Quick Peek at Pug’s RCZ and it’s Shiny New Face: A Thrash At Sandown

Gaycarboys at 150kph (3)

Gay Car boys at 140KPH

A quick round filmed on a shaky Iphone with the wonderful Andrew Jones at the wheel of the Peugeot RCZ.

Gaycarboys at 150kph (2)

Gay Car Boys at 150KPH passing the pits

Jason Bright and Andrew Jones and RCZRCZ at Sandown Park (1)RCZ at Sandown Park (2)RCZ at Sandown Park (5)RCZ at Sandown Park (4)

Quick Peek at Pug’s RCZ and it’s Shiny New Face

They hit, they score!

What great day and what a great car. The sun rose, a gaggle of writers gathered like roaming fauna at a watering hole in a forgotten corner of the African savannah. They cackled excitedly as they renewed old friendships, and made new ones. After being watered and fed, the they moved to the tables set up in the garages where race cars and pit crews normally lived. The bosses at Peugeot Australia regaled us with their plans for the future and the place set aside for it’s boutique flagship coupe, the RCZ.

The Look:

The interior looks pretty much the same but I spied a new pop-up Satnav system which is now standard. The price of $58,990 is a drop of about 4k on the old car.

By far, the biggest changes are to the outside. The gaping mouth and droopy nose have been consigned to the dustbin to be replaced by a chic new face. The streamlined grill is very smart but the big news is the lighting. Xenons are now standard and tucked into the bumper are the 6 LED daytime running lights either side. The LEDs are concealed behind a black acrylic cover and come alive when the engine burbles into life.

While we’re talking about the exterior, what about those arches? Aren’t they sexy? Once they were chic brushed stainless steel but now look more menacing in matt and the brake callipers have been given the same makeover.

The Drive:

The gaggle split in two groups with half of us heading into the Dandenongs for a drive through pretty tree lined mountain roads. The trees have well and truly turned highlighting our journey with splashes of red and gold lighting the way to such places as Beaconsfield (not the one in Tassie) and Cockatoo. Not one of the cars made it through the course without getting lost, but we all found our way back to Sandown.

It was the rounds of the track that showed us what the RCZ could do. Imagine being thrown the keys to a shiny new sports car and being told to go as fast as you can around a real race track. I nearly dropped my gin and tonic!

The first round saw the 5 cars following V8 Supercar drivers Jason Bright (Brighty to his mate) and Andrew Jones stopping at selected corners so explanations could be had. The track looks daunting at 20kph so imagine that at 170kph. Then we donned our helmets (just in case) and set off. It is no wonder those boys sweat inside the V8 Supercars. The Pugs kept their refinement going by keeping the windows up and the air conditioning on. The video show Andrew Jones taking me for a spin around Sandown, Thanks Andy!

It only took half a lap to gain confidence and to get those tyres really singing. It’s worth noting the stability control was left very firmly on. It’s probably as well as many corners were challenging. The back straight was broken by some witches hats so we didn’t get to the corner at 180kph. I can only dread what disasters would have ensued otherwise. The front and back straights saw speeds of about 175kph.

Even taking corners on a track didn’t seem to unfaze the RCZ too much. No matter what you could not get her unglued despite many times when the understeer drifted me closely to the walls on one particular corner. Speed and corners showcase a tight chassis teamed with superb control built into the DNA (not mine, the RCZ’s).

The highlight for me was redlining the 1.6 turbo in 5th gear! The engine is protected from destroying itself by rev-limiting but this is incredibly annoying. How dare car makers want to protect your investment by stopping you from making your engine fly apart at the seams.

The only thing which disappointed me about the RCZ facelift was the wretched control stalks which still wave like fields of corn behind the steering wheel. It’s official, they can get in the way when things get busy in the cabin.

It highlights the need for more power and the “R” will be here in due course but you’ll have to be quick because it looks like OZ will be getting a mere 20 of them. The power is rumoured to be between 184kw and 200kw. Would I like to get that on a track? If you need to ask that then should check your pulse!

It’s now the next day, and I’m sore!

Summary:

A fab day, a fab car with a reduced price and increased value with up-spec’d equipment. At first the ride seems firm but you get used to it. On the track, the ride is perfect.

For me, the question is this: Would I buy an RCZ over an 86 from Toyota despite the vastly superior interior of the RCZ? Make of that what you will.

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