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The Citroen DS3 Racing, the fastest version of the French brand’s C3-based hot-hatch, has been ruled out of Australia owing to local vehicle regulations.

Citroen’s Australian importer, Ateco Automotive, had been looking to import the sportiest version of its Mini-rivalling DS3, which launched here in the latter part of 2010.


Ateco went to the trouble of bringing a DS3 Racing to Australia to directly assess whether it could pass the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) that all imported new vehicles must adhere to, but admits it can’t justify the cost of making the changes necessary to put it into showrooms.

“We have had the car thoroughly checked locally to see if it would meet the local design rules or if modification was possible,” says Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe. “Unfortunately, to make it conform [to the ADRs] would require a substantial redesign of the suspension.

“And as it is already a boutique suspension design, different from the standard [DS3] car, this would be prohibitively expensive and, given that the cars are all being built in a fixed production run as a limited edition model, modifying the car prior to production would not be possible.”

The Citroen DS3 Racing’s suspension was tweaked by the company’s highly successful World Rally Championship team, which won yet another title in 2011 with a WRC version of the DS3 driven by Sebastian Loeb.

The suspension is stiffer and lower (by 15mm) than the DS3’s set-up and also includes wider front and rear axles, and larger, 18-inch wheels, for a bigger footprint on the road.

There’s also more power under the bonnet. Where the DS3 Sport, which is priced from $29,990, produces 115kW of power and 240Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, the DS3 Racing uses a more powerful version of the engine with outputs of 147kW and 275Nm.

It is a natural rival to the Mini John Cooper Works, which shares the same engine albeit in a slightly higher state of tune (155kW) and is far from cheap at nearly $50,000.

Ateco says its DS3 Racing model, which was imported under special manufacturer marketing technical evaluation rules, will now be sold in New Zealand where homologation issues don’t exist.

The company says it is considering offering more DS3 Racings in New Zealand in limited numbers.

There is still some potentially good news for Australian driving enthusiasts. Ateco says Citroen Racing is planning future models because of the success of the DS3 Racing – which CarAdvice reviewed earlier this year – and that the local importer will “ensure that Australian Design Rule requirements are included in the parameters of future cars”.

Read: Citroen DS3 Racing Review

  • Jumbo

    Why does Australia have to be different to everyone else? Why can’t we just take the design rules from European countries and be done with it. We do it with ANCAP so surely the cars are safe enough.

    • The truth

      The truth is we are living in a bureaucrat’s wonderland. People who survive by creating red tape and inefficiencies.
      The ADRs are more concerned with keeping people employed than building efficient and desirable vehicles.

  • Able

    This makes me sad.

  • Martin V.

    You’d think Europe would have more stringent design rules than Australia. We must have some pretty strict rules then? Makes you wonder if they’re even necessary or if they’re just a way to try and limit foreign imports.

    • Jacob

      Europe do have more stringent rules on important stuff like how much sulphur is in each litre of diesel/petrol.

      While their speed limits on motorways is 130km/h and they dont require helmets to be worn all the time by cyclists.

  • Paul

    What a classic!! Australian bureaucrats getting off on their own authority. This is almost as ridiculous as the fools that run OH&S.

    The car is considered good enough for 350 Million Europeans to drive around in, but a bunch of self-important idiots in Australia who write ADRs have to be “DIFFERENT”

    Effectively a group of ADR bureaucrats on a power trip are saying they know more about car design than anyone at Citroen??? How arrogant is that?

    • CRS200

      Yep very true!

      But in Australia you can have cars with rust on them running on our roads, in Europe the car will be a write off.

      Hell you can’t even run a car in Europe without it being fully painted it it’s original color.

      And these idiot’s don’t approve a car just because… it can’t go over Ayers Rock?

      Ignorant ba$t@rds!

  • Mark

    ADRs are only a mechanism to protect our ailing car industry which is currently being read it last rites. I hate to say it but it’s true. As the industry moves towards world cars isn’t it time we moved an acceptable world standard or at the very least adopt the European standard. While you’re there abolish the LCT!

  • CRS200

    How any different is the suspension of the DS3 Racing to the Clio RS 200 Cup?

    The Clio has a very low suspension and very stiff I really doubt that the suspension on the DS3 Racing is stiffer and harder than the Clio RS 200.

    Yet again Australia is always behind in these “mentality” issues.

    Hell Majority Aussie Girls don’t even use G Stings.

    Wake up and smell the Carcass please!

