That’s right – every 911 Cabriolet comes with a magnesium sandwich as standard. You won’t find it in the glovebox but in the roof. One of the reasons why it’s so easy to forget this is a convertible not a coupe is down to the design of the electric hood.
Design in a 911 Cabriolet has always been incredible but this latest model takes it to new levels. Sandwiched between the fabric components of the roof is a layer of magnesium, which forms a coupe-style hard top when it is in place.
The result is minimal road noise but just enough to let you and your passenger enjoy the rasp from the 3.4-litre engine behind you. It’s nothing short of remarkable – although I’d dread to think what it costs to replace!
God decided to make it rain for the last 48 hours in the south of England, so that roof is staying firmly in place. My only problem so far? Remembering the seventh gear in the manual gearbox. To be honest, if I was buying I’d opt for the auto -a round the town you need Fatima Whitbread‘s legs to work that heavy clutch pedal…
Did you know that sunroofs are a terribly British thing? You won’t find French, Italian or Spanish cars with glass roofs – it’s just us lot who need to make the most of what usually passes for summer in this country.
And every sunny days seems like the last at the moment. Today was something of a surprise, glorious weather that had me reaching to open the Forester’s quite enormous sunroof. It’s a whopper – a proper area of glass that even opens up.
While glass in the roof is good, I leave my dog Malin to decide how bright a car cabin is these days. He loathes a low roofline and whinges accordingly.
So, dog owners, I can report that if you want the ultimate ride for you mutt, the Forester has no equal. It’s the only estate car he is happy to jump into and the sunroof is just an added bonus.
Jeremy There are 180 good reasons why the roof on the DS3 Cabrio works so well but one word sums them all up – Webasto. The specialist convertible roof supplier has a history of making sliding soft-tops that dates back to 1901.
The DS3 roof is made up of 180 different parts in a co-build between Citroen and Webasto. It works brilliantly – even better than my 1969 MGB GT, which sported a fantastically simple but beautifully designed sliding Webasto sunroof too.
The DS3 Cabrio roof is operated by a one-touch button next to the rear-view mirror. It powers all the way back but does make the Citroen cabin very windy when fully retracted. There is a small wind deflector for back seat passengers but it works best when the roof is only folded back half-way – especially at high speeds.
Citroen has taken the DS3 roof design very seriously indeed, with a rigorous testing programme during the design stages. It’s certainly worked a lot better than the old Citroen C3 Pluriel. When that car was launched, a friend was awaiting delivery of a test car, only to receive a phone call saying the roof had blown off en route!
Trust me, that won’t happen with the DS3. It has one of the best folding roofs available for a car costing this sort of money.
Jeremy I think I’ve found out why the DS3 is such a nifty little mover – it’s all down to weight. Turning any car into a convertible means beefing up the structural integrity of the body, usually compromised by chopping off the roof. Then you have the extra weight of the roof folding mechanism itself to add to the equation.
So, far from being lighter, cabrios often tip the scales in the wrong direction. The DS3 is different. Like its Fiat 500C rival, the cars B and C-pillars (the metalwork around the windows) remains in place, keeping the structural rigidity intact. According to the Fiat press blurb, this means the Cabrio is only 25kg heavier than the hatch!
On the road, this translates into a convertible that feels exceptionally sharp turning into a corner, with none of the rattle and body shake associated with soft-tops in the past. Great fun for a car that is essentially a hatchback with the roof peeled off.
I have also finally managed the get the DAB radio working today! It’s obviously an aftermarket fit for UK customers, which makes operation less integrated than a lot of other cars. That said, it works, although as far as I can work out it does not flash the chosen station onto the screen, making station selection harder.
Jeremy – Ah, the English weather… One day it’s hot, the next day there are floods – what is a wind-in-the-hair motoring enthusiast to do? Well, you could do worse than take a test drive in the new DS3 Cabrio.
Unlike other convertibles with a hood rather than a folding metal roof, the Citroen is something of a halfway house. In fact, you have to look closely to spot that it is a convertible at all because the slick shape of the standard DS3 has hardly been changed to accommodate the fabric roof.
That also means that with the hood down, the side windows and frame are still in place, with the hood stacking up neatly where the rear parcel shelf used to be. Truthfully, it’s more of a giant sunroof but make no mistake – when it’s open, the DS3 feels every inch a convertible.
I’ve been playing with the buttons this afternoon and I’ve never experienced such a smooth running roof operation. It simply glides back with the minimum of fuss. What’s more, you don’t have to stop or slow down. The roof operates at speeds of up to 75mph, leaving folding hard-top owners left on the hard shoulder.
I haven’t tried it at speed yet but every car should have a unique selling point and this is one situation where the Citroen really scores.