Our regard for the original 3, beyond its pleasing-to-the-eye packaging, was linked to the way Citroën made the car handle. Clearly benchmarked against (what else?) the Mini’s zappy incisiveness, it was noticeable step in the opposite direction to the firm’s famously unhurried dynamic.
Unsurprisingly, given the limited attention devoted to the chassis this time around, the same rules apply. The 3, even with a slightly heavier diesel engine in the nose, remains a sprightly, sure-footed and pleasantly engaging thing to pedal around.
None of this now, of course, seems surprising. The car’s open secret is the usual supermini vitality filtered through Mini’s modus operandi: quickish steering positively linked to a keen front end, with a quick-to-settle body to follow.
The new 3 performs all as remembered. Turn-in isn’t quite as nimble as that of the latest version of its rival and it certainly requires slightly more lock for the same result, but otherwise the 3 doesn’t fumble the ball and remains easily the best Citroën-based product to drive briskly.
Even with a sportier version to come, there’s enough to admire on track about the 3 to justify its early showing on the road.