Will men go for topless curves?
Peugeot eyes a macho market, writesMARKHINCHLIFFE
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.