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Cabriolets and roadsters were pretty much like Caviars to me. Yes, they are an acquired taste and a premium one at that. Unnecessarily pricey, in a smaller package (read: less value-for-money) and representing a lifestyle statement to the elite-strata of the society (locally at least). This breed of automobiles is also mostly unpractical in our tropical, equatorial heat and hardly blends well with our sticky, humid climate.
My perception of things (not of the rising crime rates in Malaysia though) has changed when I took home the VW Eos a few months ago. Strangely, I enjoyed drop-top motoring very much since then but I have ransacked my clinic's stock of sunblock more than a couple of times! Just for the record, anything with SPF 30+ or 35+ will do, no need to splurge extra cash on the heavy duty stuffs, unless you are into surfing off the coast of Port Dickson, Langkawi or Bagan Lalang for that matter.
Which brings us to this petite topless feline called the 207cc. I have always fancied the slanty eyed Pugs ever since the 206, 307, 407 et al. This trademark design gets carried over here with even sharper accentuation, paired with an even more gaping mouth diplaying a wide (friendly? or is it feisty?) grin. It's a happy Peugeot alright. The driver is mostly happy too with the tight feel of the car on the road. The 207cc simply felt very solidly bolted together, even with the top down. Decent road manners, great ride pliancy despite a short wheelbase, comfy seats and minimal rolling noise from those grippy premium Conti rubbers. However, the 207cc' Archilles heel has to be its drivetrain. Dont' get me wrong, it's responsive and ever trying to please. But with only 4 'auto' gears, mostly shifted into cog '2' manually, I was yearning for more grunt. Its lovely chassis - which was superbly Conti-esque stable at its triple digits Vmax - simply deserved more horses and torque. The turbocharged lump from the 308GT THP175 (and new New Mini Cooper S) would do nicely here, I reckoned.
Now comes the dicey part: overtaking in a 207cc. It's a daunting task really, waiting for ages for pace to built up and securely pass the car up front. With oncoming traffic on the opposite looking more menacing more often than it should, I guess this is indeed as a local Peugeot (and a close friend) guy puts it: " A lovely boulevardier of a coupe-cabriolet". MidValley Boulevard anyone? Bintang Walk? Heritage Row? Bangsar, Hartamas, Mont Kiara? Now I get it. Serious.