Monday, December 28, 2009

Peugeot 308 RC Z Coupe: French TT Spied Ahead of Frankfurt Show Debut

Remember Peugeot's funky-looking 308 RC Z concept from the 2007 Frankfurt motor show? Well, the French carmaker is putting the final touches to the production version of the Audi TT-rivaling 2+2 coupe that is slated to make its world premiere at this year's Frankfurt show in mid-September and will then go on sale throughout Europe in the spring of 2010. Our spy photographers have captured evidence that with the exception of a few details like the design of the rear apron, the production model's looks remain all but identical to the concept.

Much to our surprise, this also includes the 308 RC Z concept's double-bubble rear screen and roof panel, albeit less curvaliscious. Overall, and even though the RC Z retains some of the family traits of the Peugeot 308 range like the huge, sweptback headlights and the xtra-large front grille, the 2+2 coupe has a distinct character all of its own.

Sure some will find traces of the original Audi TT, maybe even of the 1990's Audi Avus Concept with its toned wheel arches and the forward-cabin design, but few will disagree that the 308 RC Z is one of the most interesting concept designs to pass into production.

As with the concept car, the 308 RC Z's fascia panel will be taken directly from the 308 hatchback, though expect to see a sportier trim with more chrome details and higher quality leather surfaces to create a more upmarket impression (the pictures of the interior are from the concept car).

Underneath the fancy-pansy metal and glass work, the RC Z is more or less a 308. However, changes are expected to include wider tracks and a reworked suspension and steering system as well as beefier brakes to further improve the coupe's handling.

The concept version of the RC Z was motivated by the BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroen co-developed, twin-scroll turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that cranked out 218 horsepower to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Derivatives of the same powerplant are found under the hood of various Peugeot, Citroen and of course, MINI models.

It is certain that the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot will make its way in the production version of the RC Z, where it will be offered with various outputs. Other options are said to include a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter gasoline engine with 120HP as well as a range of turbo diesels.

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