The DS brand is all about being different, and, by and large, the French automaker manages to stand out from the crowd.
Style is always part of DS, and now its popular DS 3 model has been given an extra injection of Gallic flair. How? Well, the name ‘Café Racer’ has been added to the moniker, making this version a limited edition.
It is possibly the coolest incarnation of the DS 3 ever. Why? Well, it aims to conjure up the Café Racer spirit of the 1960s. This scene was all about rock’n’ roll and hinged around the rebellious bikers of the time.
It was a culture that shaped art, music and fashion. Those lucky enough to have been immersed in it at the time will tell you it personified ‘youth’ and the feeling that anything was possible. This is what DS is aiming to evoke with the DS 3 Café Racer.
That said; any DS 3 is funky. Even as a basic supermini, it never fails to turn heads and is as entertaining to drive as it looks. The Café Racer has simply built on the ‘blank canvas’ by adding graphics that highlight the 1960’s and the DS marque.
The artwork is by Bruno Michaud, a French artist who’s renowned for his free-hand drawings. His expressive talent is mainly on the car’s distinctive cream-coloured roof, but the doors, boot and bonnet get a splash of Michaud’s handiwork, too.
The DS 3 Café Racer also boasts black 17-inch alloy wheels that have cream coloured centres to match the roof. External trim is painted in a sparkly black, while gloss black paint adorns the door mirror caps and door handles. What’s more, the car comes with tinted rear windows.
Behind the wheel, the DS 3 Café Racer is zippy enough to put a smile on your face. The engine bay houses a 1.2-litre petrol-propelled three-cylinder unit with a couple of power outputs to select from - 110 and 130PS. The car I was handed the keys to came with the 110PS powerplant mated to a manual, five-speed gearbox.
The ride is stiff, but that helps the DS stay flat in bends. What's more, the steering is responsive, and because the DS 3 is light, it is a very ‘chuckable' car. In simple terms, you can get away with throwing it around twisty tarmac in decent weather.
The 110PS engine enables the DS 3 to get from 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 118mph. The sweet-shifting gearbox and light clutch make it easy to crank up pace quickly. It also means the car is effortless to potter around town in. And because the DS 3 is a supermini, it is a cinch to park in the tightest of spots.
If you can get your hands on the DS 3 Café Racer, then go for it. If you can’t, you’ll still get all the fun but not necessarily all the frills. This limited-edition version brings Nappa leather to the seats and a cream-coloured dashboard. There’s also more kit than you can shake a stick at, including: Xenon headlights, automatic air conditioning, heated wing mirrors, a seven-inch touchscreen and satellite-navigation.
There are only 150 Café Racer DS3s in the UK, so if you can get your hands on one, you'll certainly stand out. If you can't, and you want a nippy, spicy little car, go and buy a ‘regular’ DS 3 anyway. You won't regret it.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
· Stylish √
· Fun √
· Handling √
· Kit √
· Stiff ride X
Fast Facts (DS 3 Café Racer – as tested by Tim Barnes-Clay)
· Max speed: 118mph
· 0-62 mph: 9.6 seconds
· Combined mpg: 65.7
· Engine layout: 1199cc 3-cylinder turbo petrol
· Max. power (PS): 110
· CO2: 100 g/km
· Price: £21,305
For more CarCliq reviews click here
Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay