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Geneva show: Citroen DS4 goes Racing

Sporty: The hot Citroen DS4 Racing is no certainty to go on-sale Down Under.

Hot DS4 concept emerges as Citroen’s next DS model, but ADRs could thwart Oz debut

Citroen logo27 Feb 2012

By MARTON PETTENDY

CITROEN has revealed a bristling new Racing version of its upcoming DS4, but production numbers and local regulatory compliance will dictate whether the hot French crossover becomes available in Australia.

The wildest iteration seen of the high-riding C4-based premium compact, which was last week confirmed for Australian release on March 1 priced from $35,990, will make its global debut as a concept car at the Geneva motor show on March 6.

However, the inevitable production version will not be sold here if the DS4 Racing is released as a limited-edition model that does not meet Australian Design Rule requirements, as was the case with the DS3 Racing hot hatch.

While the carbon-fibre-clad DS4 Racing would be the French brand’s most powerful road car ever, with peak power of 191kW, Citroen’s last ‘Racing’ model came with 152kW but insufficient ground clearance to meet ADRs and would therefore have required a complete suspension redesign.

Australian Citroen importer Ateco Automotive attempted to secure a small number of Racing versions of the smaller DS3, pricing for which was slashed by up to $6000 last October.

33 center imageJust 200 right-hand-drive versions were produced in 2010, a handful of which ended up in New Zealand.

Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe said the DS4 Racing would be considered for Australian release if it was confirmed for right-hand-drive production in adequate numbers.

“Once details of the right-hand-drive version are released, its eligibility for the Australian market will be able to be assessed,” he said. “We really won’t know until we see specifications and whether or not it is another limited-edition model.”

Revealed in Europe just days after Ateco revealed local details for the mainstream DS4, just 200 examples of which are expected to be sold here this year, the more daring DS4 Racing comes with a specific power output of almost 120kW per litre – significantly more than the highest-output version of the Mini Countryman, the JCW.

Despite emitting a claimed 155 grams of CO2 per kilometre, its power output stretches the BMW-PSA co-developed 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four to new heights and represents a significant performance hike over the regular DS4, the most powerful version of which delivers 147kW.

The flagship 147kW THP DS4 sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 8.5 seconds and a 235km/h top speed, while being able to return combined fuel consumption of 6.4L/100km and CO2 emissions of 149g/km.

Fresh from releasing a host of upgraded, Euro 5 emissions-compliant 2012 models Down Under, Citroen’s next instalment in the premium DS model family – which has attracted more 180,000 sales worldwide in about two years – will be the larger DS5.

The DS5 will be powered by the same 115kW 1.6 turbo-petrol four as the DS4 at base level and is due on sale here by midyear. It will be followed by a diesel-electric hybrid version by the end of this year – Citroen Australia’s first hybrid model – with the Mitsubishi ASX-based C4 Aircross arriving before then in the third quarter.

Citroen says it leveraged its multiple World Rally Championship winning expertise to give the DS4 more formidable sporting credentials, in line with a 0-100km/h acceleration figure that should slip under six seconds, thereby making it a direct rival to the likes of Renault’s Megane RS250 and Ford’s upcoming Focus ST.

Most noticeable exterior additions are the exterior carbon-fibre components, including a front splitter, air diffuser and wheelarch extensions, but the DS4 Racing chassis is also lower and wider.

Ride height is 35mm lower, while the wheel tracks are up 55mm at the front and some 75mm at the rear. An upgraded braking system comprises fixed four-piston callipers at the front, clamping specific rotors measuring some 380mm in diameter. The concept is also fitted with larger diameter 19-inch wheels and 235/40 tyres.

Design flourishes include textured-effect matt-grey paint that is designed to catch the light, plus a two-tone roof and wheels with a unique DS4 Racing design.

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