Citroen has kicked off the overhaul of its Australian line-up with the launch today of the 2011 Citroen DS3 - the first model in the brand's upmarket DS range and its first real competitor to the likes of MINI, and Alfa Romeo's MiTo.
Available in two variants - DStyle and DSport - the local debut of the DS3 follows the unveiling of its concept predecessor at Geneva last year.
"The DS3 is a bold, definitive statement of Citroen's intentions and a confident step in the opposite direction to its main competitors; it brings a real, modern, creative alternative to a market sector dominated by retro designs," Miles Williams, General Manager for Citroen in Australia said.
TMR's Managing Editor Tim O'Brien is attending the media launch of the 2010 Citroen DS3 this week. Watch for his 'first drive' review.
Sharing a visual connection with its more-regular Citroen stablemate, the upcoming 2011 C3, the new DS3 neatly fulfills the Citroen tradition of individual yet overwhelmingly attractive style.
Standout design elements include a 'floating' roof, designed to emphasis the DS3's low waistline, and the eye-catching B-pillar, which Citroen says was shaped to evoke images of a shark's dorsal fin - underlining the sporting intent in the DS3's design.
The roof offers more than just a MINI-like alternate colour too, with textured patterns available as an option.
Somewhat uniquely, the DS3 also features set-back LED daytime running lights, placed in a vertical stack rather than the 'usual' horizontal row.
The DS measures 3.95 metres long, 1.72m wide and 1.48m tall (1.46 for the DSport), making it longer than the MINI Cooper (3.69m) and Clubman (3.94m), but shorter than the Alfa Romeo MiTo (4.06m).
Inside, the DS3 features low-slung, body-hugging bolstered seats as standard equipment, while all command systems and controls are oriented towards the driver - emphasising again Citroen's aim of marking out the DS3 as a driver's car.
The top of the dashboard is finished with a soft-touch textured covering designed to contrast with the smooth lacquered effect of the dashboard strip.
A sculpted leather steering wheel is standard - with a choice of either chrome or aluminium inserts - adds to the sporty ambitions of the DS3.
A range of tactile leather trim options are available for the seats and various leather areas and, when specified, the optional leather upholstery adds features like a leather trimmed gear knob and leather door panels.
Thanks to its deceptively large internal dimensions, the DS3 offers 1.42m of front elbow room, compared to 1.35m for the MINI Cooper and Clubman, and 1.38m for the MiTo.
Rear storage capacity is similarly voluminous, measuring 980 litres, while the MINI Cooper and Clubman offer 680 and 930 litres respectively and the MiTo offers 950 litres.
Standard features for the 2010 DS3 include air-conditioning, with Automatic digital air-conditioning standard on the DSport. Rear parking-sensors may also be specified on both versions.
The DS3 DSport is fitted as standard with a Gear Efficiency Indicator that signals the optimum moment for the driver to change gear – encouraging more fuel-efficient driving.
The standard specification CD player is MP3 compatible, and optional Bluetooth allows hands-free telephony and wireless music streaming.
Auxiliary inputs are standard across the range, so MP3 players can always be connected to the car’s audio system. For enhanced functionality, the Connecting Box adds Bluetooth and USB connectivity – with a socket on the central console that allows portable MP3 players to be controlled via the car’s audio system buttons.
Also available is an eight-speaker Hi-Fi system, with an additional speaker located in the middle of the upper dashboard and an amplified subwoofer in the boot.
The DS3 features cruise control, with speed limiter, as standard.
Standard safety features for the two-model DS3 range include ESP, together with ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist).
The DS3 features six airbags as standard and carries a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating - a safety testing organisation that utilises the same criteria as its local counterpart, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program.
Trim Grades: DStyle and DSport
The DStyle trim grade features a leather steering wheel, an MP3-compatible CD player with steering mounted controls, front fog lights, electric door mirrors, cruise control with speed limiter, ESP, six airbags, electric windows, and remote central locking.
The DStyle model also features front-mounted LED daytime running lights, air-conditioning, dark tinted rear windows, contrasting body and roof colours, roof coloured painted door mirrors with a chrome base, gloss-finish black dashboard and 16-inch diamond-tipped alloy wheels.
DSport models feature chrome side rubbing strips and door mirros, a rear spoiler with an integrated third brake light, automatic digital air-conditioning, chrome trim for the grille, tailgate and double exhaust pipe, drilled aluminium pedals and 17-inch diamond-tipped alloys.
The DS3 range features two petrol engines, the DStyle drawing power from Citroen's 1.6 litre VTi 120 petrol engine producing 88kW (at 6000rpm) and 160Nm (at 4250rpm) of torque.
Paired with an automatic transmission (manual not available with DStyle), the DStyle's VTi 120 engine lists fuel consumption figures of 7.0 l/100km, with the 0-100km/h sprint covered in a claimed 10.9 seconds.
The DS3 DSport is powered by the French carmaker's THP 155 engine, a 1.6 litre turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 115kW (at 6000rpm) and 240Nm (at 1400-4000rpm) of torque.
Match with a six-speed manual transmission - the only option for the DSport - fuel consumption is listed at 6.7 l/100km. The DSport knocks over the 0-100km/h run in a claimed 7.3 seconds, with a top speed of 214km/h.
Suspension is handled by MacPherson-type struts at the front and a flexible transverse beam at the rear, with bi-density shims on the rear axle developed to filter out road disturbances.
The 2010 Citroen DS3 launches in Australia this month.
- 2010 Citroen DS3 DStyle (auto only) - $32,990
- 2010 Citroen DS3 DSport (manual only) $35,990
Note: prices exclude statutory charges and dealer delivery.
Note: Photos are of the DSport model only.