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Limited edition DS3 has true racing pedigree

don't be put off, or indeed fooled by the naff, day-glow orange roof, matching 18 inch Nemesis alloys, oversized double chevron and gaping grille.

And you shouldn't be taken in by the garish silver graphics on the bonnet and rear panels or the funky LED lights in the front bumper.

You see, this is not the work of a over-zealous, colourblind LBR (Little Boy Racer) who has 'souped-up' his mum's Citroen C3.

No, what you see before you is a serious piece of machinery designed and engineered by the same team that has seven World Rally Championships under their belt.

It's called the DS3 Racing - a savage, limited edition pocket rocket which is packing 207bhp, hitting 0-100kph in just over 6 seconds and a top end of 250kph.

Only 2,000 are being made, of which 200 will make it onto British and Irish roads.



FEROCIOUS



Colour aside, this is a ferocious looking hot hatch but there are subtle little clues that give away its true pedigree.

Giant brake callipers, twin exhausts, and smatterings of carbon fibre all over its muscular body tell you this ain't no backstreet tweak.

Under the hood lurks the same 1.6 litre turbo powerplant used by BMW in the MINI JCW and she comes with a rasp that would make an Aston Martin blush.

The six speed gear box is crisp, tight and the change is brisk. Open the taps and the horses are unleashed. Unlike its main rival, the Renault Clio RS 200, the madness isn't as instant or consistent. In order to get close to crazy you have to keep the throttle on as she climbs over 3,500 rpm and then the magic begins to happen.

Handling-wise the Racing is not as sharp or as focused as the Clio and the steering lacks the connectivity needed in a motor as powerful as this.

It's almost as if Citroen have gone out of their way to make it too comfy -- thereby missing the whole point.

The ride though is superb thanks to the adapted front and rear suspension and you only have to tip the brakes and the four piston callipers glue her to the spot.

It is also the most frugal speed demon I've ever driven returning an eye-watering 44 mpg while keeping emissions down to 149g/km and annual road tax of just €302.

Gripes aside, the DS3 Racing is a remarkable machine and considering it is Citroen's first stab at high performance in quite some time, it bodes well for the future where we may see the MKII spank the mighty Clio.

Prices start at €29,990.


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