Road Test: Citroen DS3 1.6 THP Racing 2dr Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October
First Drive

Road Test: Citroen DS3 1.6 THP Racing 2dr

£29,115 when new
Published: 01 May 2014


  • BHP


  • 0-62


  • CO2


  • Max Speed


  • Insurance


First, the good stuff. Just like the cooking DS3 cabrio, changing the roof from hard metal to flappy fabric has barely affected the body's rigidity because the side structures are largely untouched. Any strength that has been lost in the scalping process has been added back by jamming metal where the parcel shelf would normally be.

The whole conversion adds just 25kg - equivalent to one well-fed basset hound - so the tintopped DS3 Racing's performance hasn't been dented at all by the removal of the lid. Using the same 204bhp four-cylinder 1.6-litre engine, with the same remapped ECU, recalibrated injectors, uprated turbocharger, and the same sports exhaust system, it gets to 62mph from rest in 6.5 seconds, and on to a top speed of 146mph.

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Underneath, it is, unsurprisingly, the same. Wider 18-inch wheels bring the track out by 30mm front and back, it sits 15mm lower on stiffer springs, and it gets four-pot Brembo brakes. And all of these mods have been made under the same watchful eyes at the same in-house rally department, Citroen Racing.


And it's still the same to drive, with the same brilliantly progressive damping. Like a good rally car, the chassis really begins to breathe above 50mph, and it takes pretty much every variation of medium-sized bump or rut in its stride, the sort that'd trouble more focused stuff like a Clio RenaultSport. It's not completely impervious to potholes around town, though, and a slightly jittery low-speed ride will raise your blood pressure a bit.

There's so much extra spec here that it feels like much more of a long-range thing. As well as brilliantly comfortable seats, you get top-tier DSport trim as standard, which includes an eight-speaker stereo and, unlike the DS3 Racing hardtop, Citroen will chuck in satnav for free.

Which is just as well, because it'll cost you £29,305. Citroen is justifying this breathtakingly ambitious price hike (the standard 155bhp DSport Cabrio is £10,000 less) by only making 100, and bringing just 10 right-hand-drive models to the UK. But that means it headbutts into Golf GTI and (if you wait a few months) BMW 2-Series convertible territory. Which is utterly insane.

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