Is the BMW 3-Series still the car to beat?
There are serious alternatives to the mighty BMW 320d. Question is: do you dare to be different?
Posted: 11 Jul 2012
Last, but not least, there's the Citroen DS5. And if you really want the anti-320d, here it is. With an almost MPV monobox profile, Citroen's newest saloon/hatch takes familiar ingredients - a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel with 163bhp and front-wheel drive, derived from rather humdrum C4/Peugeot 308/3008 underpinnings - and cooks up something completely bonkers. The DSport HDi 160 we have here may have a few extra options, but as a basic thing you can buy it for £28k on the nose. Which punts it directly into the 320d's line of sight.
Which is where it stays, mainly because visually it's impossible not to be constantly drawn back to the DS5. This is a car that is genuinely exciting to look at. The new BMW 3-Series saloon is a familiar theme expanded to incorporate more space, a squashed nose and slightly more angular features, an all-new car deeply rooted to the values of the previous generation, while the Citroen feels like it was created by men who shout a lot and wave their arms about. A clean-sheet design by Frédéric Soubirou that boiled up from a maelstrom of ideas surrounding the C-SportLounge concept of 2005. There are slashes and lines and chrome sabres on the front three-quarter, deep, strong feature lines, cartoonish strakes and mighty chrome exhaust finishers which don't have anything at all to do with the actual exhaust. It's an absolute joy. Or just a bit fussy, depending on your point of view.