From £20,364
Peugeot’s hottest RCZ has the power, and the chassis, of a distinguished performance coupe

Our Verdict

Peugeot RCZ
Has Peugeot created a cut-price TT or is the RCZ just a looker?

The RCZ is a classy, interesting, fun coupé that shows Peugeot has got its mojo back

  • First Drive

    Peugeot RCZ 1.6 THP 200

    Peugeot’s hottest RCZ has the power, and the chassis, of a distinguished performance coupe
  • First Drive

    Peugeot RCZ GT THP200

    Better to look at than its rivals - but not as much fun to drive as a TT or Scirocco

What is it?

It’s the RCZ 1.6 THP 200 – and it might very well be the hot Peugeot you’ve been waiting for. Literally.

For the last few months, deliveries of Peugeot’s RCZ coupe have been forging ahead full steam, but only to those prepared to be satisfied with the French manufacturer’s lesser versions – the 154bhp petrol- and 161bhp diesel-engined models.

Over the last couple of weeks, however, the very first official RCZ 200s have arrived in Britain. And, on the evidence of our first UK steer, they’re worth every moment of that wait.

See the test pics of the Peugeot RCZ 1.6 200

What’s it like?

Peugeot hasn’t done itself many favours with the marketing of this car. Its name suggests it’s simply an RCZ with a healthy extra portion of power, when in fact the 200 has significantly different chassis, tranmission, steering and braking systems than the rest of the RCZ range.

Unlike an RCZ THP 156, the RCZ 200 has 197bhp and 203lb ft to call upon. Unlike the lesser petrol, it has a bolstered MacPherson-style front suspension with a thicker anti-roll bar, that uses the bigger wheel hubs of the Peugeot 407 and Citroen C5.

Unlike the RCZ 156, it comes with a smaller steering wheel and a shorter gear lever as standard. It also gets a shorter-ratio six-speed manual ‘box and bigger front brake discs.

And those myriad little differences combine to make this RCZ a much more convincing and cohesive driver’s car. First of all, that extra power and shorter gearset makes it feel much quicker: night-and-day faster than a 156 petrol above 60mph, not least because 4th, 5th and 6th gears are that bit shorter.

It’s still not quite quick enough in a straight line to keep up with a VW Scirocco R or Megane 250, but at least the RCZ is now in the same league as those cars. Just.

And yet it’s not the added performance of this car that’s the real turn-up, but that overhauled chassis. It allows this RCZ to turn into corners with even more roll-free immediacy. With that smaller steering wheel, low silhouette and such a wide front track, this car darts at apexes with more abandon than most front-drivers.

That uprated chassis provides for better body control and much better wheel control too. Peugeot claims the 200’s spring and damper settings aren’t vastly different to those of the lesser RCZs, and yet it’s got much better vertical body control than our 156 at high speed, and rides with more fluency and better bump absorption.

Should I buy one?

If you’re sold on the RCZ, this this is without a shadow of doubt the model to have. Although it’s more tautly suspended, it rides and handles better than any other model in the range.

It’s also in the same VED tax band as the 154bhp petrol, and capable of returning better than 40mpg, is only marginally less economical.

So if you’ve been biding your time for the fastest RCZ, be safe in the knowledge that you’re also getting a car that seems much sweeter and better sorted than any of its rangemates; a car with real dynamic polish. It may not quite have the power of other sub-£30k options, but it’s every bit the real deal.

Peugeot RCZ Sport 1.6 THP 200

Price: £22,750; Top speed: 147mph; 0-62mph: 7.5sec; Economy: 40.9mpg; CO2: 159g/km; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged petrol; Power: 197bhp; Torque: 203lb ft; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Join the debate

Comments
44

20 August 2010

[quote Autocar]

Peugeot RCZ GT 1.6 THP 200

Price: £22,750; Top speed: 147mph; 0-62mph: 7.5sec; Economy: 40.9mpg; CO2: 159g/km; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged petrol; Power: 197bhp; Torque: 203lb ft; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

[/quote]

autocar the price is £25,050

......................

peugeot quotes different figures on it's own site which is bad from them. as well as above figures they quote 206lbft torque, and 146mph top speed. and 7.6 seconds 0-62mph.

