Friday 28th September 2012


PARIS 2012: PEUGEOT RCZ R AND 208 GTI

The other French hot hatch comeback and its coupe partner in crime...


Until his win in New York, Andy Murray was the Peugeot RCZ of tennis. Great player, but always up against even better ones like Nadal, Djoko and of course The Fedster.

In the world of sporting coupés, the equivalent of Federer is the Audi TT, a true icon and one of the most enduring cars in any sector. Few rivals have had the guts to challenge it, and none (RCZ included) have bested it - a shame really, because the RCZ is by no means a bad car.

RCZ now has the power to make good on the looks
RCZ now has the power to make good on the looks
By persevering, however, Murray eventually prevailed. Peugeot is clearly taking a similar view with the RCZ, judging by its Paris ‘concept’ RCZ R, which is pretty sure to graduate to reality sometime next year.

Will it have the game to dethrone the TT? Well, it will certainly have decent power, with 260bhp (60bhp more than today’s fastest RCZ) from Peugeot’s feisty little 1.6-litre THP turbo. There’ll be a new Torsen differential and revised suspension to put the power down, plus styling tweaks to show TT owners what they’re up against, including a new grille and headlamps (with DRLs), new body colours, and new wheel designs.

The Peugeot 208 GTI you can buy...
The Peugeot 208 GTI you can buy...
We’re unlikely to see the RCZ R until latter part of 2013. In the meantime, we’ve got the 208 GTI to look forward to. Here's another Peugeot that’s up against it, but this time from its own illustrious forebear, the 205 GTI.

The key spec points of the 208 GTI - 1,160kg, 200hp, 203lb ft, 0-62mph in under seven seconds, £18,995 – make for a decent-sounding package. That price will certainly make it look attractive against the Mk 7 Golf GTI that’ll also be out next year. You may say that the VW is in a class of its own, and it is quite literally in the class above the 208, but size is less important than sporting appeal in the hot hatch milieu, and even the mighty can fall – as Andy Murray’s opponents have found.

...as opposed to the one you dreamed of
...as opposed to the one you dreamed of
There’s another thing in the 208’s favour: the two Peugeot GTIs between it and the 205 were, frankly, toilet, so expectations are conveniently low. With Renaultsport also looking on slightly shaky ground with its next-gen Clio 4, could 2013 be Peugeot’s ‘Murray year’?

Author: Blackpuddin
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