The Audi TT doesn’t really have any competition. Well, it does, sort of – the BMW Z4 is a competitor but it lacks the engine range of the TT, and the Peugeot RCZ has never offered as good a drive as the TT.
In other words, if you want a small coupe, you buy an Audi TT.
But what if you want a fast coupe that’s not a TTS or a real-wheel-drive Z4? What if you want hot hatch characteristics in a slender body?
That’s where the new Peugeot RCZ-R comes in.
The RCZ-R has the same basic 1.6-litre turbo engine as you will find in a 208 GTI, only for the RCZ-R, it has been tuned to produce a stunning 267 bhp and 243 lb /ft of torque. The result is profound – this car will accelerate from 0 – 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 155 mph.
So flexible is this engine, in fact, that it’ll go from 30 – 70 mph half a second quicker than an Astra VXR in fourth, because all of the 243 lb /ft of torque is available from 1,900 rpm. It’s the same through all the gears, in fact, and it’s only above 100 mph that the extra capacity of an Astra VXR begins to show.
Despite the briskness, the RCZ-R will return 44.8 miles per gallon on a combined cycle with a CO2 rating of just 145 g /km – this compares favourably to an Astra VXR, which will return just 34.9 miles per gallon with a CO2 rating of 189 g /km. It also returns better economy than a Golf R, Audi S3, Ford Focus ST, and Renault Megane RS. It is also just as easy to MOT Northampton (click here) or service.
So what are the downsides? Well, the interior of the RCZ-R is still not the nicest place to be, and the looks of the car are just like Marmite. But I like that because it blends in just as well as a TT.
Until you put your foot down.
Praise has to be given to Peugeot for squeezing so much power out of a 1.6-litre turbo engine – this thing will keep up with any 2.0-litre turbo hot hatch you can buy today, yet it’ll return better fuel economy. I also think that the RCZ-R will turn more heads than any hot hatch and because this RCZ is a very meaty beast in the flesh thanks to the big alloys, aggressive body kit, and fat arches, it’s likely to appeal to male drivers as much as women for the first time in RCZ history.
Overall, the RCZ-R is a very tempting proposition. Hot hatch buyers should take a long hard look at this car before signing any paperwork. The only sticking point of the RCZ-R is the price – at £32,000, it’s significantly more expensive than a Renault Megane RS, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Vauxhall Astra VXR, Audi TTS, and it’s even more expensive than an Audi S3.
Can you stomach paying that much for a Peugeot? If not, buy a used Peugeot from Bristol Street. Great deals can be had on used RCZ’s.