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Citroen DS

Citroen unveils its DS Inside concept in an intriguing manner at Geneva

What's this Inside business all about, then? It was a car inside a box, the air of mystery heightened by low lighting and the way Citroen let only a few people into the behind-the-stand 'box' at one time.

Inside was a very neat-looking three-door hatchback with a taut, wedgy stance and wheelarches pleasingly filled with fat wheels. The shape of the nose and front air intake hints at the recent GT by Citroen concept car and points to the new face Citroen will adopt for its new, upmarket, DS sub-brand.

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This car is very close to the first of these, the DS3 due for launch early next year. It arrives as the C2 bows out, but it's not a direct replacement because it is a much more upmarket car, designed to compete with the Mini Cooper, the Alfa Romeo Mito and the forthcoming Audi A1.

Citroen designer Mark Lloyd, whose team created this first DS, says the market is polarising into very functional cars in one direction and premium-feeling cars in the other, leaving the middle ground emptier. Citroen's new cars reflect this, with the C3 Picasso complementing the DS3. As for the DS name, it was chosen for its obvious link with the most famous and glamorous Citroen of all. Trouble is, in a French survey to gauge awareness of the meaning of DS, Citroën found most people under 30 or so associated it with a Nintendo.

The GT by Citroen, however, was a venture with PlayStation. Sometime there will be a performance version of the DS3. Should it be called DS3 PS3, maybe?

Head this way for more from the Geneva motor show...

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