Why this sexy Peu­geot purrs

Peu­geot’s sleek con­cept marks a new de­sign di­rec­tion, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THIS sleek four-door, fourseater con­cept is the first glimpse of Peu­geot’s new 608 lux­ury sedan. Af­ter the lack­lus­tre re­sponse by buy­ers to the 607 here and in some Euro­pean mar­kets, the French car­maker has rethought the de­sign di­rec­tion of the big sedan.

It will be un­veiled as the RC con­cept at the Paris Mo­tor Show in Oc­to­ber.

Peu­geot has such pres­tige Ger­mans as the Mercedes-Benz CLS in its sights.

The RC’s unique sell­ing point will be Peu­geot’s lat­est hy­brid fuel tech­nol­ogy.

Peu­geot Au­to­mo­biles Aus­tralia spokesman Mathew McAu­ley says the hy­brid pow­er­train is the di­rec­tion in which Peu­geot is go­ing.

McAu­ley says he also be­lieves there is room in the lo­cal line-up for a big lux­ury sedan de­spite the lack­lus­tre sales of the 607.

How­ever, he could not con­firm if Aus­tralia would get such a car.

‘‘We’ll have to wait and see,’’ he says.

Peu­geot has sold 293 607s here since 2001 and sales have never re­ally sparkled.

Last year 25 were sold and so far this year only 12 buy­ers have put a $73,500 3.0-litre V6 into their garages.

The RC con­cept is the work of Peu­geot’s new de­sign boss, Jerome Gallix.

It fol­lows a stream of RC show cars, in­clud­ing the RC Spade and RC Di­a­mond con­cepts from 2002, and the su­per-sleek rear-en­gined V12 turbo-diesel 908 RC that was un­veiled in 2006.

Like the pre­vi­ous RCs, the lat­est ver­sion has glam­orous looks but the hy­brid pow­er­train is a first for an RC con­cept.

Peu­geot de­scribes the con­cept as a work­ing lab­o­ra­tory that brings to­gether sev­eral stylis­tic, en­gi­neer­ing and tech­no­log­i­cal ideas in a sin­gle ve­hi­cle.

The car is de­signed to pro­vide a high level of ef­fi­ciency in per­for­mance and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

Peu­geot has not yet re­leased en­gine de­tails, but says the hy­brid pow­er­train de­vel­ops 233kW and emits only 109 g/km of CO2 when on the com­bined fuel cy­cle, or zero CO2 when used only in elec­tric mode.

Gallix has made the trade­mark Peu­geot grille and head­lights more ag­gres­sive in keep­ing with the car’s sleek pro­file.

When the 608 does go into pro­duc­tion it is widely ex­pected to be built off the same plat­form as the Citroen C5 and fea­ture a sim­i­lar lineup of tur­bod­iesel and petrol en­gines.

How­ever, there is spec­u­la­tion it could also use C6 un­der­pin­nings.

The 608 is ex­pected to be launched with a choice of 2.0 and 2.2-litre four-cylin­der HDi diesels. Flag­ship vari­ants will be avail­able with a 2.7-litre V6 oil-burner, an en­gine shared with Land Rover and Jaguar.

The car is ex­pected to go on sale in Europe late next year, the hy­brid pow­er­train later.

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