The weight of brilliant Peugeots from the past has worn heavily on the shoulders of Peugeot’s executives during recent years. Its cars – from the company once famous for ‘the drive of your life’, you’ll remember – have lately struggled to offer the best drive you’ve had that day. And Peugeot has known it, meaning a great deal is expected of the RCZ.

It is a car that Peugeot acknowledges and hopes will mark a turning point: that from here on in, it will be making interesting cars that are entertaining to drive.

To a small extent, the tide has already turned. The 3008 and 5008 have both featured chassis dynamics that are a marked step-up from, say, the 207 and 307. It’s a trait that has continued with the new 508.

The RCZ, though, is meant to represent a marked progression again. Peugeot calls this the first of a new range of ‘special cars’ meant to add an edge of exclusiveness to a French marque better known for big-selling small cars.

This is the car, and the point in time, from which it would like us to judge its future product.

How significant does Peugeot think the RCZ is? Put it this way: in its history, it has until now never created a passenger car that doesn’t have a ‘0’ or two in the middle of its name.

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman

  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

  • Costliest car gets the deftest chassis to ever underpin a TT - the best reason yet to buy into Audi’s coupe.

    Audi TTS

  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R


First drives


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week