The 308 CC replaces the 307, one of the first cars fetauring a solid retractable roof to the Focus class. Unfortunately, Peugeot's convertible arrangements for the 307 did little for its styling. This, and significant extra weight that fell well short of freeing the car of tremors and shakes, resulted in a cabriolet that was better in theory than reality, rather like the 206 CC.
But Peugeot has persevered with the concept – not least because it has sold an awful lot of these cars – and as with the 207 CC it has done much to overcome the shortcomings this time around. Not that the 308 CC is a lightweight, weighing 1480kg (at its lightest) to its predecessor’s 1528kg. But Peugeot claims the body is eight per cent more rigid.
The 308 CC is 3mm shorter of wheelbase than the 308 hatchback, but they share front-end crash structures. There are major differences elsewhere; the windscreen pillars are substantially strengthened, along with sills said to be capable of resisting a 12-tonne force. The windscreen frame provides rollover protection while the doors can withstand a 6.5-tonne force. Pop-up rollover bars protect rear-seat occupants. The front seats provide integral side and head ’bags, the latter a world first. The result is five NCAP occupant protection stars and 36 out of 37 points.
Peugeot has stuck with a two-piece roof design instead of the three-section assemblies employed by the Volkswagen Eos, which allow for a longer roof panel and less need for front and rear screens that extend into the roof to make up the difference. The advantage of Peugeot’s approach is less weight, less complexity and a bigger boot, roof down – but the flipside is a windscreen that extends rearwards to almost cover your head. It can also lead to ungainly styling, although the 308 CC suffers less here than its predecessor did.