BY THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE LOEB'S RALLY CAR'
204bhp and 2031b ft, which should see it sprint from standstill to 62mph in 6.5sec before going on to reach 146mph flat-out. Arguably even more impressive than those performance figures, however, is the C02 rating of 149g/km and combined cycle figure of 44mpg.
Not that we will be replicating the latter today, because the launch for the DS3 Racing is taking place in the hills above Nice, which means the amazing Col de Vence is our playground. The crinkle-free tarmac is damp today and as we climb ever higher we plunge evo.co.ul« 041
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-rrr r into cotton-wool mist. Evidence of the road being used as a (probably not entirely legal) rally stage looms in the foglights with lines rubber-tattooed onto the tarinac in the braking zone for each corner. The Citroen is agile and accurate in its lines but the first thing I do is turn the ESP off (and it is completely off in the Racing) because rhe front wheels are struggling to lay down the power cleanly and the clcccronics are cutting in early rather than allowing a bit of slip
Despite the traction issues, the engine doesn't feel like it's imbued with quire as much vim and eagerness as in the 208bhp Mini JCW. partly, 1 suspect, due to taller gearing in the DS3. It's in rhe corners, not on the short straights, that we're really hoping for good things, however. The DS3 Racing changes direction quickly and incisivclv and corners very flat, so you can link medium and fast corners together in really satisfying style, picking up clipping points and really flowing down a road.
However, in slower corners the electric power steering is too light and the front end just doesn't feel like it's keyed into the tarmac as you want It feels like it needs a limited-slip diff. The Brembos are excellent, though, and on these smooth roads you can augment the front-end grip by trail-braking late and deep into corners, standing the car on its nose and getting the tail swinging controllably and entertainingly out of line. This isn't something you would often do on the bumpier roads of
'BRAKE DEEP INTO A CORNER AND THE TAIL SWINGS
the UK, but it could be interesting on track (we look forward to finding out).
The gearshift is light and slick but I'd like just a bit more mechanical resistance to make you feel more involved. Its the same story with the pedals, but the handbrake (there were hairpins -1 couldn't resist) is everything you would hope for from a rally outfit, acting like a light-switch to snap the tail round. By the end of our few hours on the Col, the DS3 Racing had felt good, but never great. I love the lateral grip and
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