Published on April 29th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Peugeot RCZ test drive
Peugeot has produced a coupe that certainly looks the part. Looking like a product destined to tackle the growing sports car segment it will surely hit squarely 1st at the Audi TT and then possibly even the Porsche Cayman. However at a very possible lower asking price than Audi’s sexy TT and of course Stuttgart’s Croc (Cayman), the RCZ will provide the same amount of visual pleasure and curbside attention but at a reduced drive excitement. We reckon it will be a runaway success for rich men looking to buy their other half’s a cut price supercar and for Malaysia’s growing corporate female tycoons looking for a sexy sports car that will not hurt the environment whilst looking like it should. Why? Because, this RCZ will arrive in Nasim showrooms with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine good for 200bhp.
Interior Features We put more than 253 kilometers on our first day test driving the RCZ and found ourselves little tired and body fatigue after the hard four-hour drive thanks to the excellent seats. Our RCZ came equipped with a premium JBL sound system with speakers to impress. Fit and finish is superb with a high quality feel all over the cabin.
A single cupholder behind the handbrake was to shallow to hold our bottle of water and the door sleeve was too smooth allowing out bottle to slide up and down. In terms of safety the RCZ has anti-lock disc brakes, DSC, EFBD, EBA, electronic stability control and dual front and side airbags. (Only the Porsche Cayman has more airbags.) The suspension is pleasingly well sorted out – aggressive but not too harsh. The boot is not designed for week long holiday for two and instead it is weekend getaway car for 2, as appears to be lacking in adult rear seat room.
The RCZ is a sensuous sports car, not a visceral one. It strokes you, responds to you. This isn’t really a super fast race car to challenge the Cayman or the TT as we only went from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, but I noticed that the RCZ only gave up to the crown by 2 seconds and did this with super car looks. As you drive it more and more along back sweeping bends and some quick turns you will start appreciating its chassis and balance which we reckon can accommodate much more power. The impressive acceleration and top end speed of 240km/h from a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine shows the flexibility of this shared engine technology. It’s a smooth sports car allowing you to return very decent fuel economy whilst producing almost supercar drive performance. The handling and brakes are typically Peugeot: almost flawless with inspiring confidence. It is not a racer’s sports car. But you can still race up to the brink of 90 km/h which deploys the rear spoiler (1st seen on the VW Corrado and recently with the Cayman), stand on the brakes and slam the gear two downshifts from fourth to second gear, and feel like race driver. You will not mesh those downshifts, because the gearbox, clutch, and heel-and-toe action is so smooth. No lurching, no snatching. The RCZ can make a great driver out of mediocre one.
The 1.6-liter engine makes a modest 200 horsepower (a lot for a 1.6 but not enough to challenge the TT and Cayman), but it’s good horsepower, ample as well as sweet. It’s definitely not slow, and it sounds surprisingly great, with a built-in back-pressure deep burble. It’s got variable valve timing to make the most of its 275Nm of torque, and redlines at a gentle 6500-6800 rpm, with horsepower peaking at 4500 rpm. It was clear after our drive that this car delivers in spades but can the importer deliver with after sales to ensure trouble free motoring with this high tech sports car that will get a lot of attention when it is launched in coming months.
WE believe that the RCZ designers were inspired by the classic lines of VW Karmann Ghia Coupe (pictured below)…….the question now is…will it inspire you to buy one?