This is the Peugeot RCZ, the company's statement of intent to return to its glory days of performance cars like the 205 GTI.
Peugeot’s new Audi TT challenger, which will cost from under £20k when it goes on sale next spring, looks almost indistinguishable from the concept unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show. It was launched in production form at the Frankfurt motor show today.
The sleek lines and bulging wheel arches recall the classic Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. The Zagato-style double-bubble roof stays and is available in carbonfibre as an option, lowering the centre of gravity and saving weight.
The front bodywork is unusual, with a short clamshell bonnet and an extra-large, wrap-around bumper/grille. At the back, a pop-up spoiler lifts into two different positions, depending on speed.
As part of a personalisation programme, the roof arches can be specified in either black, chrome or ‘satin’; 18in or 19in alloy wheels are available, too.
There are four powertrain options. The flagship model will use a 200bhp version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine from the Mini Cooper S. It can manage 0-62mph in 7.6sec and 50-75mph in fifth gear in 6.5sec, and go on to more than 140mph.
The motor’s maximum torque is 188lb ft at 1700rpm, but this rises to 203lb ft with overboost.Expect to pay around £25k (the same as a base 197bhp TT) for this top model, which gets a front anti-roll bar to tighten responses and improve agility.
“We want to re-establish our sporting credentials,” a Peugeot source told Autocar. “This is the return to a penchant for dynamic enjoyment.”
The RCZ’s basic structure is shared with ‘Platform 2’ cars such as the 308, but it gets a 20mm ride height reduction, a 40mm lower centre of gravity and wider front and rear tracks to deliver a sharper drive.
A 163bhp 2.0-litre HDi diesel will also be available, delivering 52.3mpg and 139g/km of CO2. All versions get a six-speed manual gearbox; a six-speed auto is offered, but only on the basic 156bhp 1.6-litre petrol model.