At a recent Peugeot event I had the opportunity to test the new RCZ R, a dramatically uprated version of the company's sleek coupé.

I've always found the RCZ R quite appealing, but was never entirely sold on it due to its engine line-up. There's nothing wrong with offering economical engines that allow buyers to indulge in stylish motoring without having to pay through the nose for it. In my eyes, though, a range-topping halo model really needs to be available with a powerful, distinctive powerplant as well.

After all, would the relatively staid BMW 1-series be as highly regarded if there was no overtly tail-happy M135i? Possibly, but the fact the M135i exists lends the range a substantial chunk of credibility and makes it appeal to those who may not have otherwise considered one.

On paper, it looked like Peugeot had delivered the goods. Instead of a humdrum diesel or petrol, the RCZ R featured – among other tweaks – a heavily turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol that put out 266bhp and 243lb ft.

My initial impressions were eminently positive, with it offering up plenty of pace, agile handling and a surprisingly refined ride. The engine felt suitably vigorous too, with a strong mid-range and a pleasing exhaust note.