Peugeot – the pioneer of folding hard tops – today unveils the new 308 CC. It's not a radical coupe cabriolet, but it's a gentle evolution of the 307 CC blueprint: a four-seater family hatch turned convertible.
The French company invented the first production opening metal roof back in the 1930s, after a few coachbuilders toyed with low-volume concepts, and then brought them to the mainstream with the 206 CC in 2001. The new 308 CC follows the same formula with a metal roof that somersaults into its loadbed in 20 seconds to leave a completely flat (if long) rear deck.Gobbling boot space as it goes?
Naturally, the boot shrinks when the roof is lowered, dipping from 465 litres to 266 when it's stowed. But then every folding hard-top car suffers the same problem.
The styling of the 308 CC is hardly a surprise, but there are one or two interesting design details. The rear lights are made up of LEDs and inside Peugeot has poached Mercedes' Airscarf system, with a new option called Airwave to warm front occupants' necks.
There is also the option of a fully leather lined interior (a first in the class, says Peugeot) and there are some clever touches to protect an open-top car: the central locking now bolts all the cubby holes automatically protecting your belongings if you leave the car parked with the roof down; and there are new chest and head airbags built into the front seats.So when will we see the new 308 CC?
It's making its show debut at the Paris motor show in October 2008, with UK sales slated for spring 2009. Expect prices from around £18,000 stretching up to £23,000. The usual array of 308 engines will be offered, including a new Euro 5 compliant 2.0-litre diesel mustering 140bhp.