2017 DS 3 Performance Review
The DS 3 Performance is billed as a true GT car- combining performance, comfort and safety. It certainly lives up to this hype, bringing you more power than you’d expect and one of the most relaxing and enjoyable rides you will experience. It’s even reminiscent of the Renault Sport variants of the 90s. Has DS designed the ultimate 200bhp hot hatch? Let’s find out.
From the outset, the DS 3 Performance greets you with aggressive styling, as you would expect from this kind of car. Everywhere you take it, people stop and stare as it stands out from other vehicles on the road and nobody knows what exactly it is. The optional GT graphics kit only adds to its kerb appeal, with matte black upper body camouflage and subtle stripes highlighting its pedigree. Special DS Performance badges dotted around the car add to its uniqueness and make it appear even more exotic that the sporty body suggests. 18-inch black alloys complete its look, making little effort to hide the beast that lays beneath.
As one of the DS 3 Performance’s main goals is to be comfortable, it’s no surprise that the cabin is a very nice place to be. Clever design features make the vehicle feel more spacious, with a recessed glovebox among other things. The sports seats are incredibly comfy and firm, cradling you in their bolsters and ensuring you stay relaxed. The dashboard is very smart and made up of different materials from leather to carbon fibre and glossy plastic with red, white and gold accents polishing it off. One drawback is the lack of storage – the recessed glovebox is too small to carry anything useful and the cup holder isn’t the same size as any cup.
Power is where the DS 3 Performance really comes into its own. It accelerates surprisingly quick, considering the size of the car and its 1.6L Turbocharged engine. There is no turbo lag, it kicks in as soon as you hit 4000rpm and you immediately feel the boost it provides. Its handling is exceptional and is perfect for nipping around a city centre or navigating roads at speed. This is aided by the small sports steering wheel which gives you the confidence to use its hidden power. The brakes are extremely sharp and precise, especially when you suddenly come into heavy traffic and need to slow down quickly. In terms of performance, there is nothing that you can fault on this car and it even achieves an admirable 40mpg on an urban cycle.
A built-in 7-inch touchscreen interface sits at the centre of the dashboard – featuring DAB radio, Bluetooth, sat nav, phone connectively and Apple CarPlay. Connecting your phone is very simple and it takes very little time to get everything set up. However, the speaker system in the DS 3 Performance leaves something to be desired as it is very centre focused, with an overly heavy bass response. Another downside is the media controls on stalks behind the steering wheel. They are difficult to use and often get in the way. The buttons on the dashboard also sit behind the gearstick and can be hard to use at times.
Ultimately, the DS 3 Performance is an excellent car to drive. It’s comfortable, safe and powerful exactly when you need it the most. The upsides far outweigh the downsides, which are easy to get used to with prolonged exposure. This car would be perfect for someone who is looking to buy their second car and wants something with more power than their previous. At £22,910, it sits in the same price band as its rivals and certainly offers a better driving experience.