When thinking of the DS 3, performance doesn’t really spring to mind. Matt black with gold accents certainly isn’t the order of the day. Special editions, collaborations with makeup brands and a car squarely aimed at the female side of the population is more suiting to its nature.
The last performance model appeared when the DS3 was called a Citroen, dubbed the DS3 Racing. That was back in 2011 and the numbers were strictly limited edition.
For this new breed, power is the same at 205 bhp, however torque has been boosted from 275 to 300 Nm. Giving a 0-62 in 6.5 seconds, the same as the old car…
But this DS has been lowered by 15mm, with a wider front track of 14mm at the rear and 26mm at the front. You also get a limited slip diff and tweaked suspension.
There’s not a huge amount to be said about the way the DS 3 Performance looks. ‘Wow’ sums it up pretty well.
Who’d have thought matt black and gold would go together so well? Granted, it won’t be to everyone’s taste. Other colours are available. This colourway is specific to the Performance Black model.
It’s just so mean and menacing for such a little car. Wide arches, lowered suspension and zero chrome make the Performance Black really stand out amongst the myriad of DS 3 models, old and new. There’s some smart side badges and a subtle graphic in gloss black running from front to back along it’s waist.
What’s not to love?!
Seeing as the hottest DS 3 we’ve ever piloted was the 150 THP Red Edition, an extra 50 odd horsepower should make the Performance Black a riot.
It does nothing less. This feels like a true old school hot hatch, easily on par with the Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport. The way you can throw it about and stay totally in control is proof of how well balanced the DS 3 is.
Thank Christ for that limited slip diff between he front wheels. On occasion the DS 3 will still scrabble a bit and struggle to get all that torque into the tarmac. You will fight with the wheel as it hunts for grip, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive as the one fitted in the NISMO Juke RS.
Throw it into a corner too fast, a dab of brake and the back end will start moving around. A quick flick of opposite lock and everything’s back in line. This is the type of fun you can have in a tin can 182 Clio, not overgrown hatches of today.
Power is ample from the 1.6 litre THP engine. It’s amazing how much performance is still being wrung out of these units. You can overtake anything with ease, letting the boost build or dropping a cog for some gunshot like acceleration.
Thanks to the new suspension tweaks the DS 3 has a nice quick turn in. Body roll is negated to barely present levels, and turning off the electronic aids allows you to explore the limits of that wider track.
Now the ride is hard, as you would expect in a car of this ilk. So be prepared to swerve around potholes at every opportunity. You’ll learn to scan the horizon and weave effectively within a few days of ownership.
Braking is taken care of courtesy of Brembo and some 323mm discs up front. They’re sharp, like really sharp. It takes a while to get used to the race car feel of the pedal, but it adds something to the experience that is the DS 3 Performance.
Whilst it’s all go on the outside you aren’t left without creature comforts on the inside.
There’s some lovely bucket seats shod in part Alcantara, ok…so they may be the ones from the 206 GTI 180, but they look stunning re trimmed like this.
A 7” touch screen comes as standard, along with sat nav. Some of the menu layouts are a bit odd, but the system is more responsive than the comparative unit found in the 208. You’ll also note the ‘DS’ button which calls France, allowing you to be recovered…if you end up through a hedge.
A gold dash lets you know you’re sitting in something special, along with a matching DS performance stripe on the passenger side.
Well, it’s a hard sell coming in at £23,485, that’s without the external graphics kit at £250. But then it is full optioned up. The similar spec 208 GTI Peugeot Sport edition would set you back £23,960.
Pound for pound the 208 may have a slight advantage. But the DS 3 has the 208 trumped when it comes to looks.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter