DS 3 opens up to

perform

DS 3 Performance, front
DS 3 Cabrio Performance, rear
DS 3 Performance, alloy wheel
DS 3 Cabrio Performance, front seats

I RECENTLY had a short drive in the latest DS 3 Cabrio Performance, which the French premium marque claims is not a hot hatch but a luxury spec new range topper.

It certainly comes very well equipped and with 207bhp on tap in such a small body, it has performance enough to see off most warm hatches.

This versiion of the DS 3comes with a wider track than the cars lower down the pecking order and special sports suspension.

And owners have a huge range of ways to personalize their pride and joy, which seems to be the coming thing these days.

The standard spec includes ultra light alloy wheels, audio remote controls, cruise, split-fold rear seat, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera and traction control thanks to a Torsen differential - the type used by some Formula 1 teams.

It also comes with climate, alarm, sports front seats, heated and auto folding electric mirrors,big bore exhaust, top notch Brembo brakes and automatic xenon headlights and wipers.

Inside there are special instruments in a leather trimmed binnacle, leather covered steering wheel and gear lever and a special carbon fibre-look interior finish.

The electric fabric roof slides back at the touch of a switch to give a lovely wind-in-the-hair feel, and this is fine if you are not going too fast.

In this particular car, there was a terrible thrumming noise from the passing air at anything above 55 miles an hour.

That was when it was open about two thirds of the way. Take it right down and the thrumming disappears, but the roof completely blocks rearward vision from the interior mirror.

Lower order DS 3's handle and drive very well, and this one simply builds on that, with excellent grip and fantastic road holding.

And the big Brembo brakes - the same type are fitted to Ferraris and other supercars - hold everything in check with remarkable ease.

The performance is superb, hugely exhilarating and matching the sports suspension perfectly. There is a massive reserve of smooth power under the right foot whenever it's needed, giving tremendous acceleration in all six gears.

FAST FACTS

Price: £23,295

Mechanical: 207bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 143mph

0-62mph: 6.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 52

Insurance Group: 39

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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