DS Automobiles launched the refreshed DS 3 at the Louvre in Paris earlier this week, and along with it a new Performance brand under which future fast DS models will be sold.
But a full sports model is ‘out of the question’, according to the brand’s product and development chief, Eric Apode.
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While DS sees historical models like the Citroen SM as important – a car that didn't carry DS badging of course, but undoubtedly an inspirational car for the newly-formed marque – a dedicated high-performance model is not on the company’s agenda.
Instead, standard DS road cars like the DS 3 will be granted performance versions. These, says Apode, will be more ‘in the spirit of a GT’, with safe handling and an easy-to-drive nature, but plenty of performance.
The DS 3 Performance is the first indication of this ethos, trading the garish graphics and carbonfibre of the old DS3 Racing for a more demure colour scheme, subtle details and quiet performance.
It uses the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport’s 205bhp version of the group’s 1.6-litre THP petrol engine, and its Torsen diff, but will not be stiffly sprung or biased towards track use. Even though a hotter model is expected, it too will be about comfortable speed, rather than lap times.
A larger luxury car is certainly on the horizon, though. Thierry Metroz, design director at DS, confirmed the company is working on a bigger car. ‘The company needs a big saloon car to really compete’, he said – a nod towards the saloon-buying Chinese market, where DS Automobiles has opened a series of dealerships.
Happily though, the car will have its own, distinctive form – DS is keen to avoid the Russian doll approach of German firms like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
So while future models will likely share a similar grille – inspired by that of the Divine DS concept car – Metroz says DS wants to ‘maintain the surprise’ of seeing a new DS model.
Comfort will also be a priority across the range. Existing DS models, particularly the DS 5, have been criticised for lacking the pliancy of classic Citroens. The brand, along with Citroen, is working on a high-tech suspension system that should return DS to the magic carpet feeling of its historical namesake.
Pushed to choose from the existing DS range, Metroz says the DS 5 is probably closest to the company’s design ideal, its two-box shape completely unique in its class and as distinctive now as it was on launch in 2011.