Peugeot is contemplating building an open-top version of the new RCZ, to broaden its assault on the Audi TT. The new coupe was unveiled at today's Frankfurt motor show.
The two-door RCZ is aimed squarely at the TT coupe, but the French firm is considering either a full convertible or a Porsche 911-style targa model to steal sales from the TT roadster, Autocar can reveal.
Peugeot has decided customers for the RCZ – predicted to be 80 per cent male – will be different to those for the convertible 308CC, and it recognises the market for a drop-top.
Marjorie Lhullier, RCZ production chief, said a convertible or targa version of the car has not been ruled out.
“If we could do a targa similar to the Porsche 911 with the RCZ double-bubble roof it would be fantastic,” she said.
The flagship RCZ will have a 200bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged engine closely related to that fitted to the Mini Cooper S. However, despite its larger size, the RCZ will weigh just 100kg more than the Mini at 1275kg, hitting 60mph in 7.6sec.
However, Peugeot has not ruled out a quicker version using a larger engine and is seriously considering also adding a 200bhp diesel-electric hybrid to the range.
“We are now studying the possibility of a hybrid,” added Lhullier.
Autocar has had access to the production version of the RCZ ahead of its unveiling at the Frankfurt motor show and can bring you more details about Peugeot’s return to its sporting roots.
Clever styling, which is true to the concept, gives the car an almost mid-engined, rear-drive look, helping to give considerable road presence.
The car, which shares just its headlights and door handles with the 308, looks best from the rear, with a low Porsche 911/Cayman-like appearance.
The active pop-up bonnet allows the bonnet to be 2cm lower than it normally would be and still pass pedestrian safety regulations.
Inside the quality is perhaps not quite at Audi TT levels, but the leather-covered dash is well executed and the seats, which are unique to the RCZ, again ape those found in Porsches.
The driving position is good and there is adequate room in the front, although space in the rear is seriously restricted in both head and legroom.
The rear spoiler pops up in two positions, moving at 85km/h (52mph) and 155km/h (96mph). The first, lower setting provides better fuel economy through improved aerodynamics. The second position is to improve stability at high speeds.
Lhullier says the car will have “good stability in corners, be easy to drive and extremely sporty”, echoing a return to focused Peugeot road cars.
There will be two trim levels for the UK, with standard equipment likely to include 18-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, cruise control and air conditioning, with prices expected to start at under £20,000.
The wheels are available in four different styles and four different hues, including matt black, while the RCZ comes in eight different body colours.
The roof arches will come in aluminium, a “champagne” colour, or black chrome.
The UK is expected to be the RCZ’s second largest market, and is likely to account for around 3000 of the projected 20,000 sales in the first year of sale from spring 2010.