The Numbers

1598cc, 4cyl turbo, FWD, 115kW, 240Nm, 5.9L/100km, 0-100km/h in 7.4secs, 212km/h, 1231kg

The Topgear Verdict

Yes, you sort of feel like a little dog in Paris Hilton’s handbag, but it’s reasonably lithe, looks cool and with the roof down, even fun.

2013 Citroen DS3 Cabriolet

Hypnotism can cure a man’s addiction to smoking. It can also make him cluck like a chicken on acid. And, apparently, it can sell him a car.

According to the ever-inventive marketing people at Citroën, one of the reasons people will be attracted to its new DS3 Cabrio will be for its “hypnotic” qualities – and not because Citroën has fitted spiralling hubcaps to its wheels, or a swinging pendulum from the rear-vision mirror. It’s because, apparently, there’s a certain hypnotic quality about a Citroën that no other car has.

We’re not sure about that. But if we could, we’d hypnotise you into spending an extra $2000 if you were getting your own version of Citroën’s new DS3 Cabrio. We’ll explain why in a second.

First, though, how to make a DS3 into a cabrio: slice out the roof and replace with a bit of cloth that folds backwards into a clump on the rear windscreen, which itself folds down. The result is a very big, sunny hole where the roof once was.

Now, there are two versions of the DS3 Cabrio and we’ll begin by telling you not to buy the DStyle, the cheaper version, lest you want an angry Stig knocking on your front door (and you don’t want that). It handles as sprightly as the quicker, more expensive DSport. The engine, too, isn’t that bad. It’s just the cancerous cyst growing off the side of said engine, the one that has four gears and selects them automatically, but using logic like it’s possessed. In other words, its four-speed auto is disappointing, with gears too tall and spaced apart like they’ve had a family falling-out, smothering the naturally aspirated car’s 88kW and causing it allergic reactions whenever it encounters so much as a modestly inclined driveway. Instead, do this: spend the extra $2000, learn how to drive a manual, and get the turbo DSport.

It’s faster than the DStyle, yes, by an alarming three seconds to 100km/h, doing it in 7.4 seconds. Even more alarmingly, it uses nearly a litre less fuel per 100km than the non-turbo car.

It’s pretty fun to drive fast along a windy road, too, as we found while fanging through a rainforest near the Gold Coast. The DSport has the same 115kW, 1.6-litre engine as found in the Mini and other things, and it’s a little champion. Fed a hearty ladle of throttle, you’ll notice a bit of turbo lag, but once you’re riding its cute-but-angry crest of turbo urge, the DS3 rips along awesomely. And that’s where the roof starts to make a bit more sense, listening to the turbo whistle with the roof peeled back.

For the extra cash you also score 17s and sat-nav. The 17s don’t help the ride, which is firm, but bless the DS3 with a pleasing cornering ability and fast – if not amazing – steering.

The DSport is fun to drive. And you don’t need a pendulum swinging in front of your face to realise it’s worth the extra $2000.

Reviewed by: Dylan Campbell

Driven: September 12, 2013