Tuesday, 09 August 2022

New DS models are bang on the money

ADELE was there, half of London’s Instagram generation was also there

ADELE was there, half of London’s Instagram generation was also there, and by default so too was your correspondent.

I rocked up — in the modern jargon of the day — to last week’s 2016 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena and came within touching distance of the famous red carpet.

But I wasn’t supposed to be there. I blame the satnav. (That’s what us motorists do when we get hopelessly lost.)

I was on my way to a car launch at the spanking new InterContinental London The O2 hotel — an establishment so spanking new I couldn’t find it on said satnav.

A postcode had been provided for us motoring hacks, but it didn’t seem to work. So I keyed in the next best thing: the O2 Arena, which logically was close by.

Now I must not be mealy-mouthed about this: a lot of young people would have given an arm or a leg to be where I ended up that night.

The satnav had landed me within spitting distance of the red carpet: not yards away from my car, a line of screaming fans hung over a parapet.

Below them bathed in the glitz and buzz of the Brits were their rock heroes and heroines making their way into the auditorium.

I was about to take a look myself when I was moved on by two policemen. A police van had moved menacingly into position behind my car.

Thankfully, I spotted a stationary motorcycle messenger nearby.

These guys, I thought, know their way around London — especially its wilder parts around the Isle of Dogs. Sure enough, his directions delivered me safely to the Intercontinental London The O2.

All this brushing shoulders with stardust was singularly appropriate for the cars I had come to see.

DS Automobiles came to life in 2009 as a luxury brand under the Citroën umbrella. Its ambition has been to provide colourful avant garde-styled modes of transport for like-minded people. Evidence of this is intriguing: the launch of its two new DS 3 models was held in a five-star hotel where by chance young, trendy people — Brit Awards guests mostly, I guess — were staying.

The DS brand is derived from the truly iconic (an overused word but here it applies) Citroën DS, which stunned a crowded 1955 Paris Motor Show with its first appearance.

The beautiful, original DS — still a car to treasure — and the more basic Citroën ID, have wowed motorists for decades.

At auction in 2009, one enthusiast paid 337,500 euros for a rare 1973 DS 23 Chaperon cabriolet.

Almost 35 years after the last DS came off the production line, the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show saw the launch of the first supermini DS 3.

Although taking up the mantle of the revered DS badge, the new car hardly relies upon retro looks to make an impact.

The idea was to give this supermini super style features coupled with high-tech equipment and big car comfort.

According to DS Automobiles, six new DS models are due before 2020. I was at the launch of the new DS 3 and new DS 3 Cabrio models.

The reason the UK got the first shot at the launch of these models — the international launch comes later — is that Britain is the leading market for DS 3 sales. More DS 3 and DS 3 Cabrio models were sold in the UK last year than in France or any other global market.

Of course, a launch offers journalists a first drive of cars for a limited time only. I shall be reporting on both of these new models at a later date, when I can drive them at some length.

However, my impression of the new DS 3 is that it offers potential buyers a car that is absolutely on the money, tech- and comfort-wise. For a long while I have been an enthusiast of small cars that come with proportionate power, style and comfortable interiors.

Why shouldn’t small cars have all the luxuries and equipment that traditionally only came in big prestige models? The new DS 3 and DS 3 Cabrio show that dated stance is totally outmoded.

These new DS 3 models can be specified with the latest PureTech 130 three-cylinder turbo petrol engine and offer the latest generation EAT6 automatic gearbox with the PureTech 110 petrol engine.

The new DS 3 and DS 3 Cabrio will also be available in 208hp Performance specification (which I am looking forward to driving).

The DS 3 has numerous personalisation possibilities, including options for the roof, body, rear view mirror housings, dashboard and gear knob. Customers can now choose from 78 body/roof colour combinations and four fabric roofs for the DS 3 Cabrio.

Of the two new models, I would favour (on a first drive) the DS 3 rather than the DS 3 Cabrio, but come summer I have no doubt I will be won over by the possibility of dropping the roof (which takes a rapid 16 seconds).

The beauty of these cars is that with so many combinations to choose from of colour and style and a useful amount of power from much improved, latest generation engines, the consumer is offered the widest of choices –— which is always the way to go.

By Nigel Wigmore

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