Added: 27 July 2018
DS has unveiled its limited edition DS 3 Café Racer – a car designed with retro motorcycle design in mind. We were so intrigued by this unique hatch that we sent our resident petrol head Aidan Rennie-Jones out to drive it and see how different this car is compared with the standard DS 3.
WHAT IS IT?
The Café Racer is a limited edition DS 3 which has been designed as a luxurious hatchback. Having been created in collaboration with BMD Design, it takes a lot of inspiration from motorcycle companies, such as Shinya Kimura, which uses ‘Austere Sophistication’ as its inspiration. It especially takes inspiration from the Café Racer and Ace Café days - harking back to the motorbike culture of the 1960s.
The exterior features several large, handcrafted decals that are carefully made for each car, meaning that in many respects each version will be unique.
The car is also designed to have a touch of ‘rock’ mixed with luxury – not a bad combination. What you do get is a very sporty looking hatchback with the interior feel of a premium sector car. The quilted leather is a fantastic touch, not only adding style to the cabin but extreme comfort too. Pull down the armrest and you could even be in an armchair.
This is a very rare limited production car. Only 150 will be made for the UK market, so if you fancy having one parked on your drive, you had better be quick.
The Café Racer is available in four colours - Ink Blue, Perla Black, Platinum Grey and Ruby Red. Every car comes with a contrasting ‘Parthenon Cream’ coloured roof, again adding to that retro feel.
Head of Products and Development at DS Automobiles, Eric Apode said: “This deep fascination with the Café Racer movement, with the glamour of rock and roll and the alluring vehicles of the past, with the beauty of unique and personal objects, led us to create this rare and exclusive limited edition.
“It combines modernity, creative freedom and a homage to the glory of the past, with references to the heritage of car racing.” DS has created a perfect blend of sportiness and luxury. The retro decals add a unique flavour to the mix, with the quilted leather seats ensuring the interior feels sumptuous and refined. The cabin also feels like it cocoons you – hunkering you down inside it, adding to that sporty feel.
WHAT SPEC DOES IT HAVE?
Because this is a limited edition, there is a lot of kit as standard on the car that you might not necessarily have on other DS 3s. This includes the lovely quilted Nappa leather seats as mentioned, a Parthenon cream dashboard with decals, matching the roof, sat nav, climate control, electric folding mirrors and Bluetooth to name a few.
On the exterior, as well as the two-tone body, there are extra goodies such as LED daytime lights, LED Vision - Xenon headlamps, a sportier looking body kit to that of a standard DS 3, a reversing camera, 17-inch diamond-cut ‘Bellone’ alloy wheels and a plethora of hand-crafted decals on the bodywork to complement the glam feel that the Café Racer has.
The seven-inch touchscreen houses the sat nav system as well as phone connectivity thanks to Apple CarPlay or MirrorLink. It’s also very intuitive to use thanks to very easy touch screen sensitivity.
The thing that strikes you the most when looking at this car is the attention to detail. Even the centre caps of the alloy wheels match the roof and dashboard’s Parthenon Cream. Chrome detailing has been billeted around the number plate surround and even the gloss black door handles have some strips of chrome – it’s all about pleasing the eye, something this particular DS 3 does very well.
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
First, there’s the looks. Hand-painted decals all over the paintwork somehow add to the sporty nature when you drive. They might not physically make any difference to the feel of the car, but the sportness is somehow enhanced.
Inside, everything is plush. Luxurious materials mixed with comfort and chic styling – nothing is hum-drum about this cabin.
As soon as you start driving, the DS 3 feels accurate and precise. Click away at the gearbox and it feels smooth and dynamic. The engine is the star of the show, however.
Firstly, let’s talk about what lies beneath – the bonnet that is. It’s a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that goes like the clappers. This Café Racer adds several other goodies into the mix, however.
Turn up the boil and this little car sings into life with a high-pitched thrum. It’s as ace as it was the first time I drove a DS 3 several years ago – just as fun, still has cracking handling and now thanks to a recent facelift, looks better than ever.
On the move, it feels punchy. The one we have here is a 128bhp version, although the 109bhp model is also nippy. One thing that strikes you is how refined it feels. At no point on the motorway did I encounter any shuddering or jolting which can often happen in small hatchbacks. Instead, it grasped the road well and felt spritely.
As you drive along, everything is within easy reach of the driver – from the cruise control to the DAB radio – everything is intuitive. And the cream dashboard itself that houses the infotainment screen harks back to the painted dashboard of the original DS saloon from 1955, a quirky touch I love.
WHY SHOULD YOU BUY THIS ONE & HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There is one very clear reason to buy the Café Racer. If you enjoy standing out from the crowd and want a car that’s chic, retro and practical at the same time, then this could be the car for you.
From its bold exterior to the chic interior, the DS 3 Café Racer is a car that ticks all of the boxes.
Designed by Bruno Michaud of the Bordeaux based firm BMD Design, not only will this car be very rare, it has the same practical boot space of the standard DS 3 but adds that cool styling into the mix. It’s also a car we reckon will become rather sought after in the future, so the fact you and 149 others could be lucky owners is another bonus.
There are three powertrains available. Each is a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol but are available with two different power outputs 109bhp and 128bhp. There is the choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox, although the latter is not available with the more powerful specification.
The DS 3 Café Racer costs from £21,305 and rises to £22,825. Considering this is a very limited production car, that’s good value.
ENGINE: 1.2-LITRE THREE CYLINDER PETROL
TORQUE: 230 NM
MAX SPEED: 127 MPH
0-60MPH: 8.7 SECONDS
AVERAGE MPG: 62.8
EMISSIONS (G/KM): 105
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