Moving up in the automotive world is a difficult task, whether it's Acura trying to reach tier 1 luxury status or Hyundai-Kia seeking recognition as a globally competitive carmaker.

Citroën has faced its own difficulties in recent years, producing products that outstrip the brand's reputation. The French carmaker recently unveiled a new concept car named after its legendary DS that previews a future range of upmarket vehicles that will help kick off the transformation into a “near-premium” brand.

The concept was the compact DS Inside, which was first displayed back in March at the Geneva Motor Show. The DS moniker this time around stands for "Different Spirit" and the concept provided the basis for a new line of cars to be named DS 3, DS 4 and DS 5, hinting at bigger and better models to come. The first of these is the DS 3, revealed today.

Aimed squarely at cars like the Mini Cooper, the DS 3 features full leather upholstery, sporty bucket seats, and an intricate center console with piano-black trim. The premium theme is further emphasized by the thick carpeting, vinyl roof lining, and special DS badging.

A revival of the DS line is just one line of attack for this global re-branding scheme. The DS held the top slot at Citroën for 21 years, starting in 1955 and running through 1976. Despite the ensuing 33-year hiatus, the iconic outline of the DS is still the first thing that comes to mind for many car enthusiasts when the Citroën brand is mentioned. The new DS 3 bears little or no resemblance to that legendary silhouette, however.