Summer is indeed upon us and whilst here in the UK our blisteringly hot days are sporadically separated with sudden downpours at the moment, we are all still out in force down at the beach or lighting barbecues. It must be said that our weather can be a bit gloomy for the majority of the year but when the sun comes out, we make the most of it. Making the most of it is what the Citroen DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155 is all about, providing refuge from the rain as well as some fun in the sun.
The Citroen DS3 relaunched the French businesses DS sub-brand back in 2009 and brought with it fresh design and a high quality interior. This hatchback aimed itself firmly in the direction of the very popular Mini, but whilst the Cooper harked back to its forefather, the DS3 was branded as being original and “anti-retro.” A few years down the line and sales have been good for Citroen leading to the expansion of the DS line, and more importantly for the companies future, a strong foothold in China. Again squaring up to the Mini, this convertible variant of the DS3 wants to be an object of desire.
Retaining the same funky aesthetic as its hatchback sibling, the Citroen DS3 Cabrio turns heads. Its highly stylised bodywork was finished in Arctic Steel on our test car and it looked great when teamed with its Infinite Blue contrasting roof. Ok, so the blue is a bit too purple for me but it stood out and that is what this car is about. It makes a statement about individualism and is proud to be different.
This Citroen DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155 interior was also finished in the same blue/purple of the roof. Bolstered seating initiates a sporty feel to the cabin along with the carbon fibre effect dashboard trim. Just like the standard car, its insides are beautifully finished and things such as the instrument panel are as detailed as a Swiss watch. The centre console is starting to show its age a bit but still functions well in tandem with the large infotainment display. Hook your iPhone up to the premium sound system via Bluetooth and enjoy your summer playlist. Rear passengers have an adequate amount of space for their heads, all the same, leg room can be a bit confined dependant on who is sitting in the front. Hit the button just aft of the interior mirror and the fabric centre panel begins to retract. As it folds up upon itself you can treat it like a sunroof or have it open the whole length of the car. There is another position for the roof which also folds down the rear windscreen for the ultimate top-down experience, however, this reduces rear visibility to zero. The boot is plenty big enough, but what isn’t is its opening. Thanks to the roof design it opens vertically like a an old drinks cabinet revealing a small rectangular gap to put objects through. Whilst the boot is a good size, you are limited by what will fit into the postbox opening.
Power comes from a 153BHP 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engine which gives this Cabrio a 0-62MPH time of 8.2 seconds. The car feels brisk under acceleration, particularly once the turbo has spooled up. There is a bit of turbo lag at low revs but nothing unforgivable. Whilst the sun beating down into the cabin is lovely, people in the know are aware that taking the roof off of a car tends to result in less favourable handling. This sin’t the case for the S3 as it retains its structural rigidity by keeping its pillars and roof frame. There isn’t a hint of flex in the chassis meaning that you can throw the Cabrio about just like you would the hatchback. A lack of understeer due to good levels of grip makes driving this car on some twisty roads enjoyable. The six speed manual gearbox has a nice throw to it and the brakes are responsive. On the motorway you might want to put the roof up unless you enjoy a hurricane in the cabin, there is only so much its little wind deflector can do above 50MPH. Set the cruise control and the Citroen DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155 is happy to motor along all day. The roof stands firm and doesn’t flap at any speed. Heading back into a more urban environment you can appreciate its well weighted steering and good visibility, as long as you don’t have the roof fully retracted. Overall we achieved 45MPG which is actually very close to what Citroen claim the DS3 can do officially at 47.9MPG.
The Citroen DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155 is a real feel good car. With the roof down on a nice day it is thoroughly enjoyable whilst wafting along the south coast. However, and arguable more important, it behaves itself when the weather becomes a bit more traditionally British.