2014 Citroen DS3 Cabrio Racing review

  •  Extreme version of DS3 drop-top driven in UK
  •  204bhp and 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds
  •  Available to order now, priced from £29,350

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The Citroen DS3 Cabrio Racing is the most extreme version of our favourite sub-£25k open-top.

The Racing edition is far more radical than other versions of the DS3 Cabrio, with plenty of carbonfibre styling add-ons, a matte paint finish, gloss black 18-inch alloy wheels and a rear diffuser, not to mention lowered suspension and a more potent 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with 204bhp.

It's also considerably more expensive – at an eye-watering £29,305 – and likely to be a much rarer sight on British roads than even the hard-top DS3 Racing hatchback that sold out in 2011.

Citroen UK sold 100 examples of that car, but it's planning to import just 10 right-hand-drive DS3 Cabrio Racings to British customers.

What's the 2014 Citroen DS3 Cabrio Racing like to drive?
It won't surprise you to learn that even with the added weight of an opening roof mechanism, a 204bhp Citroen DS3 is pretty rapid. Citroen claims a 0-62mph time of just 6.5 seconds and that feels entirely plausible, as does the top speed of 146mph.

If anything, though, the Racing seems a little bit too unhinged. Throw full throttle at the front wheels at a set of traffic lights and you'll feel them scrabbling for traction as the electronic control systems kick in. The steering is extremely aggressive, too, and the hefty self-centring action means that a rapid drive along on a country road is a hectic and tiresome affair.

The high-speed ride comfort is acceptable – surprisingly supple, even – given that you're riding on 18-inch wheels. However, around town there are a fair few crashes and thumps transmitted through to the cabin as you go over potholes and speed bumps; you're never left in any doubt that this is the 'hardcore' DS3. The firm set-up means that the DS3 Cabrio Racing stays flat through corners, though. 

The 1.6 engine has an enticing exhaust rasp as you rev it hard, but it settles down once you're cruising on a motorway; road noise from the big wheels is likely to be a bigger nuisance over long journeys.

What's the 2014 Citroen DS3 Cabrio Racing like inside?
The regular DS3 Cabrio's cabin is one of its strong points, and the Racing's interior manages to feel even more special again. You get more of that matte-grey paint finish on the upper fascia and some of the dashboard, and there are plenty of carbonfibre-effect flourishes, including a sizeable insert on the steering wheel.

The Alcantara-trimmed sports seats look good with the Citroen Racing logo on the head rests, but aren't that supportive. There's also an individually numbered plaque ahead of the gearlever.

The fabric hood is identical to that on the regular DS3 Cabrio –  it gives you open-air motoring without extending all the way back. It can be operated at speeds of up to 74mph, too, which is useful given the fickle British climate.
 

Should I buy one?
If you're inclined to spend £30,000 on a DS3 Cabrio then little that we say here is going to change your mind. There are far better performance cars and better convertibles available for this kind of money, but there's no doubt that the Cabrio Racing will have the appeal of real exclusivity.

If that appeals to you, then you'd better get your credit card out quickly. We have little doubt that the 10 cars will sell out within weeks - if they haven't already. 

However, if you miss out then you really shouldn't worry, because for around half as much money you can have the 1.6 VTi 120 DSport version of the same car. True, it's not as fast or as well-specced, but it's much easier to live with.

What Car? says..



Rivals

Audi A3 Cabriolet

Mini Cooper S JCW



Specification
Engine size 1.6-litre turbo petrol
Price from £29,350
Power 204bhp
Torque 203lb ft
0-62mph 6.5 seconds
Top speed 146mph
Fuel economy 44.1mpg
CO2 output 149g/km

 
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