What is it?Fantastic looking new 2+2 coupe from Peugeot, launched in the UK for £20,450 with a 156bhp petrol engine under the bonnet. Technical highlights?The biggest technical highlight is undoubtedly the show-stopping double bubble roof. It really does look like a concept car that’s trying to find its way home from Geneva. It has the excellent BMW/PSA 1.6-litre turbo, although thanks to rather tall gearing it propels the RCZ to 62mph in a not terribly rapid 8.0 seconds. This entry-level model has the same McPherson type struts up front and torsion beam at the rear but it has slightly smaller diameter front hubs and lacks the lower bracing bar of the 197bhp version. What’s it like to drive?The RCZ’s chassis has an abundance of grip and the large 19in wheels fitted to our test car only exacerbated this. The result is that you can flow down a B-road road very quickly and serenely without ever troubling the ESP. The downside is that it isn’t overly involving. The steering has just enough weight but no real feel and when you really push the RCZ into a corner you find yourself making two stabs with the wheel (although it’s never quite clear why as the car always seems to sail round neatly).
Understeer appears not to be on the menu but neither does oversteer and although I have it on good authority that a wet track will produce nice lift-off oversteer, on the road there is simply grip and then more grip. We can understand why you’d want to complement the looks with big wheels, but from a driver’s perspective the 18 inch wheels would probably be more engaging. The engine is a punchy unit but it’s hobbled somewhat by uber-long gearing in the RCZ. Second gear is good for 70mph and third takes you to well over 100mph, which is slightly absurd but undoubtedly helps achieve the impressive fuel economy figure of 40.9mpg on the combined cycle. How does it compare?Priced at £20,450 with Sport trim and £22,750 with GT trim (which our car came equipped with) it is incredibly good value. The obvious car to compare it to is the Audi TT (although the TT is vastly more expensive, starting at £27,365) and the obvious criterion to compare the two on is style where the Peugeot wins hands down. The RCZ looks phenomenal where the TT now looks conservatively good. If you wanted a more engaging driver’s car for this sort of money you could either try a Mazda RX-8 or go down the hot hatch route and buy a Mini JCW. Anything else I need to know?The rear seats really are for occasional use only but they can be folded down, giving a very useful loadspace in the back.
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|Engine||1598cc, in-line 4-cyl, turbo|
|Max power||156bhp @ 5800rpm|
|Max torque||180lb ft @ 1400-4500rpm|