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DS 3 E-Tense: More powerful motor and larger battery

First ride in the beefed up DS 3, which is now on the road without the nickname Crossback. New are the steering wheel, infotainment and - very important - the synchronous machine of the electric version E-Tense, which also gets a larger battery.

One could almost think that the car is a minor matter, DS celebrates the topics of design, materials and quality so much. Putting a range of paint finishes and seat covers in the configurator would have been too easy. So the so-called Diva Red (1,300 euros) was developed, which is applied in several layers, whereby a special technique is used in the pre-production when grinding the pigments in order to achieve even more color saturation. One is also proud of the quilted real leather covers of the top equipment line Opera (from cows that received very special food during their lifetime and are bred exclusively for the DS covers) or the so-called pearl stitch seams, which legend says are their design caused by the work result of a defective sewing machine. However, DS was so enthusiastic about the actually unsuccessful result that they subsequently rebuilt all the sewing tools. So the car as an art object.

10.3-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration

But a 4.12-meter-long DS 3 is also a means of transportation, of course also fully electric, now with a new drive and larger battery. So get in - first of all at the front, where they put a new steering wheel in front of the driver's seat, which makes it easier to operate. On the right are buttons for radio and multimedia control, on the left everything is controlled that affects cruise control, distance control and semi-autonomous driving. Also new is the 10.3-inch touchscreen, which is tilted a little too much towards the windshield, with a customizable surface on which smartphone content can now also be projected wirelessly (Apple Carplay, Android Auto). You can control the system, and also parts of the air conditioning, via the touchscreen or capacitive direct dial fields below. However, apart from the buttons for hazard warning lights and radio activation, they do not offer any haptic feedback, so that the seat heating is quickly activated if you carelessly stroke the panel. ,

If you don't like the content and layout of the seven-inch instrument display, just keep zapping and choose one of four other interfaces (navigation, on-board computer/navigation, on-board computer/multimedia, drive, assistance). And if you have ordered the head-up display, which can be easily adjusted via buttons (depending on the equipment: 350 or 1,100 euros), you hardly have to take your eyes off the road. Apropos: Because of the small window areas in the rear and rear area, the DS 3 is not particularly clear. The 650 euros for the reversing camera and parking sensors all around (rear: series) are money well spent.The pillion passenger is also satisfied, as he has plenty of room for his knees and can stow all kinds of provisions in the glove compartment, which is unusually voluminous and deep. ,

The seats, which are perhaps a bit narrow in the leg area (optionally with heating wires and massage function), are sufficiently comfortable and do not suggest more contours than they actually offer. At the back you should duck your head better when boarding, after a successful boarding manoeuvre, squat on a bench that is a bit too flat, look through the small window to the side. You park your toes under the front seats and when cornering quickly come into contact with the hard plastic-covered door and generally with the roof lining, which is actually high enough, but lowers again directly above the headrests because the tailgate is attached there. Another look at the at least 350 liter trunk - which you can open with a button in the quickly dirty number plate housing - with the large step between the loading sill and the floor. Once the seats have been folded down asymmetrically (volume 1,050 liters), we found that this does not result in a flat loading floor, and then we're done with the interior check.

New technology from France

Let's continue with the new electrical technology of the DS 3, which costs at least 40,540 euros and which, by the way, is also available with a combustion engine (100 hp three-cylinder petrol engine with a manual six-speed gearbox, 130 hp three-cylinder petrol engine or 130 hp four-cylinder diesel each with eight-speed automatic transmission). If E-Tense is on the tailgate, a newly developed lithium-ion battery is housed in the underbody (NMC811: 80% nickel, 10% manganese, 10 percent cobalt; previously: NMC622), consisting of 17 modules and 102 cells. The battery is produced in France (cells from China) and is just as compact as its predecessor, but has a higher energy density and can store 51 kWh net (54 kWh gross). Also new is the slightly more powerful, 115 kW, permanently excited electric motor, also Made in France, which is produced in the joint venture factory of Stellantis and Nidec Leroy-Somer in Trémery and will soon also be used in other Stellantis models (e.g. Opel , Peugeot, Jeep) will ensure propulsion. The synchronous motor is not only stronger, but also runs more efficiently because, among other things, the number of magnetic poles has been reduced, the rotor is now smaller and the cooling is integrated into the motor housing. ,

Now let's go, press the start button and wait two seconds until the instrument reports readiness to drive. The massive selector lever in D and gently losstromern. The on-board computer reports 99 percent SoC (state of charge; battery status) and a range of 394 kilometers. It is striking how softly the drive reacts even when the accelerator pedal is pressed harder, regardless of whether it is in eco, normal or sport mode. The sprint from a standing start with the 1.The 550 kg small SUV is so sluggish that we wonder where the 260 Nm of torque went. The DS 3 E-Tense is more spontaneous when sprinting from city to country road speed, where there is no threat of slippage on the front axle and the electronics release full power. But the little Frenchman with the striking vertical LED lights does not encourage dynamic driving at all, wants to glide and cruise more, sways and heaves on long road bumps with the body, sometimes doesn't want to stop and bows in curves also like to be in awe of the centrifugal forces. So far, so comfortable. But alas, a transverse joint or even an edge stands in the way. Then the trailing arm rear axle reacts quite clumsily and banging, which may not fit the comfortable character of the French at all. And while we're still looking for excuses (short wheelbase, heavy battery), we've already missed the turn. Not because of the thoughts, but because of the navigation system. Although the screen is now larger and has a higher resolution, the map display is a bit misleading, because every dirt road, no matter how small, is shown as well as the wide main road next to it. And secondly, there is sometimes a problem with the computing power, the turn has already happened, although the displayed map still thinks the DS 3 E-Tense is ahead.

In 30 minutes to 80 percent battery level

But not so bad, because the E-Tense is also permanently connected to the network, so it can load software updates that make everything a little smoother or bring new functions. For example, automatic charging route planning via navigation system or charging limits. So far, both are only possible via the smartphone app. However, a software update is probably not sufficient for preconditioning the battery, DS 3 E-Tense drivers will have to do without it. However, the DC charging power of 100 kW (AC: 11 kW) is not so high that it would have to be pre-heated for a long time. Ideally, it should only take 30 minutes from 0 to 80 percent SoC (11 kW wallbox, 3-phase: 0 – 100% SoC in 5 hours 45 minutes). Because the electric DS 3 as a classic second car and home charger is mostly used for short and medium distances, particularly fast charging times are less relevant than consumption. According to the WLTP cycle, DS specifies 15.3 kWh per 100 kilometers, the range should be up to 404 km (WLTP). On our nearly 230-kilometer city-traffic-overland-highway tour, the on-board computer showed an average of 15.8 kWh (with the air conditioning switched on, outside temperature between 16 and 21 degrees), with the battery level on arrival being only 34 percent. ,

Conclusion

The DS 3 E-Tense now runs more efficiently and creates more range, it is easier to operate via the steering wheel, the screen is smarter and bigger.But in some places function still follows form, and the handsome Frenchman loses himself in art, for which his customers will probably continue to appreciate him.

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