DS Automobiles launches the new DS 3, completing the “DS family” in Europe – for now…
We were invited by DS Automobiles (it’s a standalone premium brand now, so don’t mention Citroen) to the lavish launch of the new DS 3 in Paris.
As far as statements of intent go, it was an impressive event. Not only was it staged at the Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa, but there was some serious DS top brass on hand, including CEO Yves Bonnefont.
References to the iconic Citroen DS were everywhere you turned. I particularly like a scale model of the DS on display in “aquatic” mode. If nothing else, the original car just goes to show how high the bar has been set for the current and future DS range.
There was a lot of talk about DS as an “avant garde” brand, then the big unveil.
As Yves explained: “The New DS 3, a true success story, is reaffirming its brand kinship. With it, the DS family is complete.
“Refined, high-tech and high-performance, the stylish Parisian car appeals to customers looking for expressiveness, personalisation and motoring thrills. This sparkling model expresses an ‘art de vivre’ in town and country alike.”
Cynics might say the new DS 3 is the same as the old car, but with the signature DS nose tagged on.
The reality is that a bit more has gone on, which is just as well because the DS 3 is an important car in the UK where more DS 3 hatchback and cabrio models were sold last year than in France or any other global market.
In a nutshell, yes, the new DS 3 has had a nose-job, but there are now even more personalisation options (three million!) and it’s more connected than ever.
New DS 3 highlights…
- “DS LED Vision” light signature
- Mirror Screen functionality, comprising of Apple CarPlay or MirrorLink (for Android phones)
- New 7-inch colour touchscreen
- Active City Brake system to help to prevent minor collisions at low speeds
- Front and rear parking sensors, plus a reversing camera
- Hill Start Assist (manual gearbox only)
- New trims and new interior design schemes (eg Basalt Black Dinamica cloth, Topaz dashboard)
- New body colour (Sport Red) and a new roof colour (Topaz, inspired by gemstones), as well as new alloy wheels
- Available in the UK with seven efficient engines
A new hot model, the DS 3 Performance, was also announced, featuring a 205bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, lowered suspension, a shorter-ratio manual gearbox, limited-slip differential and larger 323mm brake discs at the front (with special Brembo calipers), and 249mm discs at the rear.
The DS 3 Performance looks good, as does the Cabrio, the roof of which can be opened at speeds of up to 70mph and it can seat five adults.
So the DS 3 joins the rest of the DS range in Europe (DS 4 & DS 4 Crossback, plus the DS 5). It’s early days for the brand, but one can’t help feeling that if it’s to succeed in the future, it will need to further distance itself from Citroen and produce cars that are truly “avant garde”.
The drop-dead gorgeous DS Divine concept, unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, was a case in point. There is a true successor to the DS, otherwise known as “the Goddess” and launched way back in 1955.
Wisely, DS is playing the long game, but it will have to keep to some key promises, including the first completely new DS which will probably be unveiled in 2017 and six totally new cars by 2020.
As Yves Bonnefont, admitted in his launch speech, “some said PSA [Peugeot Citroën group] was crazy to launch a third brand”.
With a stated ambition “to revive the tradition of premium vehicles in the French automotive industry”, I genuinely hope that DS sticks to its plans and delivers in the years to come.
We all want to see stunning cars like the Divine concept on the road and, let’s face it, it’s about time the French President had a big official car (made in France) to match other world leaders.