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Peugeot RC... Concept: first photos

Published: 20 August 2008

Peugeot today issues this first photo of the new RC… – a bizarrely named concept car for its big homecoming motor show at Paris in October 2008. The RC… (a working title, thankfully; the full name will be announced at Paris) is a hybrid four-seater concept car that is tipped to provide a look at the next-generation 407 due at the end of the decade.

What the hell is that RC… name about?!

The RC moniker is a badge used on the Continent for what we in the UK know as the GTI. A quick pronunciation of the RC initials will indicate why we don’t use it here… It’s also a throwback to the RC ‘Diamond’ and RC ‘Spade’ concepts unveiled in 2002, the 908 RC and of course the more recent 308 RCZ.

Peugeot calls it ‘the missing link’ between the 2002 concepts, so don’t be surprised if it’s unveiled on 2 October 2008 with another card-derived name. Our money would go on RC followed by a heart symbol (it loves the environment, geddit?).

The Peugeot RC… concept loves the environment?

So Peugeot tells us (yawn). This concept is hybrid powered and, although few details have been announced yet, we know it develops a maximum power output of 313bhp yet emits just 109g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle or zero emissions when running on EV mode.

Click ‘Next’ to read more about the Peugeot RC…. hybrid conceptPeugeot RC… concept: 313bhp and 109g/km? Sounds too good to be true…

It does rather, doesn’t it? With a sports car power output of more than 300bhp, it sounds as if the RC… concept will use a petrol-electric hybrid system – but that doesn’t tally with the extremely low emissions claim of 109g/km. Peugeot’s clever cats only burn off other emissions, not CO2, don’t forget, so it’s either developing some new technology or making pie-in-the-sky concept car claims.

Previously, Peugeot had committed to diesel-electric hybrid powertrains, but today the company admitted that the programme to launch the 308 diesel Hybrid had stalled. It was being funded by European governmental bodies and an official confirmed that they couldn’t get the costs to work.

‘Our strategy is now to launch a specialist hybrid car, not a volume model,’ he admitted. ‘And it might not be by 2010, as originally promised. We haven’t committed to a timescale, but it could be not long after 2010.’

What’s more, the company now admits it is pursuing petrol-electric hybrid systems as well as the diesels it had previously confirmed.

Sounds like a classic U-turn!

It does rather. But let’s not let the strategic thinking dilute the impact of the RC… concept. Sweep aside the silly name and focus on this model’s impact. Our sources in France suggest that this is a precursor to the next-gen 407, not the 607 as the photos suggest.

The 407 was launched in 2004 and has just been refreshed, pointing to a replacement in 2010 or soon after. The 607 will soldier on for a while longer, but the volume is in the 408 market, the company believes. So pay attention to that new grille, prominent rear badge and the surfacing that distinguish this concept car.

Click ‘Next’ to read more about the RC… concept
It looks pretty slick for a four-seater…

There are four doors lurking in that annoyingly dark teaser photography, too. We understand they are conventionally hinged and provide space for four to sit within the low-slung coupe stance. The RC… appears to suggest that the new 408 could develop the 407’s coupe-like silhouette even further – a sensible move considering the market’s move away from traditionally styled three-box volume saloons.

Perhaps we should leave the last words to Peugeot’s short, five-paragraph press release:

‘It’s a working laboratory of many future ideas and brings together numerous stylistic, engineering and technological ideas all in a single vehicle.
The RC… is also an accessible and versatile car, with four doors, four seats and highly innovative hybrid architecture.’

Let’s hope more detail is forthcoming at the Paris show in October 2008. Needless to say, CAR will bring you all the news from the show and in the run-up, so stay tuned…

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet