Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The Peugeot RCZ arrived Down Under in September 2010, remaining faithful to the show stopping concept car unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.

May 2013 marked the RCZ's midlife facelift, with its bespoke styling and a low and wide stance this premium looking coupe gets lots of heads turning for a second glance.

Matt black finished roof arches replace the old aluminium finish and give the RCZ a new more aggressive look. The shiny double bubble roof extends into a uniquely curved rear window.

The now standard 19-inch alloy wheels do a good job of filling out the wheel arches, while the xenon headlights and LED light signature give the RCZ a more sinister appearance. The new grille is accentuated by a lower air intake which is extended on each side by the LED lights, visible both day and night.
Not so good Not all of our testers we're so smitten by the Peugeot RCZ’s looks, questioning some of its angles, but with a wild design like this, it's hard to please everyone.

Underneath the show car like styling sits a platform shared with the rather less sporty Peugeot 308 hatch and 308 CC. However the coupe’s body sits 20mm lower than the 308, its rear wheel tracks are a significant 60mm wider and the centre of gravity is 40mm lower.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good A very stylish interior with top notch quality finishings. We like the dash finished material that looks like leather and features classy cross-stitched highlights (it’s actually Nabuck and will last far longer under the Australian sun than leather and the brushed aluminium highlights around the driver’s instruments and on the gear shifter and pedals complete the premium look. The centre console has a piano black surrounds, a retro analogue clock features at the top of the dash and the driver’s instruments have a carbon-look backing with white needles.

Sitting at the top of the dash is a colour screen that displays radio and sat nav controls, the screen can be electronically tilted for better vision or completely closed into the dash.

The steering wheel adjusts for both rake (up and down) and reach (in and out) and the big leather trimmed, electric adjustable front seats with integrated headrests are comfortable and supportive (thanks to decent side bolstering).
Not so good Overly fat A-pillars obstructs the view at a t-intersection and whilst the Peugeot RCZ is wide (1845mm) it hasn't translated into an overly spacious interior as up front shoulder room is only average. A bigger issue however is the minimal amount of space between the driver’s pedals. The tiny pedals are super close together, so big feet drivers beware!

Entry into the rear two seat bench isn't an easy task, once back there, there isn't much room to move. At least the seat-back folds flat and increases the 384 litre boot to a much more usable 760 litre cargo area.
Performance

Performance

Good Locally the RCZ is available with a choice of 3 turbocharged engines – 2 four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol offerings and a 2.0-litre diesel (that is made to order). If you team the petrol engine with the 6-speed manual gearbox the power on offer is a very healthy 147kW of power and 275Nm of torque, however, if you opt for the 6-speed automatic transmission the petrol RCZ makes do with only 115kW of power and 240Nm of torque.

The diesel is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission and produces 120kW of power and 340Nm of torque.

We really enjoyed our time in the 1.6-litre petrol manual. Considering the small engine displacement this is a surprisingly quick sports car. It doesn't have that pin-you-back into your seat power, but it feels nicely balanced.

The engine also feels refined, no easy task when extracting this much oomph from such a small motor, thanks to some high tech features that include a twin-scroll turbo for almost instant spooling, variable valve lift and inlet timing, as well as direct injection.

The 6-speed manual gearbox feels robust and the gear throws are short and precise. A neat touch is the resonator in the exhaust system that brings a tasty note to the RCZs cabin (147kW grade only).
Not so good The weakest engine of the three is the low output turbo petrol, unfortunately the only RCZ available with a self shifting gearbox. Peugeot Australia would have liked to offer the 147kW grade with the six-speed automatic transmission, however it isn’t offered in this configuration.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The RCZs chassis feels impressively stiff and no doubt contributes to the high levels of handling on offer. The 19-inch alloy wheels with low profile rubber also contribute to the Peugeot RCZs sharp handling. Push the RCZ hard into and out of corners, and it remains amazingly stable, yet entertaining, with poise that would embarrass a number of higher priced sports cars.

For the level of handling on offer, the ride is impressive and even on the big 19-inch alloys it stays remarkably composed over most road surfaces. The steering is direct and offers decent levels of feel, but it could be sharper.
Not so good The steering feels a touch lighter than ideal, over potholes and sharp bumps the damping struggles a little.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Peugeot Australia have adopted a one price fits all policy for the three powertrains on offer, which makes sense to us. Compared to its most direct competitor (the Audi TT) the RCZ is priced significantly less. Standard equipment levels are high across all three grades.

There is also Satellite Navigation and Assured Service Plan - no options and no option packs; just one fully equipped, well rounded luxury sports car.
Not so good No spare wheel is offered, not even a temporary space saver. Rather, owners must make do with a can of tyre goo.