The Peugeot 308CC is a product from the masters of the coupe cabriolet, but is it their best effort yet?
What is it?
This is the Peugeot 308 CC – the latest model to join the ever-expanding 308 family. From launch the car will come with either a 2.0 diesel or a 147bhp 1.6 THP turbocharged petrol engine, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard in both the oil-burner and the 1.6 THP 150 model that we’re testing here. A six-speed auto is optional on the diesel, while a four-speed auto is available on the petrol.
What’s it like?
Peugeot describes this car as a ‘pleasure vehicle’ and it's not far wrong, for the 308 CC impresses as soon as you get in. The interior boasts plenty of high-class materials, with soft-touch plastics, a piano black centre console and chrome detailing making the cabin feel suitably special. Even the bulky but comfortable front seats can have in-built ‘head airbags’ (an industry first) and a Mercedes-style ‘air scarf’.
Just don’t expect the same levels of comfort in the back. Peugeot might claim that its 308 CC is a "genuine four-seater" but that’s only the case if the occupants are genuinely tiny. You’re unlikely to buy a CC if you regularly carry four adults, but the 308 is one to avoid even if you have older kids.
At least the boot offers decent lugging ability, with 266 litres available with the roof down and 465 litres on offer with it up; that's more than the class average, though the high boot lip and small boot opening would makes it less than practical for bulky items.
The driving experience majors on the same qualities as the cabin: comfort and class. Refinement feels more than one generation ahead of the 307 CC, with wind and engine noise nothing more than an unobtrusive hush at motorway speeds in coupe form. High-speed cruises aren’t uncomfortable with the roof down either, though the wind-in-the-hair experience becomes much more hair-in-the-face if you remove the cumbersome ‘wind stop’ device that can only be used if you haven’t got rear passengers.
Drive with intent on more challenging roads and the 1512kg kerb weight of the 308 CC becomes an issue, occasionally leaving the 147bhp engine out of its comfort zone and floundering too high or too low in the rev range. The long throw of the gearbox also detracts from the experience.
Still, that doesn’t stop this from being a capable CC. Ride quality is among the best in class, with scuttle shake noticeable only on adverse cambers or very severe disturbances in the road. Body control and suspension damping are equally well judged.
Should I buy one?
The 308 is not the cheapest CC, and the lack of real-life ability to carry four makes it even harder to justify. But it’s a pleasant experience behind the wheel and undoubtedly will be a decent car to own. If you’re taken by the looks and are after pleasure more than outright performance, you won’t be disappointed.