► DS 3 named after French fashion model
► 200 limited-edition models available
► Changes are largely cosmetic (fittingly)
DS can’t resist teaming up with French fashion brands to create one-off versions of its popular DS 3 supermini – there’s already a Givenchy special edition in the current DS 3 line-up, and previously in the 3’s life there’s been a Benefit Cosmetics edition.
This is the latest and it’s a bit of a mouthful… but said in a convincing French accent, the Ines de la Fressange (a famous French model and subsequently founder of a Paris-based fashion society) sounds suitably exotic.
What makes this one different?
As with the majority of limited-run DS 3s, the changes are purely cosmetic (appropriately). So, while the majority of the car is dark blue, there’s a white roof, ‘Ines Red’ on the mirrors and wheel centres and some red, white and blue striped detailing along the bottom of the rear window.
The theme continues inside with blue leather seats, red dashboard and more striped detail on the seats. There’s even a baby deer on the dashboard and the key – a signature motif for Ines de la Fressange.
What’s under the bonnet?
PSA’s now-established PureTech petrol engine – the 108bhp version – mated to a five-speed manual gearbox (you can also choose an auto ’box if you like), or there’s a BlueHDi diesel with 97bhp.
It’s a lively performer with excellent throttle response and, combined with a rorty three-cylinder growl, it’s quite enjoyable to rev out.
In fact, it’s almost too lively, and can overwhelm the front tyres. This DS 3’s steering seeks out imperfections in the road and tramlines easily in ruts.
Combined with a fidgety ride and odd driving position, the DS 3 doesn’t feel as easy nor as enjoyable to drive as you might expect.
On the upside, the seats are particularly comfortable with plenty of support, while visibility is good on the move because you sit relatively high.
Generous kit tally?
DS has piled on the kit with this special edition. All models come with DS LED Vision headlamps (that’s xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights to you and I), and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto thrown in, as well as sat-nav and DAB radio.
There are useful touches like auto-folding door mirrors and automatic lights and wipers, plus an armrest that gets in the way of the handbrake, which is less useful.
For a PureTech 110 model, you’ll be paying £20,310 which is really stepping into Mini Cooper and Audi A1 territory. The Audi is arguably ageing rather better than the DS, while the Mini provides a much more enjoyable drive and an interior that’s even quirkier, yet more user-friendly.
The DS 3 is beginning to show its age, which isn’t a surprise considering it’s been around since 2010. It still looks good and the various optional colour schemes help keep it fresh, but they don’t cover up its dynamic shortcomings, characterful PureTech engine aside.
The Ines de la Fressange special edition is an expensive model to go for (even if it’s limited to 200 units for extra exclusivity), and the exterior fripperies can’t stop the ergonomically flawed interior from taking the shine off the DS 3.