Now, about this business of coupé-convertibles. Quite a number of manufacturers have devised medium-sized cars of this type which look rather attractive. Fewer have managed the same trick when the donor model is a small hatchback. The Peugeot 206 CC is rather pretty. The Nissan Micra C+C looks like nothing on earth. And the Mitsubishi Colt CZC . . . well, with that rounded front and that sticky-out tail, it wasn't long before I started calling it the Tadpole.
Or, to be more specific, the Flying Tadpole, 'cos what we have here is the CZC Turbo. It differs from its naturally-aspirated relative in having an extra 40bhp under the bonnet, heated seats, part-leather interior trim, Mitsubishi's Active Stability And Traction Control system, sports suspension, uprated brakes, 16" alloy wheels, a CAT1 alarm and more sportily-designed front bumper, exhaust and pedals.
The resulting package costs just a quid less than £16,000, which seems rather a lot. But coupé-convertibles are inevitably more expensive than the hatchbacks on which they're based, and in fact the Turbo costs exactly £2000 more than the standard CZC. For what you get on top of the basic specification, that's not a bad premium.
In his road test of the CZC, and in about a dozen conversations since we published the article, David Morgan scoffed at the Turbo's very existence, suggesting that there was no point to the thing at all. For the first few days of this test I was inclined to agree with him.
Who exactly, I wondered, would want the stylistic attributes of a coupé-convertible along with the performance of a hot hatch? These two aspects of the car seemed to be aimed at different types of customer entirely.
As philosophies go, I still think this one has some merit, but I must say I enjoyed the Turbo more than I thought I would. The engine is the same one also used in the CZT hatchback, which I didn't like much because I reckoned the brakes and suspension were struggling to keep up with the engine. In this case - perhaps because the CZC is presumably heavier - I thought the balance was better.
There's a little bit of shaking and rattling when you have the roof down, but not as much as in some rivals. Whatever the position of the roof, the CZC Turbo is really quite good fun on country roads, with decent handling through the bends and enough punch to fire you along the straights in a most pleasant manner.