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Stunning coupe with feline litheness


Peugeot’s 308 RC-Z concept coupe will join its road car line-up as a production model.

The French car maker says it will take the wraps off the production version of the slinky show car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. It goes on sale in 2010.  When it commissioned the car concept, Peugeot challenged its designers to develop a vehicle that mixed driving pleasure with lightness, efficiency, and environment-friendliness. They came up with a two-plus-two coupe (an occasional four-seater) which uses aluminium extensively in its basic construction, a polycarbonate rear screen, and carbonfibre bodywork – all  in the search for lightness. Using the 308 hatchback as a blueprint meant the designers could use many existing components, simplifying the coupe’s production. At 4276mm, the coupe is the same length as the hatchback, but at 1840mm is 25mm wider, and stands a road-hugging 1320mm tall. The front end styling is based on the 308 hatch’s, and from the Lion badge, style lines flow upwards and back to join two polished aluminium rollover protections bars. The feline-look headlights extend along the line of the bonnet and contain four cylindrical lights. The lower front panel differs from the 308 hatchback’s, with a sharper, sportier shape with a single air intake and integral foglights. The grille features chrome detailing. In profile the car has prominent front fenders, deeply sculpted sides, and particularly large rear fenders, all enhanced by 19-inch alloy wheels. The rear window’s shape required using polycarbonate instead of glass; and the tailgate design helps air flow over the car’s rear bodywork which has been shaped to provide enough downforce to eliminate the need for a rear spoiler, preserving the purity of the vehicle’s lines. The Peugeot Lion badge is displayed in a U shaped panel in the centre of the tailgate, and is backlit at night. Two centrally mounted exhaust pipes are integrated into the wraparound lower rear panel. To achieve that, the rear muffler has been located transversely and also acts as an aerodynamic diffuser.

The rich metallic grey exterior body colour is created by a special process using finely milled metallic particles, intended to give the impression that the car has been formed from a single block of metal. In the cockpit, the fascia panel is trimmed in leather, and chrome, aluminium and black lacquered fittings are used in the cabin. The bucket front seats have polished aluminium eyelets, and the rear cabin’s two, leather-upholstered occasional seats can be folded. The 308 RC Z concept runs a 1.6 litre THP engine developed from the EP6DTS engine used in the 207, and designed and developed jointly by PSA Peugeot Citroen and BMW. The gearbox is a newly-developed six-speed manual. New engine management software specially developed for the concept car boosts power to 160kW; peak torque of 280Nm rises to 300 on overboost. A twin-scroll turbocharger optimally pairs the exhaust gases flowing from two cylinders to ensure maximum flow on to the turbine, and a high-pressure direct petrol injection system improves combustion and overall engine efficiency. The car has a 235kph top speed in sixth gear and will reach 100kph in seven seconds.
Peugeot says average fuel economy is consumption is 6.7 litres/100km. There are 360mm diameter ventilated front disc brakes with four-piston calipers. Polished split rim alloy wheels are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 245/40 R19 tyres. Safety kit includes Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), directional bi-Xenon headlights and the usual Peugeot range of airbags and passive safety features.

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