What is it?
Citroen simply isn’t content to continue allowing Mini and Renault the easy access they currently have to the 200 horsepower baby hatch market, so they have superheated their already-sporty DS3 to give the pair some new competition.
The advent of a high performance Citroen DS3 has been guaranteed for some months, ever since a lowered, fat-tyred DS3 Racing version was shown as a concept at the Geneva Show last March and met with strong, almost universal approval. DS3 sales are already doing three times better than Citroen hoped for its first year. The company wants to make hay while it can.
All of which is why the Racing will be in European showrooms by the autumn and in Britain around the turn of the year. Citroen is rushing the car through low volume type approval in two batches of 1000 cars (aiming at 2000 sales per year) as a method of hitting the market quickly. They think it’s urgent, now that the world knows this will be the basis of next year’s WRC car.
The modifications to a “normal” DS3 are predictable but very effective. It gets PSA’s own 197 bhp, 1.6-litre turbo engine, plus bigger front brakes and four-pot calipers. The spring/damper rates are all stiffer, the car rides 15mm lower and both front and rear tracks are widened 30mm. The wheel arches have four businesslike, bolted-on carbon fibre arch extensions to cover their extras width.