............

in addition kerb weight is quoted as 1421kgs.

20 August 2010

for much better quality the VW scirocco with more power (208bhp) is only £23,615....

Mini JCW with 208bhp is £21,875

1750 tbi cloverleaf giulietta 232bhp undercuts the car at £24,495

which kind of puts this car a fish out of water.

20 August 2010

Surely this is meant to compete with the TT and not any of the above (though i know the autocar article mentioned them too)?

IT starts at £26.5k for similar performance, albeit it'll have better perceived quality too

20 August 2010

yes it should have at least 270-280 bhp, but still an ok effort from peugeot. better than all the garbage they had in there lineup since 2000'. The last good peugeot was the 106 gti/rallye, that ended in 2000-2001 as far as i recall.

20 August 2010

i would like one.

Anonymous

20 August 2010

[quote beachland2]autocar the price is £25,050 [/quote]

Apologies. But as you know from the main headline the car tested is the £22,750 Sport. The more luxurious GT is £25,050. They're both identical to drive though, obviously, the Sport looks better value next to the Scirocco etc. I'd still have the VW personally.

20 August 2010

[quote beachland2]

for much better quality the VW scirocco with more power (208bhp) is only £23,615....

Mini JCW with 208bhp is £21,875

1750 tbi cloverleaf giulietta 232bhp undercuts the car at £24,495

which kind of puts this car a fish out of water.

[/quote]

As per usual, sweeping statements from Beachland2 which need a bit more thought before writing them - then again, you know what you're doing don't you lol!

As you well know Beachland, this car is here to compete against 2 seaters, not family hatchbacks such as the Alfa!!

Ooh, a few more brake horsepower in the Scirocco - right that's a deal breaker then, I'd best go and get the Scirocco. Or, as you're clearly after as much horsepower for the money as possible - why not go down the Leon Cupra route which is running at 270bhp and isn't too expensive. Give me strength.

Anyway, I think this is a nice car Peugeot have made here and it's a refreshing change from what they've been churning out for the last 10 years. They've lost a lot of customers (me included) through their more recent models, but this is one that I would actually have.

And I know lots of people say get the TT......isn't that just a little boring? I'd rather have something different and this looks like good fun on a country road.

20 August 2010

[quote Chas Hallett] I'd still have the VW personally.
[/quote]

I wouldn't....... and unlike most of those who have commented on the Pug I've driven both. From a dynamic perspective the Scirocco may have the edge (a slight edge at that) but what use is that when I'll be doing most of my driving on the M8 and M9 rather than Knockhill. My own observations, having driven both, are that the Scirocco fails to provide the sense of occasion the Pug delivers. The interior of the Scirocco, whilst well made and well thought out, feels no more special than a Polo SEL whereas the RCZ is the sort of car your passenger will jump into for the first time and say "hey! this is nice". The second advantage the RCZ has is looks. I have never been in a car that has turned heads to such an extent. On my test drive I was shocked at how many cars on the motorway actually slowed down to let me overtake then overtook me back again to get a good look. Driving the Scirocco you are just in another car.

I wonder how many of forum members who have or who will post on this thread have actually sat in let alone driven an RCZ or Scirocco. If you haven't I'd say your opinions are of little worth.

I don't consider myself a great fan or friend of the Peugeot brand and in the past I've slated them for the extent they have gone astray since the 306 and 406 but this is the Peugeot that may get me back into my first French car since a fleet manager who wouldn't even let me choose a colour let alone a car stuck me in a 306 then a Citroen Xantia back when years began with a 19.

Anonymous

20 August 2010

@tannedbaldhead I agree with you about the RCZ's looks. I drove one to Le Mans this year and the reception it got was truly amazing. It also feels of considerably higher quality than recent Peugeots and is better to drive. I prefer the VW but I certainly wouldn't knock anyone for buying the RCZ because it's a good car.

20 August 2010

I bet the lesser versions will get the same chassis modifications too, which is why they're not talking up the differences.

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