Power to stir the pulse
With performance to match its racy looks, the RCZ-R is turning heads, CHRIS RILEY writes.
THE standard Peugeot RCZ is a head turner.
This one not only gets the looks but has the performance to match, with enough grunt to take the car into a new league.
The RCZ-R boxes way above its weight, with the kind of attraction normally reserved for super cars – and Alfa Romeos for some reason.
Priced from $68,990, Peugeot is offering just 30 examples of this firebrand here in Australia.
Standard equipment includes leather, satnav, front and rear parking sensors, sports leather trimmed steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, 19inch alloys and twin sports exhaust.
Wow. The sleek exterior is matched by the race-inspired cabin, which features red highlights to distinguish it from the standard car.
Trim is a mix of leather, carbon fibre and brushed metal finishes. An aluminium plaque between the seats is embossed with the Peugeot Sport signature.
A 208 GTi-style aluminium gear knob with red collars adorns the shift lever, with red stitching on the dashboard, gear lever cover, sports steering wheel, central armrest and the door armrest.
This is the most powerful version yet of the 1.6-litre four cylinder engine that not only powers the RCZ, but also Peugeot’s 208 GTi, the Citroen DS3 and, of course, the Mini.
The big difference is that this one puts out 199kW of power and 330Nm of torque, compared to Mini’s Grand Prix Edition that only manages 160kW and 280Nm.
How do they do it? The gofast guys at Peugeot Sport have rebuilt and reinforced the engine and added a larger twinscroll turbocharger, as well as forged Mahle aluminium pistons, stronger conrods and bearings combined with larger extractors and a unique twin exhaust system.
The result is a car that accelerates a full half second faster than the best Mini can muster, with the dash from 0100km/h taking just 5.9 seconds. You get all this with fuel consumption that is rated at just 6.3 litres/100km.
Five stars but it has only four airbags. The pedestrianfriendly bonnet pops up in an accident and it comes with electronic traction and stability control, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist, hill assist function, cruise control and speed limiter and speed sensitive power steering.
It sounds too good to be true but we were delighted to find it lived up to the promise.
The RCZ-R rides on 19-inch alloys, with 10mm lower suspension and shocks that were developed in-house just like the old days. The front end is 14 per cent stiffer, the rear 44 per cent stiffer and it has Alcon four-piston stoppers.
The six-speed manual box has been reinforced to handle the extra power, with gear ratios that have been designed to specifically to maximise the 0100km/h sprint and provide the best available mid-range acceleration times.
The RCZ-R makes all the right noises whether you’re on or off the throttle.
The main problem is getting all that grunt to ground through the front wheels, because the car remains front-wheel drive.
Most of the time it is not an issue, but trying to keep the car steady with one hand while changing gears with the other on anything but flat road requires some skill. A handy hill holder prevents the car rolling backwards in traffic while a torsen limited slip diff prevents the car from moving around under brakes and allows it to hold a tighter line through corners.
Where the RCZ-R comes into its own is punching from corner to corner, coming out fast and braking confidently.
We like. Looks good from most angles, especially the rear with its signature twin bubble roof. Bottom line is it’s fun to drive. Four stars out of five.