In 1988, Peugeot showed how it could legitimately take on Ferrari and Porsche with the 180mph, 680bhp Oxia concept
Matt Burt
10 December 2015

From some angles, it is possible to just glimpse elements of the road-going 405 Coupé in the Oxia, which was Peugeot’s star attraction at the 1988 Paris motor show.

Named after the part of Mars that lies at longitude and latitude zero, the Oxia was a fully engineered design study “that ought to give Ferrari and Porsche some food for thought”, according to John Simister, Autocar’s chief features writer at the time.

The Oxia was more than a static design study, though. All four wheels drove and steered, a twin-turbo V6 gave 680bhp and the body and chassis were crafted from carbonfibre and Kevlar.

The Oxia weighed 1377kg, with the complex transmission – featuring an epicyclic centre differential giving a torque split of 25% front, 75% rear and incorporating a Ferguson viscous coupling, plus electronically controlled limited-slip differentials front and rear – and steering accounting for a lot of that. Suspension was by double wishbones all round, with each of the gas-filled dampers surrounded by a pair of concentric coil springs.

Beneath its sleek skin, the Oxia was a fusion of Group B rally car and Group C sportscar racer. Its engine was a 2849cc V6 with two Garrett T3 turbochargers, derived from the WM-Peugeot Le Mans cars that were famed for hitting 250mph on the Mulsanne Straight, and the four-wheel drive system was a refined version of the Peugeot 205 T16’s. The car delivered its blistering 680bhp at 8200rpm and an equally impressive 535lb ft at 4500rpm.

“The two occupants sit well forward behind a steeply raked windscreen, the bottom edge of which, barely 2ft from the Oxia’s nose, incorporates two rows of photoelectric cells to power the air-con fan when the engine isn’t running,” said Simister. “It’s a logical solution: more sun means more power means a faster fan means more airflow. Very Group C, too, are the way the rear wheels sit so far back, and the plethora of scoops and louvres.”

Simister watched the car in action around the Belchamps test track. “At low revs it sounds a little like a Porsche 911 or maybe a 959,” he wrote. “First gear is long, as you would expect from a car which could well be capable of 200mph with the right gearing – Peugeot will say only that it can top 180mph – but the Oxia pulls away cleanly and disappears from view around the banking.

“When it reappears, the engine is grunting lustily, the giant stainless steel silencer curbing some volume but making little impression on the bass and treble.

“Oxia is chased by a 405 Mi-16 as it hoves back into view, so it can’t be going any faster than about 135mph. Its rear wing would still be flat, for it doesn’t reach its 3deg raised position until 155mph. Once raised, though, it stays there for a full minute after the Oxia’s speed falls below this point.”

Fast-changing parameters such as road speed, engine speed and boost pressure were monitored by conventional analogue gauges, with digital displays reserved for fuel level, engine temperatures and odometer.

A built-in personal computer, with a colour LCD screen, an alphanumeric keyboard and a floppy disc drive, controlled the air conditioning system. It also controlled navigation databases and route finders. A map then displayed the chosen route on the screen. Also included were a radio telephone and a Pioneer hi-fi system.

“This is a car Peugeot should seriously consider replicating. It says it won’t, and that’s a pity,” said Simister.

Previous Throwback Thursdays

4 March 1899 - Steam, electric or combustion engine? 

26 June 1906 - The first French Grand Prix

9 July 1907 - The beginning of Brooklands

14 February 1913 - 100 miles in one hour

8 April 1916 - Making post-war predictions

25 March 1922 - Caterpillar tracks are the future

4 July 1925 - Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower

28 September 1928 - Engine tech takes a great leap forwards

2 February 1934 - The ethics of skidding

6 July 1934 - A tour of Cowley

1 June 1935 - Introduction of the driving test

22 June 1945 - Driving through post-WW2 Europe

21 January 1949 - Tidier tails

25 August 1950 - The evolution of transmissions

27 April 1951 - Frankfurt hosts its first motor show

24 April 1959 - Aston Martin enters Formula 1

16 September 1960 - The beginning of MOT tests

28 October 1960 - Economy driving 1960s style

27 January 1961 - Ford Thunderbird road test

17 November 1961 - TVR Grantura road test

10 September 1965 - The birth of modern Audi

19 August 1966 - Four-wheel drive on test

6 May 1971 - Driving Ford's Supervan

12 June 1976 - Cars for under £100

10 July 1976 - Land's End to John O'Groats on one tank

8 October 1977 - Music on the move

13 May 1978 - Ferrari 512 BB road test

14 November 1979 - Mazda RX-7 road test

19 January 1980 - Talbot Horizon road test

13 February 1982 - 4x4s tested on the farm 

3 December 1983 - GM's Mini for the 1980s

17 April 1985 - Secrets of a lost British supercar

4 September 1985 - Ford's electronic test bed

15 August 1990 - Giugiaro's vision of a 1990s Jaguar

11 November 1992 - Green light for Jaguar's new E-Type

28 April 1993 - BL's unseen concepts

16 March 1994 - Bentley's Concept Java

25 September 1996 - Walkinshaw's one-off DB7 V12

16 April 1997 - When Bugatti bit the dust

11 October 2000 - BMW X5 Le Mans

4 April 2001 - 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds

25 July 2001 - 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette

9 November 1934 - What is a sports car?

Our Verdict

Peugeot RCZ

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

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Comments
4

10 December 2015
V6 twin Turbo. Well enough for Peugeot. They should 4 & 6 not jut 4. With model it good. Not like Volvo or Mazda.

10 December 2015
"ought to give Ferrari and Porsche some food for thought"

it is not that hard for any car company to build a cost-no-object one-off technology demonstrator and stuff it with the highest end components available.
Putting it to serial production and selling at a reasonable price is a different story.
Polestar used to brag how their highly tuned T6 S60 (marginally) beat an M5 on the track. That's very nice but an M5 is what, 80k and they spent something like 300 on the volvo.

10 December 2015
Amanitin wrote:

"ought to give Ferrari and Porsche some food for thought"

it is not that hard for any car company to build a cost-no-object one-off technology demonstrator and stuff it with the highest end components available.
Putting it to serial production and selling at a reasonable price is a different story.
Polestar used to brag how their highly tuned T6 S60 (marginally) beat an M5 on the track. That's very nice but an M5 is what, 80k and they spent something like 300 on the volvo.

What, do you think BMW only spent £80,000 on developing the M5? If Polestar were going to make 20,000 T6 S60s you think they would be £300,000 each? Yes of course one-offs cost a lot, but the price isn't why the Oxia wouldn't have caused Ferrari and Porsche food for thought. That's because they sell on the cachet of their history and their status as much as technology, and even a car equal to their models on merit would not be a serious threat to their sales if it were wearing a Peugeot badge.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

10 December 2015
Wow @ first glance thought this was the even-more-amazing Quasar!

That's very highly strung - more BHP-per-cyl than a Lancer Evo FQ400.

It is the only vehicle I have ever heard of that has a floppy drive. Wowsers.

@TheSaintmobile: sorry can't understand your post - can you rephrase.

Regards
-Davina-

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