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Paris show: Citroen lifts lid on DS3 Cabrio

Citroen DS3 goes after Fiat 500C with soft-centred roof, personalisation options


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31 Aug 2012

CITROEN has revealed an open-top version of the popular DS3 premium light hatchback ahead of its public world debut at the Paris motor show on September 27.

As Australian Citroen distributorship is about to change hands, the DS3 Cabrio’s likely importation following its early 2013 European launch is uncertain, but strong sales of the hatch – demand up 110 per cent to the end of July – bodes well.

In similar style to Fiat’s 500C, the DS3 Cabrio is not a full convertible and replaces only the centre section of the roof and rear windscreen with a retractable fabric covering.

The DS3’s three-position roof can provide a traditional front sunroof opening, gather the fabric in front of the rear spoiler and be further lowered along with the spoiler and rear windscreen.

A fabric roof has provided Citroen designers with a new canvas on which to add new personalisation options, including Infinite Blue, which contains special threads that react to changing light conditions and DS Monogramme, which as the name suggests, features a diamond pattern made up of the DS emblem.

Citroen claims the fabric roof provides comparable soundproofing to the hatch when closed, while the 25kg weight gain represents only a quarter of the average penalty for converting a hatch to a convertible.

Retaining the hatchback’s site portions has helped maintain its body rigidity and strength, helped by structural reinforcements around the boot area, and Citroen says this has enabled the DS3 Cabrio to be just as safe and agile as the hard-top.

The hard-top DS3’s convenience and performance is also said to have been retained, while offering the experience of open-top motoring – and the electrically-operated roof, which takes 16 seconds to fully close, can be operated at speeds of up to 120km/h.

With the roof open a mesh wind deflector rises from the top of the windscreen to prevent buffeting and the DS3 Cabrio is said to be just as aerodynamic as the hatch, aided by a longer spoiler and wind deflectors ahead of the front side windows.

New tail-light clusters feature 3D LED technology inspired by Citroen’s 2009 Revolte concept and related 2010 Survolt concepts, using 31 LEDs and special mirrors in the centre to create a three-dimensional lighting effect.

A strip of 15 LEDs along the top of each cluster provide eyebrow-like brake lights and are accented by an embedded chrome DS logo.

Six interior trim colours are available, including dashboard decoration, ventilation surrounds and gear shifter, which can be matched to the exterior paint finish and soft-top.

The ceiling-mounted console that houses the roof controls features white LED ambient lighting, with similar illumination for the instrument cluster and ventilation controls.

New upholstery options comprise Granit Blue leather and grey Mistral Akinen woven fabric and the soft-top roof lining is designed to provide a “high-end feel and outstanding acoustic comfort”.

Citroen claims the DS3 Cabrio offers the same interior space as the hatch, is the only five-seat convertible in its segment and has a class-leading 245 litres of boot space with the seats up, giving 40 litres away to the hatch while retaining the 60/40 split rear bench.

The tailgate, fitted with a chrome handle, has an innovative “circular” opening motion that is said to ease opening when parked in tight spaces.

No details of which engines will be offered on the DS3 have been announced but it is expected to come with the same 70kW/135Nm 1.4-litre and 115kW/240Nm 1.6-litre petrol engines sold in Australia plus the 1.6-litre turbo-diesel sold overseas in various states of tune.

Current Australian Citroen importer Ateco Automotive recently added appeal to the DS3 hatch by offering a two-tone sports leather interior at no extra cost on the DSport flagship and offering a $33,290 driveaway price for a limited time.

Citroen sold 147 DS3s in Australia to the end of July this year, making it the brand’s third best-seller here after the C4 small hatch and C5 mid-sizer.

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