What is it?
A long time coming, that’s what. Citroen has produced a hot hatch version of its popular supermini before – the 2010 DS3 Racing, inspired by the rally-spec R3 – but the model was short-lived. Since then DS Automobiles has stuck gamely to its “Parisian flair” mode, and not dipped a branded toe back in the hot hatch market.
Until now, that is. Half a decade after canning the likeable, if incomplete Racing, the manufacturer has dusted off the blueprints, had a tinker with it and reintroduced the concept as the DS3 Performance; a proper addition to the range, mind – not just as a limited-edition flyer.
For the most part, it doesn’t fall far from the previous tree: there’s a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder THP engine up front, delivering roughly the same 205bhp via a manual six-speed ‘box, and a 15mm lowering of the suspension – also as it was before. Elsewhere, the DS3’s tracks also go out by 26mm at the nose and 14mm in the rear, and there are larger, Brembo-calipered 323mm brake discs behind standard 18in alloys.
There is a bit more torque at 221lb ft from 3000rpm, and, most pleasingly, there is a Torsen limited-slip differential to go with it. That’s good news because a) its predecessor’s front axle couldn’t live with its (slightly lesser) shove in the wet, and b) because the DS 3’s sister car, the 208 GTI got one in the 30th Anniversary edition, and made it better.