  • Justin

    Does anyone know exactly which things would need to be changed to make it pass?

    • CRS200


      1. Speed limiter.
      2. Much higher suspension to limit it’s cornering ability.
      3. Auto transmission.
      4. Turbo Removal.
      5. Removal of all stickers, because it incentives Hooning car.

  • RBH

    I find it hard to beleive that the new suspension would be non-compliant. It sounds like the most significant change is the change in track…but that probably requires some gormless Australian bureaucrat to fill out a gazzilion forms to ensure the safety of the residents of the Nanny States of Australia. :-)

  • K-Pop

    haha…..what a joke

  • Richard

    You guys believe Ateco? ;)
    It’s probably just their lame excuse for not importing it. The normal DS3 Sport hardly sells up a storm. And from all accounts from O/S the DS3 Racing is very expensive and not worth the extra $$$$

    Otherwise the only explanation is that the suspension has been lowered enough that it doesn’t pass minimum ground clearance conditions.

    Most ADRs are already harmonised with EU regs. Manufacturers can choose to comply with either the ADR or the associated EU regs. Why do you think new Euro models arrive here so soon after they are released in Europe.

    It’s not to protect the local industry. Camry’s and Commodores are sold O/S The Commmodore/HSV is sold in the EU and has to be modified (rear foglight etc) to meet EU regs. So, perhaps EU regs are there to protect the European market.

  • Technofreak

    But I can buy a Chery SUV piece of crap from China…WTF!!??

  • Nick

    Australia, as much as i love it is fast becoming the world’s biggest nanny state, controlled by an extreme left minority.

    Technofreak is spot on. You can buy a stupid Cherry that Scores negative 5 ANCAP stars, or a Great Wall piece of crap, and something like this fails to meet ADRs.

  • Scotty C

    How can these idiots deem a car that handles better, stops better and would have superior crash avoidance than the regular DS3 not be legal to drive here?!!!

  • Jimmy James

    ADRs are a joke and should be abolished. But ADRs are not the real reason this car wont be on sale here.

    If the DS3 Racing came here, it would be heinously expensive and thus would appeal to 0% of the population (Citroen are having enough trouble selling competitively priced models).

    To justify its existence (and premium price) in this country it would need to be far superior to the Clio 200. It isnt, so it cant.

    Ateco have done their numbers and asked the question “how many of these could we sell in Australia at $49,990?”

    The answer is nought.

  • Aaron

    On Sale for Nz, they don’t even have any money that’s why their coming to Australia, went to Nz for the RWC, they have better used cars then us, cheaper, New cars cost less than here, We are getting ripped off big time

  • Peter Anderson

    I am reading this article sitting here in La Cadiere-d’Azur in the South of France. Our leased car for this holiday is a Citroen DS3 Sport (not a Racing unfortunately) and it is simply a fantastic car. We have the 1.6 lt. diesel and it just goes like a rocket.

    Many years ago I worked in the Australian car industry (British leyland and P-76 :-)) and have always seen ADRs as a crutch for a lazy useless bunch of State and federal bureaucrats who justify their high paid jobs by imposing a raft of useless and meaningless rules on car makers. ADRs were also used as a form of protection for our local industry.

    Two points in conclusion:

    1. Why are ADRs more appropriate than European, Japaneses or US standards? NZ allows any car to be imported as long as it meets one of these.

    2. How much cheaper would cars be in Australia if there were NO ADRs?

    Au Revoir,

  • Richard

    If ADRs were the real reason for high prices then why can certain asian manufacturers make compliant cars for this market and sell them WAY under $20K?

    It’s not ADRS, it’s the size of our market and the manufacturers themselves that set the price.

    As for NZ… a Polo GTI is no cheaper there than here in real terms. So it’s not ADRs that cause problems.

  • Chris

    I have seen the ADR inspection carried out on a number of vehicles through my work and it really is just a bunch of grey haired ex-Tafe teachers looking for boxes to cross on rediculous things to justify their jobs. One low volume importer I dealt with recently told me that no other country in the world gives the company as much compliance greif as Australia and for the low volumes we sell of certain cars it almost isnt work the effort.
    It is a completely irrelevant system.

  • Paul Meoff

    Good decision, we don’t need this car in Australia. If you want a sporty small car, look no further than the new Cruz hatch. Bung on a sports exhaust, thrown on a spoiler and replace the Holden badges with Chev badges, and gosh darn it, you have yourself a mini nascar.

    • ID10T

      You spanner.