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Peugeot’s new RCZ (2009) – first official pictures

Tue, 14 Jul 2009

By Ben Whitworth

First Official Pictures

14 July 2009 14:47

Peugeot has pulled the wraps off its new RCZ coupé ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2009. Well, when we say wraps, we mean these shadowy silhouettes of the bubble-roofed coupe, along with a few moody shots of it sharing the frame with some hip model incapable of sorting out his tie and collar.

So Peugeot hopes. The RCZ is a surprise departure – for a start it’s the first Peugeot model to break with the company’s zero and double zero naming system. So Peugeot’s dealers should be prepared for plenty of arsey jokes and jibes.

It’s also a dead ringer for the RC-Z concept that Peugeot unveiled – again at the Frankfurt show – two years ago. Which is no bad thing. It may have more than a whiff of Audi TT about it, but despite the usual heavy-handed Pug motifs (slack-jawed grille, vast headlamps and overwrought bonnet) the RCZ is easily the best-looking Peugeot in years.

It retains many of the concept’s unusual features including that odd mid-waist kink, the double-bubble rear screen and roof, swooping silvered pillars and bulging wheelarches.

There’s a lot of 308 architecture, as you’d expect, so it’s the familiar front strut and torsion beam rear suspension, tweaked and fettled for greater agility and driver engagement. The front and rear tracks are wider for enhanced stability, and the electric-assist steering has been revised for more feedback and quicker response.

When we drove the RC-Z concept we were stuck by how production-ready it was – it even had windscreen wipers – and despite its lack of outright development, it felt sharper and more engaging than the current 308. Not that tricky a feat to achieve, agreed, but we’re hoping Peugeot’s engineers will give the RCZ’s dynamics the polish and poise its unique styling promises.

By Ben Whitworth