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RCZ:

Check the previous reviews for the full shebang on the previous stories on the RCZ

The Peugeot RCZ starred in our story earlier in the year. We loved it. The looks, the quality the handling are all first class. We took the stunning 147 KW turbo Petrol for a trash last week. It was the last of the 3 RCZ’s yet to be experienced. In my mind there is no doubt it is the best RCZ yet. It has the same fabulously slick 6 manual as the Diesel but lots more poke.

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You’ve seen the pictures, you know what a brilliant job the designers did in getting the Concept Car (308 RCZ) to production. Their concept was so good it hardly needed anything doing to it after it appeared at the Frankfurt Motor show.

The interior is the same across the 3 models with the engine/transmission combos being the only difference. The only thing that I couldn’t figure out was the Audio system and Ipod interface. I’ve had this problem with other Peugeots too which I put down to driver error. But the Air cond was sinfully cold with Auto controls that actually seem to work.

Since we went into the car pretty thoroughly earlier in the year we’ll keep this story to the fabulous handling and the superb engine. It’s a fact these days that the smaller engines are getting to be more powerful with each new incarnation. It hardly seems possible that just 30 years ago you needed a gas guzzling V8 to get similar poke to the RCZ has now. Note the 5 litre V8 that drinks like a drag queen is still 37 KW short of the petite and sensual RCZ and its perky 1.6.. And the Lexus which has an engine the same size the old Holden has 3 times the power.

Engine

KW

   

Holden 2.8 straight 6

64

Holden 3.3 straight 6

66

Holden 4.2 V8

87 or 96

Holden5.0 V8

114

Peugeot 1.6 turbo 4 cyl

147

Lexus ISF 5.0 L V8

330 kw

What does this mean? It means the tiny little 1.6 4 cylinder turbo, jointly developed with BMW for Mini, BMW and Peugeot ,is a spectacularly good unit. Drop a couple of cogs and kick her in the guts and she takes off like a startled gazelle. As well as the stunning looks, a brilliant engine and a smooth 6sp gearbox, it’s got the handling to make150k sports car blush. Being front wheel drive, there is still the ubiquitous torque steer under hard acceleration. It doesn’t pull the steering wheel out of your hand at the traffic lights, but you certainly have to keep it in mind when you stick the boot in. On the subject of sticking the boot in, if there is one annoying habit, it’s that the 1.6 runs completely out of puff at a no-doubt-limited redline. It seems to happen at the least convenient time because if you are in the middle of accelerating hard, you shouldn’t be looking down at the dash to see what the needle is doing. You have to change up or back off, and we never back off. It sounds like it wants to spin much further round the dial and be happy about it.

I know by now you are bored rigid with me going on about Grand Pacific Drive. If you drove this road regularly you would love it too. So you have that sweet little power plant singing away merrily up front and a chassis with the wheels pushed as far as possible into the corners of the body. Yes that’s right, it screams and pleads to be thrown hard into bends and twists. All the while you think to yourself “go on. Do it. What are you a pussy? Are you a man or a mouse?” Each corner gives you just a little more of a nudge. It hints that there is still much much more to give and you want to take it all. It just doesn’t give up. I remember driving a Porsche once. It told you nothing about what it was doing so you pushed it further and further until it tried unexpectedly to kill you by making the tail go faster than the nose at the worst possible time. There is none of that here. There were one or two corners such as the famous 15KPH hairpin that demands respect but even that is no match for the RCZ.If you find yourself upon that corner with a little more rush than you would like, a quick dab of the excellent brakes and the car does the rest  Yes the ride is firm but if you want a soggy blancmange buy a Hyundai.

The quick corners mean things get a trifle busy with a flurry of hands and feet, but keep those revs up she makes you feel like the king of the road. Even a slightly flabby middle aged man feels like a teenager on his first drive. Everything feels shiny and new. She grips tenaciously with those big fat tyres smeared across those sexy-as-hell mags. The Auto on the 114KW petrol version is too mishy mashy for my liking but I wonder if Peugeot nicked Volvos direct shift automated manual would we not finish with the bestest car under 60k? Well ok not quite under 60k, but covet her. I want her in my garage on a more permanent basis. Although a lot of doh, a drive makes that amount seem a mere pittance. I would love to be able to shift the paddle with lightning fast change to the selected gear with no nasty toque-convert slippage and to be able to plant my foot mindlessly into the carpet and feel she is giving me everything I want. I’m willing to be my leftie on the fact that should a sports shift gearbox ever become available, Peugeot would steal sales from Audi and their rather silly looking TT and Porsche with its eye watering price tag. Stick it on our 147KW model and god only knows what she could do.

Sure she screams “Look at me,” and people do stop and glare.”What is it” the old folk ask excitedly. It’s my shiny new Peugeot” I reply with a slightly puffed up chest. She cradles you gently in her bosom tapping you discreetly on the shoulder when she thinks you’re about to do something stupid, but does it in a subtle way so as not to intrude on your day. She thinks getting on with doing her electronic thing while you drive your little heart out is just the thing to be doing on a fine spring day. When you’re finished, you can spend some time taking in the view, or by one of the beaches to recharge. Then perhaps lunch and a bevy at the Scarborough Hotel which clings precariously to the cliff top and a quick 110kph trip home.

There isn’t anything the 147KW RCZ doesn’t do well,  including making you look good.

Check the previous reviews for the full shebang on the previous stories on the RCZ