Thursday, 2 August 2007

Peugeot 308 RC Z Concept

Based on the new Peugeot 308 – which itself is slated for appearance at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show 2007 – another Pug sports concept will take centre stage in the form of Peugeot 308 RC Z Concept Car.

The 308 RC Z Concept is a 2+2 Coupe with a lightweight body and chassis made largely of aluminium and carbon fibre components. With a length of 4.276 m (similar as the hatchback), a width of 1.840 m (25mm more than the hatchback) and a height of only 1.32 metre, the streamlined design ensures both improved performance and reduced fuel consumption, as well as reduced CO2 emissions.

Its stylish frontal visage is copied directly from the 308, but has been given a sharper and sportier lower panel incorporating the single air intake, chrome front grille and integral front fog lights.

Peugeot’s trademark “feline” headlamps extend along the line of the bonnet to house four cylindrical lights, clearly visible through the clear lenses. The curved shape of the roof panel and rear window assists the airflow over the rear of the vehicle, creating sufficient rear downforce to eliminate the need for a rear spoiler, thereby preserving the clean, uncluttered lines of the compact coupe.

Reminding us much of the Porsche Cayman S, two centrally mounted rear exhaust pipes are integrated into the wraparound rear bumper lower panel. To achieve this, the rear exhaust muffler is located in a transverse position where it also serves as an aerodynamic diffuser, yet still allows sufficient space for the storage of a spare wheel in the boot floor.

Painting the 308 RC Z Concept in rich metallic grey is by a special process using finely milled metallic particles. This gives the impression that the vehicle has been formed from a single block of metal, enhancing further the cohesiveness of the overall design.

Interior fascia panel has been taken directly from the 308 hatchback. The dashboard is leather stitched, with the use of chrome, aluminium and black lacquer detailing creating a sporty, upmarket feel and touch. With this in mind, a Bell&Ross clock has been placed in the centre of the fascia panel, between the two central air vents, its dials perfectly matching that of the instruments panel. It looks like designer watches are making its way into upmarket/sporty vehicles these days with Bentley being another prime example. Time to put Seiko (preferably with analog dials) timepieces into the GS300, Lexus!

Another exclusive feature is the bucket type front seats with polished aluminium eyelets detailing, the style of which is also reflected in the design of the inner door panels. The ergonomically designed driver’s seat ensures the driver is always planted firmly in control even around those snaking bends. At the rear there are two small folding leather seats. They look rather impractical, even for small children, with their small sizes mirroring the ones found in the new Audi TT.

Powering the 308 RC Z is a 1.6 litre THP turbo-charged petrol engine developed from the EP6DTS engine, similar to the one sitting in front of the 207GTi. However, power has been boosted to 218bhp, possibly with a higher boost (larger turbine) and reworked ECU mapping. Incidentally this powerplant is also shared with the all new Mini Cooper S since the turbo direct-injection engine development costs were borne by both BMW and PSA.

Maximum torque of 280Nm is achieved at low revs (no exact details out yet), while an overboost function can hike torque to 300Nm. In the Mini Cooper S, maximum torque is 240Nm with an overboost kick to 260Nm. All these manic power and torque are transferred via a speed manual gearbox to the front wheels!

The front suspension uses many aluminium components to help reduce weight and ensure exceptional road holding, excellent steering accuracy and better road feel. The rear suspension, developed from the hatchback, consists of a torsion-beam, two rear suspension arms and an integral anti-roll bar. It has been specially modified to take account of the wider vehicle track and tyres. For the record, the front and rear tracks have been increased by 59 mm compared to the hatchback.

Braking power is enhanced by larger (360 mm) diameter ventilated discs at the front with four piston callipers. Polished alloy 19’’ rims are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 245/40 R19 tyres all around.

While the exceptional road holding of the 308 RC Z forms the basis of its primary safety, it is supplemented by safety equipment borrowed from the 308 hatchback such as the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and the directional bi-xenon headlamps. Similarly, in terms of secondary safety, the 308 RC Z uses the same impact protection structures designed to deform in a controlled manner, maximising the absorption of impact forces.

For Wheels is guessing that the 308 RC Z will make it to production – minus some of the fancy elements and trims – to mount a challenge to the Audi TT 2.0 TFSI, giving us a possibly a more affordable yet still high performance coupe at that.

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