A hybrid-electric Peugeot 308 R hot hatch will be launched to rival the Ford Focus RS, in the process becoming Peugeot's new halo model and taking a role previously occupied by the discontinued RCZ coupé.
Speaking to Autocar, new brand boss Jean-Philippe Imparato said he would “love to launch something even faster” than the 308 GTi hot hatch.
When asked whether there was room for a model above the 308 GTi, Imparato said there was. “There is space for something,” he added. “I don’t have a solution but I am on it.
“We are very involved in competition sport, like Dakar, and we don’t want to lose this space with our cars. I don’t think we will develop an RCZ replacement. On each level of our range — 308, 208 — we will have something impressive in performance. Do we work on a new RCZ or on the fact that the next 308 will be a beast?”
While a so-called 308 R could use a pure petrol engine, it’s most likely to use the powertrain seen in the 308 R Hybrid concept revealed at the Shanghai motor show last year. That car produced 493bhp and 538lb ft from its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, which consisted of the 266bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine from the 308 GTi (pictured below) mated to two electric motors. With its power sources combined, the car had a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec — 2.0sec quicker than the 308 GTi 270 and 0.7sec inside the time of a Ford Focus RS.
The concept also used a six-speed automated manual transmission, but whether this would carry over to a production model is unclear, with hot hatch buyers preferring manual gearboxes.