Forget the 208 GTi: the Peugeot RCZ R is the Peugeot’s new performance flagship. The range-topping RCZ boasts a record-breaking 270bhp, and will hit 62mph in under 6sec. Peugeot expect UK models to cost over £30,000 when the RCZ R goes on sale here in the first quarter of 2014.
How does the Peugeot RCZ R develop so much power?
Peugeot claims the RCZ R’s engine is a new benchmark: no-one has ever squeezed 270bhp from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder road car before. The turbocharged engine is based on the motor used in the current RCZ THP200 (and Citroen and Mini models), but full of racing-derived hardware.
The pistons are forged from the same grade of aluminium as Formula One pistons, its conrods are strengthened and you get polymer-coated bearings exclusive to this car. The engine block itself is heat-treated to withstand higher stresses, while the RCZ R uses a twin-scroll turbocharger to deliver improved throttle response – the car offers maximum torque of 246lb ft from 1900rpm right through to 5500rpm.
Did Peugeot spend all their money on the engine and none on the chassis?
Fortunately not: the chassis has been overhauled too to deal with Porsche Cayman levels of poke. The front-wheel drive RCZ R uses a Torsen torque-sensing front differential to transfer power across the front axle and quell understeer, just like a Ford Focus RS.
Peugeot has also widened the RCZ’s track, dropped its ride height by 10mm, and fitted wider Goodyear tyres mounted on 19in alloys. Despite the heavy-duty components, Peugeot’s chopped 17kg from the car’s overall weight: at 1280kg, the RCZ R is a handy 130kg lighter than its key rival, the (all-wheel drive) Audi TTS.
What sets this £30k RCZ apart visually?
Aside from the spindly rims, there’s a fixed rear spoiler (it actually reduces lift, as rather than being a cosmetic frippery, says Peugeot) and painted brake calipers wearing ‘Peugeot Sport’ lettering. The hottest RCZ also gets ‘R’ badges front and rear, and new twin chromed exhausts.
And what about inside the cabin?
There’s a pair of body-hugging leather/Alcantara sports seats up front, red stitching throughout, and a polished gearknob pinched from the Peugeot 208 GTi. It’ll sound sportier inside too, thanks to a re-tuned exhaust system that draws engine induction noise from the intake and amplifies it into the cockpit.
What will the Peugeot RCZ R fight in the £30k+ hot coupe market?
Audi’s 268bhp TTS coupe, which starts at £35,905, and the front-wheel drive VW Scirocco R, which asks £31,735 in return for ‘just’ 261bhp. Renault’s less stylish but more practical Megane RS costs far less at £25,255 in Cup spec, but has a meaner standard spec and slightly less power, at 265bhp.
The RCZ R should be cheaper to run though – Peugeot claims its 1.6-litre engine can return up to 44.1mpg and coughs out only 145g/km of CO2. None of its French or German rivals can top 40mpg – but does that matter in a balls-out performance car?
>> Is the Peugeot RCZ R finally the hot Peugeot we’ve been waiting for? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below