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Powertrain upgrade for DS3

More changes: The latest upgrades to the DS3 range follow a refresh that arrived in April last year.

DS3 Hatchback and Cabrio to gain 1.2-litre three-pot and auto transmission


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20 Jan 2016

PSA Peugeot Citroen's new premium arm, DS, will introduce a new three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a much-needed automatic transmission to its funky DS3 Hatchback and Cabrio range as part of a 2016 model-year update.

The revised DS3 will arrive in Australian Citroen/DS showrooms in the fourth quarter, revitalising the model that was cut to just one four-cylinder variant with a manual transmission last year.

Australian specifications are yet to be announced by DS distributor Sime Darby Motors Group, but buyers will likely be able to choose from the existing 212kW/240Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine matched with a six-speed manual gearbox, and the new 81kW/205Nm 1.2-litre three-pot exclusively with a six-speed auto.

The latter is already found in the Peugeot 208 light car, the updated Citroen C4 hatch and the forthcoming C4 Cactus crossover, albeit paired with a manual gearbox.

Sime Darby's decision to drop the four-speed automatic from the DS3 line-up last year appears to have had an impact on sales, with just 71 DS3s finding homes in 2015, representing a 47 per cent dip over its 2014 sales.

Sime Darby Motors Group PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen told GoAuto that the distributor was comfortable not offering the four-speed auto from the April 2015 facelift as a more suitable transmission was waiting in the wings.

“We planned for the lack of an automatic,” he said. “We could have taken the four-speed as we said at launch but we knew bringing that in for a short-term solution when there was potentially something else coming wouldn't have really helped in the long-run.

“Without an automatic you can draw your own conclusions, but yes there are people that will only consider that style of transmission. The 1.2 auto will be a very welcome addition for us.”

The 1.2-litre three-pot consumes 4.6 litres of fuel per 100km on the European combined cycle in Hatchback guise and 4.9L in Cabrio.

DS will also planning a DS3 Performance in Europe, powered by a 154kW/300Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, the same unit found under the bonnet of the Peugeot 208 GTi.

While the Performance is yet to be confirmed for the Australian line-up, Mr Bowen said the company was keen to add it to its roster, given the high take-up of go-fast models Down Under.

“Australian customers love sporting models,” he said. “Anything with a hint of performance and they are definitely more interested than normal. It is something that we definitely have to consider. And then it comes down to the business case that we are working through now.”

The warmed-over DS3 is matched with a six-speed gearbox with “shorter gearing and special ratios” and was developed by the DS Performance engineering team.

The car-maker said that significant development work went into the suspension and braking of the DS3 Performance, with suspension lowered by 15mm over the standard DS3, while the front and rear tracks were widened 26mm and 14mm respectively.

The DS3 Performance is available with a Torsen limited-slip differential for greater traction, while exterior flourishes include twin tailpipes, carbon side mouldings, a sill panel strip and matte black wheel arch flares.

Inside, the leather and Alcantara bucket seats feature special embroidery.

The Performance will be offered in two trim levels – one that includes six combinations of body and roof colours on the Hatchback and four on the Cabrio, while the other, dubbed Black Special, features matte black body paint and a 'brilliant' gold roof for the Hatchback, which is matched with a gold dashboard and gearstick.

Mr Bowen said Sime Darby had been hoping to add another hi-po variant – the DS3 Racing – to the range last year, but it was not to be.

“We have not been backwards in coming forward in saying we wanted the DS3 Racing in the past, the challenge was that it was never available to us,” he said. “That door was opened ever so slightly last year and we have been working away at it.

“So this is something that is still ongoing and something we would welcome. It is just a matter of when and if we can make the numbers stack up.”

Other changes to the rest of the range include a refreshed front end design with new hexagonal DS corporate grille surrounded by the chrome 'DS wings', and lightly altered roof and body, while the cabin gets new rear-view mirror housings, dashboard strip and gearstick handle.

Some variants will be offered with a reversing camera projected on to a new 7.0-inch colour touchscreen, front and rear park assist, hill-start assist, and autonomous emergency braking up to 30km/h.

Also available, depending on the variant will be the Mirror Screen connectivity system including Apple CarPlay or MirrorLink for Android devices.

Cabrio has four canvas roof options and 78 body and roof colour combinations.

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