and the Citroen Racing logo on the backs of its unique sports seats, while its bright orange exterior paint colour scheme theme was echoed on the dash and gearknob.

All three initial examples of the five-seater DS3 will come with a braked towing capacity of 1150kg (570kg unbraked), with naturally aspirated versions riding on 16x6.0-inch alloy wheels with 195/55 tyres. The 1.6i 115 will come with 17x7.0-inch alloys with 205/45 R17 tyres.

Standard equipment for all models will include twin front, front-side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, front/rear fog lights, air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors and remote central locking.

In line with the premium positioning of Citroen’s all-new DS model line, which takes its name from the iconic French model sold between 1955 and 1975, the DS3 will come with a range of customisation options – albeit smaller than available in Europe.

While September’s DS3 will be followed in October by the new C3, both light-sized French hatches will be followed in 2011 by three all-new Citroens.

They will include the redesigned version of Citroen’s C4 small five-door hatch revealed earlier this week, the more luxurious DS4 crossover to rival Mini’s forthcoming Countryman (previewed by the DS High Rider concept) and the yet-to-appear DS5 flagship, which will be based on Citroen’s latest C5 sedan.

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