First Drive: Citroen DS3 Racing Cabriolet

Be quick if you want one - just 10 examples of the Citroen DS3 Racing Cabriolet are UK-bound
Be quick if you want one - just 10 examples of the Citroen DS3 Racing Cabriolet are UK-bound
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THE DS3 Racing Cabriolet is a classic remix of a car.

In standard form, the DS3 is a much-loved take on the style-conscious small hatch, while the Racing version throws in serious hot hatch appeal with pumped up bodywork and more firepower. Add to that the DS3 Cabriolet’s folding fabric roof and you’re left with the car that has everything.

The existence of the DS3 Racing Cabriolet is probably best explained by its rarity; Citroen are building just 100 examples, with just ten of those scheduled to hit UK showrooms, so it’ll be a very uncommon sight unless you have one on your driveway.

The DS3 is a pretty thing in its own right, and the Racing Cabriolet has a further twist on that theme. It comes in a unique matte colour dubbed “Moondark Grey” with gloss black alloy wheels to go with it. Add to that some more gloss detailing and a relatively discreet red stripe and the DS3 Racing Cabriolet is seriously eye-catching. It’s not garish but at the same time it probably won’t suit wallflowers.

It’s a small car, undoubtedly, but for its size the DS3 Racing Cabriolet does a pretty good job. Those sat in the front have attractive bucket seats that are comfortable and there’s a decent amount of space available – including unlimited headroom if you open the roof of course. It’s more snug in the back, but you can squeeze adults in if you need to. The biggest issue is boot space; there’s 40 litres less than the hatch and the boot aperture is narrow.

The DS3 Racing has a 204bhp version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine which is a lot for a car of this size. Even though the Cabrio version weighs a little more than the hatchback it’s terrifically fast. There’s an enthusiastic rasp from the engine and even from low revs you can feel the turbo working hard and delivering plenty of shove. Convertibles normally trade off a little handling sophistication on account of losing their roof but the Racing Cabriolet hides it well.

The ride quality is surprisingly good for a hatch as hot as this, and although it can be a handful on rougher roads, there is tons of grip and balance through the bends. It’s great fun but is still capable of being relatively refined when cruising.

On the one hand the DS3 Racing Cabriolet has all the boxes ticked. You get the unique paint and styling details, big wheels, the beefy engine and suspension upgrades plus the Alcantara and carbon-effect trim, as well as the high-spec infotainment system. The downside is a list price of £29,305, almost £10,000 more than the less powerful DSport version.

There’s little doubt you need to be a DS3 fan to go for the Racing Cabriolet as it is not a cheap car. As well as the cheaper DSport version, rival cabriolets at the £30,000 mark offer more space or prestige. But the DS3 Racing Cabriolet is a very limited edition and as such is very desirable.

VITAL STATS

Price £29,305

Engine 1.6-litre turbo petrol, 204bhp, 203lb ft

Performance Max speed 146mph, 0-62mph 6.5 secs

Economy 44.1mpg

CO2 emissions 149g/km