Go for a breezy drive

Bobby Cheetham

WINTER is a strange time for a motor company to launch an open-top car. However, the gods were smiling on Citroen when they launched their DS3 Cabrio recently in Cape Town.

It was a perfect winter’s day, no rain, wind and only a slight chill in the air, just right for a test drive in the Cabrio through the magnificent winelands of the Western Cape and over the Franschhoek Pass.

With the soft-top rolled back, the drive was a very pleasant experience.

Three soft-top roof colours are available: black, Infini blue and DS Monogramme. The DS3 Cabrio also has an innovative 3D rear light signature and an original tailgate opening motion.

The tailgate has a particularly original opening path (circular motion), which enables one to fully open the boot no matter what the space behind (for example, when parked with the rear to wall).

The electrically operated roof can be opened up to a speed of 120km/h.

Citroen has billed the car as a “real five-seater” but if the truth be told, it can only accommodate four adults – there’s just not enough room for three adults at the rear.

The car has a relatively large boot of 245 litres for a Cabrio. But the boot opening is very narrow, almost like a postbox slit, and a large suitcase will not fit through it. Only the top-of-the-range model, the DS3 Cabrio THP 155 sport manual, was available to be driven on the launch.

The lively 1.6-litre turbo-charged engine delivers 115kW and has 240Nm of torque.

The car has a top speed of 214km/h and the 0-100 km/h sprint is reached in 7.3 seconds.

The powerplant is coupled to a six-speed manual transmission. The car brings the driver into “contact with the road” for amazing ease in corners and bends, but we found a bit of “scuttle shake” on the twisty bits.

This is no doubt brought about by the lack of a full metal roof which adds rigidity to the body shell.

Citroen claims this model has a fuel consumption of 5.8 litres/100km and has a CO2emissions figure of 5.8 g/100km.

A neat feature we liked was the three-dimensional light signature based on all-new 3D LED tail-light technology.

The central part of the light comprises a rectangular opaline set of 31 LEDs and an ensemble of semi-reflecting mirrors that reflect the light guide into infinity.

The 3D unit lights up at night when the headlights are turned on and in daylight when the driver brakes.

A 15-LED blade on the upper part of the light emphasises the 3D unit and serves as a side and stopping light.

In an elegant piece of detailing, the 3D light features a chrome-finished DS logo set in an embossed black DS setting.

Citroen are hoping to sell about 100 units a month and there’s no reason they won’t be able to meet this target – in summer!

VTi 82 Design – R219900;

VTi 120 Style Manual – R258900; and

THP 155 Sport Manual – R291900.

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