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France's smallest premium hatchback receives more tech features and a new look

Citroën’s premium DS brand has updated the hatchback and the convertible variants of the 3, its entry-level models. Both body styles will make their public debuts in March at the Geneva Auto Show.

The face-lift largely consists of a new front end that borrows styling cues from DS’ latest design language. The 3 receives a hexagonal grille with a big DS emblem and a chrome frame that underlines the headlights, new fog lights, and a redesigned lower bumper. Out back, it takes a well-trained eye to notice designers have fitted both body styles with restyled LED tail lamps that boast a 3D-like design. As is often the case, new alloy wheel designs and additional paint colors round out the visual modifications.

The 6-year-old 3 has often been criticized for its lack of connectivity features. DS has finally listened to its critics and equipped the 3 with a seven-inch touch screen that sends 20 buttons usually found on the center console back to the parts bin. The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, a universal technology that enables smartphones to display compatible applications on the touch screen. Other new-for-2016 tech features include a rearview camera, and an Active City Brake function that automatically applies the brakes if it senses that a collision is imminent. Active City Brake works at up to about 20 mph.

Buyers can choose from an array of three- and four-cylinder engines borrowed from the Peugeot-Citroën parts bin. The range-topping mill is a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder unit that delivers 208 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Exclusively available with the Performance trim level, the turbo four is complemented by a lowered and stiffened suspension, bigger brakes on both axles, and bucket seats for the front passengers.

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The 2016 DS 3 will begin to arrive in showrooms across Europe shortly after it greets the show-going public in Geneva, but it stands virtually no chance of making the trip across the Atlantic. However, Citroën openly admits it hopes to launch its premium division in a handful of U.S. cities by the end of the decade, so the next-generation 3 might be sold here as an alternative to the Mini Hardtop.