With the Renault Clio RS 200 having been through a character change worthy of a reformed junkie, the fast French front-drive set is definitely in need of a lift.

The good news is that the lift has arrived. And the fact that we’re getting it from Peugeot makes it doubly welcome.

The people who brought us the sublime Rallye-branded 306 and 106 almost two decades ago – and before that the 205 GTI, just to get the obligatory reference out of the way – have at last rediscovered some serious form.

Can the dreaded mediocrity of the noughties-era 207 GTI and 307 Feline be forgotten? Maybe. The RCZ R is here.

We already know it’s worth a bit of fanfare, as early tests on the Cote d’Azur and the Costa del Coventry demonstrated. But putting the car through the full road test workout should reveal the depth of its dynamic talent, the fullest scope of its performance and the true measure of its appeal as a proper driver’s car.

Peugeot's RCZ was originally introduced at the 2009 Frankfurt show. It entered the market at a time of regeneration for Peugeot and neatly symbolised the firm’s intention to put desirability and dynamic appeal back among its priorities.

The car’s ‘cut-price TT’ appeal was augmented in November 2012 when Peugeot announced that a high-performance RCZ would be built – and that car is now here, for us to put comprehensively through its paces.

We’ve got high hopes. Let’s hope, for the first time in a very long time where a hot Peugeot is involved, they’re not entirely misplaced.

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