Un­leash the Pug

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@news.com.au

THERE is some­thing very spe­cial about the new­est Peu­geot 308.

The classy com­pact has been given a hy­brid boost with a gi­ant twist, trans­form­ing it from a youth-ap­peal hatch­back into an all-out su­per­car re­vealed at the Shang­hai mo­tor show this week.

The petrol-elec­tric com­bi­na­tion de­liv­ers more than 370kW and a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.0 sec­onds, but with CO2 emis­sions of just 70g/km.

The 308 R HY­brid Con­cept is one of the new-age high­per­for­mance hy­brids tak­ing over ev­ery­where from For­mula One and sports car rac­ing to the top end of mo­tor­ing.

Mercedes-Benz is dom­i­nat­ing F1, Porsche is rac­ing Audi and Toy­ota at Le Mans. The LaFer­rari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 are prov­ing hy­brids are the new power in su­per­cars.

Peu­geot’s ef­fort is not as out­ra­geous as the oth­ers. What’s im­pres­sive is the scope for the pow­er­train devel­op­ment to be shared through the PSA Group — Peu­geot, Citroen and DS — in France.

“The high-per­for­mance hy­brid pow­er­train fit­ted to the 308 gives a glimpse of the po­ten­tial for ul­tra-sports mod­els in the fu­ture,” says Peu­geot Sport direc­tor Bruno Famin.

The com­pany’s mo­tor­sport di­vi­sion, which has run and won at Le Mans and in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship, was cho­sen to de­velop the car.

The start­ing point was a regular 308 hatch, which was quickly trans­formed with the petrol-elec­tric pow­er­train, all­wheel drive, and body­work stretched to give a big­ger foot­print for 19-inch al­loys and track-style Miche­lin tyres.

The tech­ni­cal tweak­ing also in­cludes car­bon-fi­bre pan­els, head-up in­stru­ment dis­play, ex­tra air in­takes and sub­tle aero ad­di­tions.

The 308 R is painted in the same vivid blue as the Quartz SUV con­cept for the Peu­geot’s Shang­hai dis­play — with flu­oro pig­ment and glass par­ti­cles.

The car’s plug-in hy­brid driv­e­train aug­ments a 1.6-litre turbo petrol en­gine with 85kW elec­tric mo­tors on each axle. The front elec­tric mo­tor is also linked to the car’s six-speed gear­box, ac­ti­vated by pad­dleshifters on the race-style wheel.

The Peu­geot Sport in­put en­dows three driv­ing modes — road, track and hot lap. Th­ese de­liver at least 220kW/400Nm, with max­i­mum out­puts of 370kW/730Nm.

Peu­geot Sport has no plans for a pro­duc­tion car but is pleased with its work.

“It is down to our pas­sion for a chal­lenge and our de­sire for ex­cel­lence. Peu­geot 308 R HY­brid is part of a very se­lect club ... reach­ing 0-100km/h in four sec­onds,” says pow­er­train chief Jean-Philippe De­laire.

But as Peu­geot ac­cel­er­ates its hy­brid devel­op­ment, there is still no plan for a petrol-elec­tric con­tender in Australia.

“There are a cou­ple of hy­brids avail­able in France, but we need to de­ter­mine if they are suit­able and if we have the right sup­port in Australia,” says Peu­geot’s Tyson Bowen. “So this car is more a demon­stra­tion of our po­ten­tial fu­ture driv­e­trains.”

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