Standing outside a photographic studio in Paris, waiting for a new car to arrive, I could sense the excitement in the small group of people gathered around. I was excited too, as this car promises a lot, namely Peugeot’s return to proper sporting cars.
We were at a private shoot for the new RCZ, a sports coupe made from similar stuff as the Audi TT, and designed to add a dash of excitement to the firm’s rather sensible range.
Then it appeared, in black but covered in protective tape, moving quickly and disappearing under the closing garage door on the side of the studio, as if Indiana Jones himself was driving.
First impressions? It looks good, well proportioned and with a low, muscular stance. Inside the studio we pulled the tape off to reveal a car that looks almost identical to the concept that appeared in 2007.
One thing that struck me is how different the car looks from every angle. From the back (it’s most successful view) it is striking, Porsche-like and unusual. The front is perhaps too much like the 308, which suggests Peugeot shouldn’t have picked the huge 308 headlights to be one of just two features to carry over to the coupe (the door handles are the other). From the side it looks different again.
It’s a pretty thing, the RCZ – perhaps a little too pretty in my mind, although Peugeot projects 80 per cent of buyers will be men – and its thoughtful detailing makes the opposition look like they haven’t tried hard enough.
This car didn’t have the carbonfibre roof, but I was a little disappointed to hear that this option, which will cost over a thousand pounds, will just be a covering over the original steel roof, ironically adding weight rather than taking it away.
The inside is comfortable and impressively trimmed with leather on the dashboard. It may be that this is still a pre-production car, but I wasn’t so taken by the slightly cheap feeling dials and switches.
On the surface the RCZ ticks a lot of boxes. Good-looking, well-made and decent value.
So what does the RCZ drive like? Well, the RCZ’s suspension is bespoke to this model and tuned for spirited driving. Sadly, the three-point turn in the studio revealed absolutely nothing, so we'll have to wait for another day to find that out...
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