Peugeot makes more coupé-cabriolets than anyone else, and is by far the most successful manufacturer of the breed with a quarter of the European market. It has a long history in making them. This certainly heritage bodes well for the 308 CC. There were coupé-cabriolet Peugeots before the second world war, even; the 401, 601 and 602 Eclipse models pioneered the format in the 1930s. Advanced as they were, the Eclipses were expensive, low-volume models, however: the company’s post-war coupé-cabriolets have been built in far larger numbers.

However, the original year 2000 206 CC nearly didn’t happen at all. The company was concerned that this complicated, relatively high-cost small car would not sell in enough volume to turn a profit. Spurred on by the success of the 1996 Mercedes SLK though, which proved the readiness of the European market to buy retractable hardtop convertibles again, Peugeot took the risk – and was duly rewarded with the generous spoils so often earned by those first to a new market niche.

Not that the original 206 and 307 CC were flawless; patchy roof reliability, floppy bodies and compromised packaging undermined their functionality, but not enough to prevent them from gathering a following strong enough, even, to translate into particularly laudable secondhand values. 

Peugeot has since worked hard to purge the 207 CC of its predecessor’s shortcomings, and with some success. The question here is whether it has repeated the feat with the 308 CC, the larger C-segment convertible offered up against Renault’s Megane CC and VW’s Eos.

The 308 CC engine range kicks off with a normally aspirated 1.6-litre VTi petrol with 118bhp and a five-speed manual gearbox, and ranges upwards through 154- and 197bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol options, and includes a 110bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesel with automatic engine stop-start. The higher power 2.0-litre diesel produces 161bhp, and is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Top 5 Sports roadsters

  • The Boxster is the cheapest Porsche you can buy

    Porsche Boxster

    1
  • The BMW Z4 has more comfort and added practicality, but has it gone soft?

    BMW Z4

    2
  • Evolutionary looks shroud new underpinnings. Is it a good mix?

    Mercedes-Benz SLK

    3
  • Mazda MX-5
    Mazda's MX-5 has been established for decades as an affordable and enjoyable rear-drive convertible

    Mazda MX-5

    4
  • The 370Z has the pace, looks, kit, value and charm, so what’s the catch?

    Nissan 370Z

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Space and practicality has never been an issue for the Seat Leon ST, and thanks to a Cupra 280 engine it's now fast, too - but does it gel as a package?
  • First Drive
    24 April 2015
    Ariel's third model is the best yet - in fact, it's one of the best driving experiences we've ever had
  • Car review
    23 April 2015
    Mazda's Skyactiv tech revolution transforms its cheapest model
  • The new Espace is a seven seater and described by the company as a 'crossover'.
    First Drive
    23 April 2015
    Renault replaces its classic flagship MPV with a new take on the seven-seat utility vehicle, but it's not for sale in the UK
  • First Drive
    23 April 2015
    You won't find another premium, all-wheel-drive, seven-seat compact MPV like BMW's xDrive 2 Series Gran Tourer, but is there a reason for that?