Performance, ride and handling

The hot RCZ’s 200bhp motor is actually based on the same PSA-BMW unit that powers the 156bhp model, albeit with some tweaks for it to make more power and torque than in other PSA applications. The turbocharged motor can also be found under the bonnets of the Mini Cooper S models, the Citroen DS3 and C5 as well as a long list of other Pug models including the recently launched 508 saloon. Making 200bhp and 275Nm, only the Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works’ similar motor is more highly tuned than the RCZ’s. Peugeot quotes 7.6 seconds for the 200’s 0-100km/h time, which makes it a significant 1.4 seconds quicker off the line than the 156 model. Top speed for the 200 is 235km/h, up significantly from the 156’s less flattering 212km/h.

On the road, the RCZ 200’s extra 44 horses over the base model are certainly evident as the 200 feels livelier and quicker than the latter. Admittedly, it is not as quick as rivals like the Audi TT or Volkswagen Scirocco Sport thanks to its motor’s lack of cubic centimetres and the RCZ’s heft. There is some slight turbo lag at low revs but mid-range and high-end performance is certainly punchy thanks to 275Nm (35Nm more than the auto model) of peak torque. Moreover, the forced aspirated motor delivers the goods with a purposeful roar that is missing in the 156 model. The 200bhp RCZ’s exhaust note is actually reminiscent of the Mini Cooper S John Cooper Work’s.

Keen drivers will find that the RCZ’s six-speed manual gearbox more engaging and more satisfying to drive than the automatic model. Moreover, the Pug’s gearbox action feels slick and positive enough and the throws between ratios rather short. The Pug’s clutch pedal is also well judged in its weighting and progressive in its action. There are also well-spaced gear ratios to exploit the engine’s turbocharged torque. But the RCZ’s foot pedals are less than ideally placed, especially in the way the pedals are angled, which actually makes engaging and disengaging the clutch pedal especially cumbersome.

Under the sexy bodywork, the RCZ’s running gear is based on a more run-of-the-mill model, the 308 but with significant tweaks for it to handle and go round corners better to match its pretty looks and image. The RCZ’s handling dynamics are pretty decent for a contemporary Peugeot model. The steering makes for a fine accurate tool, offering decent feel and feedback and is meatier in weight than in the 308 models.

The fairly sized RCZ doesn’t have the agility of the Audi TT when driven hard around a twisty road and it doesn’t even turn in into corners as sharp as a Scirocco. But the RCZ’s dynamics certainly feel different from more mundane Peugeot models like the 308 it is based on. The Pug is surprisingly adept in the corners. Body roll is well contained by the stiff suspension – the RCZ corners with a near neutral stance at moderate speeds thanks to the grip offered by a well set up chassis. Outright handling though, is not as lively as French performance models of old which means the RCZ feels planted no matter how hard you try to provoke it into lift off oversteer.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 1598cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 10.5:01:1
Bore x Stroke (77 x 85.8)mm
Power 200bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 275Nm @ 1700rpm
Power to Weight 149.7 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 7.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 235 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.5 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type Coupe
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4287 x 1845 x 1362) mm
Wheelbase 2596 mm
Kerb Weight 1336 kg
Boot Capacity 55 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs