Performance, ride and handling

Powering the THP's front wheels is the familiar 1598cc turbocharged lump that is also used in PSA models like the Peugeot RCZ, 308CC, 3008 and 5008 as well as Citroen's C4 and updated C5. Incidentally, the motor is also similar to the one used in one of the DS3's closest rivals, the Mini Cooper S. The latter's motor is tuned for even more power than the DS3's though, 26bhp more to be exact.

With 156bhp and 240Nm on tap, the DS3 offers enough poke to make for a reasonably fun drive. The 1.6-litre unit needs some revs before its 240Nm peak torque comes on song and it somehow doesn't feel as strong as the Cooper S unit at higher revs.

The Citroen will take 7.3 seconds to reach 100km/h from stand still, just marginally slower than a Cooper S hatchback with an automatic gearbox but is significantly quicker than the VTi 120's time of 10.9 seconds. Refinement is never a strong suit of the four-pot motor though - the familiar lump can sound a bit gruff at higher revs.

There's bad news for drivers who rue or can't operate stick shifts - the turbocharged DS3 is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox and this will certainly limit the THP model's overall appeal. It's a slick shifting gearbox that offers reasonable feel and accuracy with its shift action. The leftmost foot pedal is also a cinch to operate.

Under the skin, the DS3 shares the same platform as the C3, which means a common and simple suspension set up of MacPherson struts up front and torsion beam at the rear. The overall road dynamics offer o reasonable compromise between outright handling and comfort which makes it less fun than the dynamic Mini.

Hustle the little French hatchback into a series of bends and its body will lean noticeably while the steering lacks the feel and feedback to truly inspire or reward a keen driver like a Mini can. Compared to the latter, the DS3 seems less eager to swap directions and doesn't feel as light on its feet. On the other hand, the ride is exceptionally pliant for such a small car riding on relatively big 17-inch wheels and low profile rubber.


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Engine Capacity 1598cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (77 x 85.8)mm
Power 155bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 240Nm @ 4000rpm
Power to Weight 125 bhp per ton


Acceleration 7.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 214 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF


Body Type 3 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(3948 x 1715 x 1458) mm
Wheelbase 2452 mm
Kerb Weight 1240 kg