1 Sep 2010
Designed to take the fringe-dwelling French brand more upmarket, the first member of a classier new model range to revive Citroen’s hallowed DS nameplate came in the shape of the ‘anti-retro’ DS3, which took the Parisian firm into unchartered premium compact-car waters when it arrived here in September 2010.
Two 1.6-litre specification grades were available from launch, priced to compete directly with BMW’s popular Mini.
Both versions were powered by variations of the BMW-developed engines seen in the Mini, with the entry-level DStyle offering an 88kW petrol four matched exclusively with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The flagship DS3 DSport topped the Australian DS3 line-up and, apart from a more powerful 115kW version of the turbocharged 135kW Mini Cooper S engine, offered even more customisation options than the DStyle.
Standard equipment for both five-star Euro NCAP-rated DS3 models included twin front, front-side and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes with EBD and EBA, front/rear fog lights, air-conditioning, cruise control with speed-limiter, power windows and mirrors, and remote central locking.
The naturally aspirated DS3 DStyle rode on 16x6.0-inch ‘Ashera diamond-tipped’ alloy wheels with 195/55 tyres, while the turbocharged DS3 DSport variant came with 17x7.0-inch ‘Bellone’ alloys and 205/45 R17 tyres.
The top-line DSport scored a chromed grille, tailgate, door mirrors, foglights and side rubbing strips, a rear spoiler, interior mood lighting, automatic digital air-conditioning, a front armrest, dual exhaust outlets and drilled aluminium pedals.
As with the Mini, DS3 customers were able to specify exterior and interior colour combinations, materials, finishes, trims and equipment, with colour of the key fob matching the body or roof colour of the vehicle.
Indicative of its target audience was the DS3’s inclusion of an auxiliary audio socket, although USB and Bluetooth connectivity and a new eight-speaker sound system remained optional, as did rear parking sensors.
The DStyle model, with the auto transmission, returned average fuel consumption of 7.0L/100km and CO2 emissions of 160g/km, while also delivering a 190km/h top speed and a claimed 0-100km/h time of 10.9 seconds.
The DS3 DSport’s direct-injection twin-scroll turbo engine, mated to a new MCM six-speed gearbox, sprinted to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 214km/h.
As well as being faster, the DS3 DSport also offered better environmental credentials, with a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.7L/100 km and CO2 emissions of 155g/km.
The Road to Recovery podcast series
When it was new