308 is ready to raise the roof

Peu­geot launches its latest weapon in the cabrio-con­vert­ible war, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News -

IN THE 1930s Peu­geot was one of the first car­mak­ers to pi­o­neer what has be­come widely known as the fold­ing metal roof. This early tech­nol­ogy ap­peared in a range of stylish Peu­geots such as the 301, 401, 601 and 402 Eclipse.

To­day it has been widely ap­plied to ev­ery­thing from the MercedesBenz SLK to the Fer­rari Cal­i­for­nia and other brands.

With the ad­vent of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, the new­est cabrio-con­vert­ibles, in­clud­ing the 207 and 307, flip and fold with the grace of a bal­le­rina and none of the bulk of the old de­signs.

Now a new 308 CC is around the cor­ner and Peu­geot Au­to­mo­biles Aus­tralia spokesman Mathew McAu­ley be­lieves it will in­ject some spice into the line-up.

Prices and spec­i­fi­ca­tions are yet to be con­firmed, but the 308 CC is tipped to cost about the same as the out­go­ing 307 CC, which starts at $47,490.

How­ever, since the cur­rent model was launched in 2004, the lux­ury cabrio-con­vert­ible mar­ket has been swamped with new­com­ers all vy­ing for a slice of this niche seg­ment.

Buy­ers now have a choice of the Holden As­tra TwinTop, Ford Fo­cus CC and Re­nault Me­gane CC, and the re­cent ar­rival of the Audi A3 cabrio and BMW 1 Se­ries cabrio, both soft­tops, has added even more choice.

‘‘When we launched the 307 CC it was a rel­a­tively un­clut­tered seg­ment and we were one of the first to have a four-seater with a fold­ing metal roof,’’ McAu­ley says. ‘‘It’s a very com­pet­i­tive seg­ment now.’’

At its peak, Peu­geot sold 737 307 CCs in 2004, its launch year. Last year 374 were sold and only 101 have found homes this year.

The 308 CC has the vis­ual cache to re­verse this down­ward trend. It shares some styling clues with the 308 hatch and, un­like its smaller ri­vals, has enough room for four adults.

The CC bor­rows the hatch’s high­per­for­mance 104kW 2.0-litre litre HDi four-cylin­der diesel, mated to a six-speed man­ual gear­box. An au­to­matic is ex­pected to be avail­able when it goes on sale.

The car shares the hatch’s wider front and rear track, larger di­am­e­ter disc brakes and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

The fold­ing metal roof takes about 20 sec­onds to re­tract into the boot.

With the roof up there is 465 litres of lug­gage room and with it down it can carry 266 litres.

The car has strong safety cre­den­tials. It has dual front airbags, dual side airbags that pro­tect the chest and pelvis and a sep­a­rate side head airbag built into the front seats, which en­sures ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion re­gard­less of the seat po­si­tion.

It also has ac­tive rear roll-over pro­tec­tion bars.

Like the 308 hatch, the CC de­liv­ers a low-slung stance and sporty profile. The car’s prom­i­nent shape and LED rear lights are de­signed to cre­ate a spe­cial styling sig­na­ture.

Inside, the front seats are deeply sculpted and sup­port­ive and have in­te­grated head­rests.

Like the Mercedes-Benz SLK, Peu­geot has de­vel­oped its own heat­ing sys­tem, called Air­wave, to di­rect warm air on to the necks of the front-seat oc­cu­pants.

Equip­ment lev­els are ex­pected to be higher in the new CC, with leather up­hol­stery, safety sys­tems and a high-end au­dio sys­tem.

There is au­to­matic re­mote-con­trol lock­ing for the glove­box and cen­tral arm­rest, elec­tric slid­ing front seats, dead­locks for the doors and LED cour­tesy lights in the door mir­rors.

The 308 CC de­buts at the Paris Mo­tor Show in Septem­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.