2011 Peugeot RCZ Review

By: David Berthon

Presented by

Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ
Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ Peugeot RCZ
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Celebrating two hundred years in business is pretty special, so it’s rather fitting that Peugeot has pulled a halo model out of the hat for the occasion.

2011 Peugeot RCZ Review
We drive Peugeot's RCZ

 

2011 Peugeot RCZ

Peugeot’s new sports halo               

The RCZ is a two-door sports coupe much in the ilk of the Audi TT, but with a very appealing "double-bubble" roof, striking ‘brushed’ aluminium roof arches and bulging haunches – a radical sportster with real presence and a much needed style icon for a brand that at times lacks excitement.

Built for Peugeot by the Austrian company Magna Steyr the RCZ is not just a pretty face however but a very competent performer.

 All three engines - two 1.6-litre turbo-petrols developed in conjunction with BMW and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel – share a common price of $54,990. Owners can further individualise their RCZ with three personalization packs and a host of accessories. With just 160 available this year and 400 in a full year it’s a very individual model.

The top-of the range 147kW turbo-petrol is a screamer and new to Peugeot with variable valve timing on inlet and exhaust and featuring BMW’s excellent Valvetronic variable valve lift. Mated to a slick six speed manual, this is the hard charger of the trio.

 The other turbo petrol unit pumps out 115kW mated to a six-speed auto with tiptronic manual function. Though still relatively torquey with 240Nm at a lowly 1400rpm, its performance is more muted and lacks the top end verve of the 147kW engine, making it better suited as a city slicker.The 2.0-litre 120kW turbo-diesel, disappointingly only available as a six-speed manual, also puts up a credible performance but lacks the aural delights of the petrol engines under higher revs.Peugeot call this "engine melody", a special development of the engines acoustics which delivers different harmonics according to the rate of acceleration. The effect leaves no doubt in the driver’s mind when he’s pushing hard and it gives this sports coupe real appeal.

Maximum torque of 275Nm (in the 147kW version) is developed from a low 1700 revs and despite being a front driver the RCZ displays no torque steer even under savage acceleration. On fast switch-back corners the electric power steering provides excellent feedback, however with a 64/36 front to rear weight bias the RCZ ultimately displays some understeer.

Sharing basic chassis underpinnings with the more conventional 308 hatch the RCZ’s sporting intent required substantial tweaks. A wider track (44mm front, 63mm rear) and a lower stance very stable, superbly controlled handling, though the ride borders on the hard side on a rough surface.

 Inside, the styling also takes some cues from the Audi TT with an ambience that’s sporty and welcoming with an excellent instrument pod, a nice choice of materials (leather adds $1500) and great front seats with the rears strictly for very small kids.

Ditch the kids, and with the rear seat back folded the RCZ offers enough room for a set of golf clubs and good luggage space for two people.

This really is a style icon for Peugeot and one that will lift the French company’s image much further than its overall sales figures will suggest.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Peugeot RCZ

 

Engine: 1598cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16V, turbo/1997cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo diesel

Power: 115kW @ 5,800rpm/147kW @ 5,500rpm/120kW @ 4000rpm

Torque: 240Nm @ 1,400rpm/275Nm @ 1,700rpm/340Nm @ 2,000rpm

Weight: 1372kg/1372kg/1445kg

Transmission: 6-speed auto/6-speed manual/6-speed auto

0-100km/h: 8.4sec (claimed)/7.5sec manual/8.2sec auto (claimed)

Top Speed: 212km/h (claimed)/240km/h (claimed)/220km/h (claimed)

Price: $54,990

 

 

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