DS 3 Performance launched in Paris – first details of new luxurious hot hatch

Performance model will be 'more like a GT' says DS Automobiles product and development chief

DS Automobiles – the newly-formed luxury arm of PSA Peugeot-Citroen – has unveiled its latest model, the DS 3.

Alongside the revised premium compact car it also launched a new Performance line for the brand, and displayed the first model to be sold under that line, the DS 3 Performance.

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As the images show, the DS 3 has changed only slightly in its metamorphosis from Citroen to DS. Several of the previous model’s styling cues remain – unsurprising perhaps, given that 390,000 have been sold in the model’s first six years on sale.

The floating roof, ‘shark fin’ B-pillar graphic, wide-mounted LED daytime running lights and 3D-style LED taillights remain, but the front end has adopted a new version of DS’s ‘DS wings’ grille design.

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The new dual-wing version of the grille was first seen on the Divine DS concept car. Chrome strips underpin the headlights – which themselves now include LED elements in higher trim levels – with a second pair of chrome elements stretching lower in the bumper.

A range of new exterior body and roof colours, graphics, alloy wheels and interior trim finishes add up to millions of new potential combinations from which customers can pick and choose.

Most exciting though is the DS 3 performance. It isn’t the first fast DS 3 – that honour fell to the Racing model when the car was still badged as a Citroen – but its styling and dynamics should better suit DS Automobiles’ ambitions in the luxury vehicle market.

The chrome-finished DS wings make way for a matte metallic finish, and rather than eye-searing graphics and liberal use of carbonfibre, the DS 3 Performance is altogether more tasteful.

At the same time, it boasts the same power and torque figures as Peugeot’s most potent 208, the GTi by Peugeot Sport. Its 1.6-litre THP turbocharged petrol develops 205bhp and 221lb ft of torque, which should result in performance figures similar to the Pug’s 6.5sec 0-62mph run and 143mph top speed.

It also uses a Torsen limited-slip differential, with a six-speed manual gearbox and shorter gear ratios than other DS 3s. It’s 15mm lower than its siblings too, with a 26mm wider front track and 14mm wider rear track. 323mm front brake discs with brembo callipers and 249mm rear discs do the stopping.

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The interior ambience is a little darker than other DS 3s but a notable inclusion is a set of bewinged bucket seats, similar in design to those in the Peugeot Sport 208.

Despite all this Performance addenda, DS is keen to stress that the DS 3 Performance is not a full-on GTI-style model.

Eric Apode, vice president of product and development at DS Automobiles, told evo that while the DS3 Racing was inspired by Citroen’s WRC campaign, the new DS 3 Performance is ‘absolutely not a sports car – more of a grand tourer’.

A stiffly set-up, track-biased car would jar with the brand’s luxurious image, and while the Performance does leave room for an even hotter model in the DS 3 range, this won’t be a track special either.

The Performance ‘has to be an everyday car,’ said Apode. ‘For city driving, highways, and high speed driving – you can go quickly, but it will be fairly quiet, in the spirit of a GT’. Apode added that the brand will not develop a full sports car model. ‘Out of the question,’ he confirmed.

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