Will men go for top­less curves?

Peu­geot eyes a ma­cho mar­ket, writesMARKHINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

BY­RON Bay was an apt launch venue for the Peu­geot 308CC. You can just pic­ture the ve­hi­cle prom­e­nad­ing top­less through the trendy shop­ping scene or by the beach with gor­geous, tanned pas­sen­gers in their over­sized D&G sun­glasses and skimpy tops.

But Peu­geot Au­to­mo­biles Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Richard Grant in­sists the new 308-based coupe cabri­o­let has more ma­cho styling to at­tract male buy­ers aged over 40.

Sure, it fea­tures some bulging pan­els and sporty rear dif­fusers, but it re­tains the 308 grille and head­lights that have a more fem­i­nine look.

Yet it also fea­tures the same spir­ited en­gines and driv­ing dy­nam­ics of the 308 hatch and Tour­ing.

At 1587kg kerb weight, the turbo man­ual is 44kg heav­ier than the 307CC and 185kg heav­ier than the XSE turbo man­ual hatch.

How­ever, with a slightly lower sus­pen­sion set­ting and stiffer chas­sis it is ev­ery bit the driv­ing equal of its main ri­val, the VW Eos.

A big im­prove­ment is the amount of boot space, up 15 per cent on the 307CC, yet there is also a full-size spare un­der the cargo floor.

Rear passenger room is still very lim­ited, even though Peu­geot has paid more at­ten­tion to the +2 as­pect with rear air vents and con­toured seats.

It comes in five model vari­ants in CC and CC S trim with two ver­sions of the turbo petrol 1.6-litre en­gine and the two-litre HDi diesel.

Stan­dard in the CC mod­els are cruise con­trol, sta­bil­ity con­trol, rain­sens­ing wipers and rear park­ing sen­sors.

The CC S adds leather trim (a $2900 op­tion in the CC), elec­tric heated front seats, tyre-pres­sure mon­i­tors, 18-inch al­loys, front park­ing sen­sors, xenon head­lights with wash­ers, and Air­wave and wind­stop ($1200 op­tion in the CC).

The Air­wave is a heater that blows air on to the back of the neck of the front-seat passenger and driver.

The heat can be ad­justed to suit con­di­tions and the height of the oc­cu­pant — a nice touch you would ex­pect in more ex­pen­sive mod­els. It opens up the ve­hi­cle to be­ing driven top-down through the cooler months. How­ever, the heater fan is a lit­tle noisy be­ing so close to your head.

The wind­stop can be hid­den away in the boot and there it should stay be­cause it’s re­ally not needed to re­duce wind noise with the top down. It’s rather quiet for a con­vert­ible.

Peu­geot has done a lot of work on noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness to de­liver a car that is very quiet un­til it hits coarse-chip bi­tu­men and then the tyre noise and rear-wheel arch drum be­come in­tru­sive.

How­ever, even with the top down the diesel purrs rather than rat­tles.

An­other nice touch is that the pro­gram­mable re­mote key can also lock the tiny glove­box and cen­tre con­sole, mean­ing you can leave valu­ables be­hind even with the top down.

Peu­geot also has a five-star rat­ing for passenger pro­tec­tion in Euro NCAP with its in­clu­sion of six airbags, in­clud­ing twin side airbags in front, plus pop-up rollover pro­tec­tion in the rear head re­straints.

The steel fold­ing roof de­ploys in about 20 sec­onds us­ing five hy­draulic ac­tu­a­tors and can be raised or low­ered at speeds up to 12km/h.

Peu­geot Au­to­mo­biles Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager and di­rec­tor Ken Thomas be­lieves they will sell about 300 this year; 165 petrol and 135 diesel with 220 CC and 80 CC S.

He pre­dicts sales next year of 600 with 280 petrol and 320 diesel and about a third CC S.

Male or­der: Peu­geot says the 308CC will at­tract the male over-40s.

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