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First look: Citroen reveals production DS3

Small luxuries: Citroen's Fiesta-sized prestige car, the DS3, will arrive in Australia next year.

Luxurious Citroen small-car emerges in full production guise ahead of Frankfurt show

24 Aug 2009

CITROEN has revealed the production version of next year's DS3, the first model to revive the historic French maker's hallowed DS nameplate since the Flaminio Bertoni-designed 1955 original ceased production after 20 years in 1976.

Now officially confirmed for release in Australia during the third quarter of 2010, the production DS3 differs from the stylish concept that wowed crowds at this year’s Geneva motor show only by featuring twin exhaust outlets instead of a large single tailpipe.

Details of the new premium three-door model’s petrol and diesel engine range have also been announced, with Australian Citroen importer Ateco Automotive confirming the most powerful versions of both engines will be sold here, with automatic transmissions, priced from the low $30,000s to compete directly with BMW’s Mini.

The niche-market DS3 will make its global public debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15 alongside the latest generation of the volume-selling model with which it shares its new platform, the C3.

The new C3, more details of which will be released late next week, goes on sale simultaneously in Europe with the DS3 in November and will beat the more upmarket vehicle on sale here in May.

Citroen’s first direct rival for the Mini, as well as the Fiat 500 and Alfa Romeo’s MiTo, goes on sale in France first, followed by the UK in March.

The DS3 will be the new flagship of the redesigned C3 range, which is expected to comprise replacements for the three-door C2, the mainstream C3 five-door, the C3 Picasso people-mover and the C3 Pluriel convertible.

The first DS model will be followed in 2011 by the mid-sized C4 hatch-based DS4 and the large C5-based DS5 wagon, which will be reminiscent of the 2005 C-Sportlounge concept.

The DS5 will come with a diesel hybrid drive system that has been confirmed for release in Australia within two years, and Citroen expects its new DS model family to eventually increase sales of the models on which they are based by up to 40 per cent.

33 center imageThe most striking feature of the Ford Fiesta-sized DS3, which is 3.95 metres long, 1.71 metres wide and 1.46 metres high, is its fully glazed rear section with a rear window replacing traditional C-pillars. A large new grille design is flanked by two oversized LED headlights, and the DS3’s aerodynamic drag co-efficient is 0.31Cd.

There will be four different colour options for the “floating” two-tone roof (Onyx black, Opal white, Botticelli blue and Carmen rouge), along with a number of decal options and the availability of chromed or body-coloured wing mirrors. An “infinite variety of colours” are also available for the DS3’s wheel centres.

Individualisation will also be the major theme of the DS3’s interior, which was revealed in concept guise in May, with the dashboard insert available in eight different finishes and the gearshifter on offer with five different trims. The DS3 key will be embossed with a small disc painted the same colour as the car.

Fitted with “five real seats”, the DS3 will come with a 13-litre glovebox, 60/40-split, folding rear seats and 285 litres of boot space, which is more than the four-seater 500 and Mini, while the cabin will offer “a unique onboard atmosphere where elegance and technology meet and marks of quality abound”.

Key interior features will include three conical instrument dials, a low-set driving position, body-hugging seats and driver-focussed controls to deliver a cockpit feel. Electronic stability control and six airbags will be standard across the DS3 range, which will be built at PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s Poissy plant in France.

Under the new C3 chassis are MacPherson strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension systems. Citroen says the set-up is revised for extra refinement, but expect the DS3 to offer more sporting suspension tune than its C3 donor vehicle. Citroen says the DS3’s rear suspension weighs 7kg less than the current C3’s.

Five Euro 5 emissions-standard engines will be offered from the DS3’s launch in Europe, including two diesels and three petrol engine, all mated to either five-speed or six-speed manual transmissions.

Australians will be offered the 82kW version of the 1.6-litre ‘HDi DPFS’ turbo-diesel engine and the 112kW ‘THP 150’ version of the turbo-petrol engine. Both will be available here with a six-speed manual transmission and either a conventional automatic or automated manual transmission.

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