The Peugeot 308 R could be the biggest hint yet that Peugeot is getting its mojo back. Carrying the RCZ concept’s styling into production was a good start, and the new 208 GTi is a pleasantly surprising hoot, but for bigger smiles you’ll want this: a 270bhp, carbonfibre-clad hot hatch that’ll give an Audi S3 a fright, and leave a Golf GTI in its tyre tracks. The catch? It’s just a concept car, for now…
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Did Peugeot run out of paint?
No, the two-tone red/black look is entirely deliberate – it’s inspired by the Onyx supercar concept. Fortunately, the mods go deeper than just a textured paint job.
Is it all RCZ R bits under the bonnet?
Yes, hence the 270bhp output from just a 1.6-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder. The front wheels only are tasked with applying 270 horses and 243lb ft, but are assisted by a torque-sensing front differential to limit wheelspin. The 44.1mpg and 169g/km economy figures of the RCZ R have been preserved too, says Peugeot.
Performance figures haven’t been announced, but note the mechanically identical RCZ R does 0-62mph in 5.9sec and is limited to 155mph flat out. The 308 R should be faster still, thanks to an exotic cocktail of new materials…
Has Peugeot come over all carbon-crazy?
How did you guess? Only the roof and bootlid panels of the 308 R are carried over from the new hatchback: the doors, front wings, bonnet and bumpers are all carbonfibre. The chassis is the same EMP2 aluminium platform as that of the regular 308, itself 140kg lighter than the old car.
What else is new?
The 308 R rides on bespoke 19in wheels wearing 235-section rubber, and is stopped by Alcon racing brakes measuring a meaty 380mm up front and gripped by four-piston calipers. The whole car sits 26mm lower to the ground than a showroom 308, and stands 30mm wider.
The bodykit comprises aggressive new air intakes, side skirts and rear bumper with larger exhausts and a bootlid spoiler. Slimline door mirrors are a new addition for the R too.
Sounds like a proper job then…
It does, though we suspect the reason for the depth of the makeover is that this is just a concept car. Though Peugeot insiders admit they’d love company execs to sign off a 308 hot hatch, badged either GTi or R, it won’t happen unless the bean-counters are absolutely convinced there’s a business case there. If (or more likely, when) Peugeot does produce a halo 308, you can bet it won’t get the extortionate carbonfibre bodywork of this show car.
>> Should Peugeot build a 308 R production car? Does the RCZ R coupe really need a practical hatchback sibling? Sound off in the comments below