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Citroen presents road-ready DS3 Racing

They're Racing: Citroen's hottest DS3, the Racing, won't be headed for Australia.

Production Citroen DS3 Racing ready to battle Mini JCW, at least in Europe

Citroen logo24 Aug 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

CITROEN has revealed the production version of its direct response to the Mini John Cooper Works, the DS3 Racing hot hatch, which turns out to be a limited-edition model that won’t be sold in Australia.

Based on the standard DS3 to be launched in Australia on September 6 – which itself is an all-new premium model based on the redesigned C3 hatch that will follow the DS3 on sale here in November – the Racing version will be built in an initial production run of just 1000 vehicles.

First RHD deliveries start early next year in the UK, where just 200 examples will be sold at a price of £23,100 ($A40,225), making the DS3 Racing at least £1000 more expensive than the Mini JCW and the Renaultsport Clio 200.

However, Citroen UK says it has received more than 1500 website enquiries about the DS3 Racing and, in anticipation of demand exceeding supply, has set up an ordering hotline that opens at 2pm on September 1 in the UK.

33 center imageLeft: Citroen DS3 Racing. Bottom: Citroen C3.

For posterity’s sake, the DS3 Racing runs a Citroen Racing-developed 1.6-litre ‘THP 200 BV6’ turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 149kW at 6000rpm and 275Nm of torque between 2000 and 4500rpm – enough to propel it to 100km/h in a claimed 6.5 seconds and, says Citroen, to cover the standing kilometre in 26.5 seconds.

The DS3 Racing also comes with a Citroen Racing-tweaked chassis including new dampers, 30mm-wider front and rear wheel tracks, a 15mm-lower ride height and upgraded brakes comprising four-piston callipers and revised front brake discs.

Appearing slightly tamer than the concept at this year’s Geneva motor show, the production DS3 Racing features a number of carbon-finished exterior components including a front air diffuser and “semi-rigid” spoiler, lower bodykit skirts, rear spoiler and grille.

The top-spec DS3 will be available in Europe in either Onyx black exterior paint with an orange roof, or Banquise white with a carbon-grey roof – colours that are also matched to the 18-inch alloy wheels (with 215/40-section Bridgestone Potenza tyres), door mirrors, chevrons, grille surround, tailgate spoiler and, on black cars, the dashboard fascia.

Specific standard equipment in the DS3 Racing, which is based on the flagship DS3 Sport Chic variant, will include automatic wipers and headlights, rear parking sensors, power-folding mirrors and an auto-dimming interior mirror.

Like the flagship DS3 1.6i 115 variant upon which it’s based, the DS3 Racing also offers air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system and switchable ESP stability control.

Those items are on top of the peak power increase – from 115 to 149kW – and maximum torque increase (from 240 to 275Nm) compared with the top-shelf DS3’s 1.6-litre ‘THP 150’ engine.

The Racing version aims to leverage Citroen’s World Rally Championship campaign, under which the dominant C4 WRCar will be dropped next year in favour of a race car based on the DS3.

The DS3 made its race debut last weekend in the Ulster Rally of Ireland where a front-wheel drive R3 claimed fifth overall and victory in the Group R class.

As we’ve reported, the standard DS3 range will open in Australia with the five-speed manual-only 70kW 1.4i petrol variant, priced from about $32,000. Next up will be the DS3 1.6i 88, which runs an 88kW 1.6-litre petrol four matched with five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions.

In the absence of the DS3 Racing and, for now, a 68kW 1.6-litre turbo-diesel version, the 1.6i 115 will top the DS3 range with a 115kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine mated only to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Standard DS3 equipment in Australia will include 16-inch alloy wheels, with 17s fitted to the 1.6i 115 and daytime running lights optional across the range.

The five-door C3 hatchback will follow the three-door DS3 on sale locally by two months, and could be offered here in 54kW 1.4i and 88kW 1.6i petrol guises, as well as 50kW 1.4 and 62kW 1.6 HDi turbo-diesel forms – all matched with a five-speed manual with only the 1.6i also available with a (four-speed) automatic transmission.

Unlike the DS3, all new C3 models will ride as standard on 15-inch alloy wheels (16 and 17-inch alloys will be optional), while standard equipment should echo that of the DS3 by including four airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors, remote central locking and foglights, with side curtain airbags and the high-forehead ‘Cielo’ sunroof optional across the range.

Citroen could use next month’s Paris motor show to debut the production version of its high-riding, Mini Countryman-rivalling DS4, which is based on the all-new C4 small hatch that goes on sale in Europe the same month before arriving here next year.

The next instalment in Citroen’s premium DS model line will be next year’s C5-based DS5, while the huge Metropolis limousine concept that emerged at Expo 2010 Shanghai in May could eventually morph into a DS range-topping model from Citroen, dubbed the DS9.

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