Unashamedly in competition against the Audi TT, both in performance and looks; French automaker Peugeot has decided to build its 308 RC Z concept coupe in Europe beginning next year. The concept appeared at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show in September. European media are reporting the car will be built by Austrian company Magna.
Called the 308RC Z, the 2+2 coupe will share many of its mechanical underpinnings with the new 308 hatchbacks that begin reaching European dealerships in August. The regular 308 model was launched with positive reviews that included the “Golden Steering Wheel” award from the German publication Bild am Sonntag.
Powering the 308RC X is a high-output version of the twin-cam, direct-injection four-cylinder gas engine that was jointly developed with PSA and BMW. Co-developed by PSA Peugeot Citroën and BMW, this is the same engine found under the hood of the Mini Cooper S. The turbocharged 1.6-liter engine now makes 218 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque and is mated to a newly designed six-speed manual gearbox. Peugeot says the 308RC Z will sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than 7.0 seconds and will reach a top speed of 146 mph and still produces an impressive 35 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Other engine choices, presumably including a diesel, are expected to be available on the production model.
This balance of performance and efficiency is in part due to Peugeot keeping the weight low by using among other things, aluminum and carbon fiber in the concept’s structure, polycarbonate rear glass, and LED taillamps. The result in weight for the 308RC Z is a downright aneroxic 2645 pounds.
Inside, the cockpit is trimmed in leather, chrome, aluminum and black-lacquered plastic. Highlights include a precision Bell & Ross clock in the center stack and leather bucket seats trimmed with polished aluminum eyelets.
Roughly the size of an Audi TT, (and more than a little similar in terms of styling) Peugeot has taken the design cues of its 908RC show car, (shown at the 2006 Paris show) and transplanted them onto the dimensions of the 308. Though the finished design of the sporty two-door appears to be nearly ready for production, it is not clear if Peugeot would build the vehicle as a fixed-roof coupe or a coupe/convertible with retractable hardtop. Price for the 308RC Z will be roughly $35000 depending on the conversion rate, which is a non-factor since it will not be sold in the U.S.