One thing is for certain – if manufacturers are going to tout their drop-tops in Blighty, they’re going to have to make sure the lids can be redeployed pretty quickly to cope with our unpredictable conditions.
At the push of a button on the ceiling console of the DS3 Cabrio’s well-laid-out cabin, the folding soft-top can be set to one of three positions – intermediate, horizontal and total. The roof can be operated at speeds of up to 75mph and takes 16sec to close from the fully open position. The Mini’s roof is quicker to lower, but you have to slow down to 20mph to do it. The 500C’s lid can be retracted up to 37mph.
If you try to retract the Citroën’s roof at speeds above 75mph, you get a polite warning on the infotainment screen telling you it’s not possible, but the fact you can operate the roof at motorway cruising speed is a big advantage.
With the car’s major structural pillars still in front and to the side of the driver, you never get the full ‘wind-in-your-hair’ sensation that you would in a classic cabrio, but there’s still plenty of potential to feel at one with the elements in the DS3 Cabrio.
When the roof is fully closed, noise insulation is very good. When the canvas top has been retracted, wind levels are acceptable at the sort of speeds you'll do around town and on coastal roads. Out on the motorway, however, there is a fair amount of wind noise swirling around the cabin. An air deflector net can be deployed to reduce buffeting in the cabin, although we found the effect to be negligible at motorway speeds.
As with the 500C, when the roof is fully open and the fabric top is neatly folded back on the car’s rear haunches, it is impossible to see out of the rear-view mirror, so it is just as well that parking sensors have been included as standard.
Still, you could always ask your rear passengers to guide you into a parking space, and the good news is that the DS3 Cabrio can accommodate one more rear passenger than its four-seat rivals.
The well-proven 1.6-litre engine (the same unit as in the equivalent Mini Convertible) is a delight. With just a touch of lag from the turbo, it packs plenty of smooth punch up through the gears without being an overly raucous handful.
The DS3 Cabrio is only 25kg heavier than the equivalent hatchback version, which represents a relatively small weight penalty for a cabriolet. As such, the 0-62mph is only one-tenth slower than its hard-topped brethren, at 7.4sec.
For the most part, the DS3 Cabrio rides comfortably, even on the 17in wheel rims fitted to our high-spec test car (16in are also available). The vague steering feels at odds with the car’s ambition of mild sportiness, although it has to be said that this car’s primary use is likely to be moderate-speed cruising along a sunny seafront rather than B-road thrashes, and it is only really on twisty roads that the lack of steering feedback is highlighted.