DS 3 review - Does French hatch match a Mini for fun? - Performance and 0-60 time

A car first, now a brand, the DS3 is Citroen’s spin-off that’s aiming at the premium players

Evo rating
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from £13,995
  • Entertaining drive, fine styling, interesting interior and plenty personalisation makes for a fun Mini rival
  • The Mini does everything a little bit better

The DS 3 Performance serves as the flagship of the range. It's powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 205bhp developed at 6000rpm, and 221lb ft of torque at 3000rpm. Both of those figures, incidentally, are the same as those in Peugeot's 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport. Drop the clutch at exactly the correct revs and it’ll scrabble to 62mph in a credible 6.5 seconds, which is enough to see a Mini Cooper S receding in your rear-view mirror, albeit pretty slowly.

Turbocharging might mean there’s a touch of delay between asking for power and actually getting it, but once it’s pulling it does so convincingly. Keep your toe in and it’ll max out at 143mph.

Step down to the regular THP 1.6, which develops 162bhp, and that engine note doesn't improve. It's still a brisk car though, showing a clean pair of heels to a regular Mini Cooper (0-62mph takes 7.5sec). The 1750rpm torque peak seems ambitious though - the THP doesn't feel like it gets going until after 2000rpm.

The rest of the range isn’t quite so entertaining, with the performance more focused on economy than outright pace. The PureTech 82 with a 80bhp three-cylinder unit takes a ponderous 12.3 seconds to reach 62mph and you’ll be doing well to get it near its 107mph maximum.

The PureTech 110 S&S (stop and start) uses on the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit, but has 108bhp, enough to get it to 62mph in 9.6 seconds. It feels a good deal more vigorous than its under-endowed relation. There's actually a more poweful 128bhp version of the engine too - 62mph arrives in 8.9sec.

The two turbodiesels are both four-cylinder 1.6-litre units with 99- or 118bhp, allowing 0-62mph times of 10.8- and 9.4 seconds respectively. The diesels’ torque advantage over their petrol alternatives makes for a less frenetic drive, though the busy nature of those enthusiastically rev-happy three-cylinder petrol engines is actually quite appealing.

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