Take a look at Peugeot’s new baby coupé! Auto Express has learned that the Lion is getting ready to roar into the small sports car market with this sensational 2+2, which boasts Ferrari style at an affordable price tag.
The newcomer will sit below the eagerly awaited 308 RC Z, which is due in the spring, and is part of a plan for the firm to place its sporting focus on coupés, following its decision to step out of the hot hatch arena. And this baby coupé is set to be an even bigger hit than the 205 GTi, going into battle with a head-turning line-up of forthcoming stylish-but-affordable models from Ford, Honda and MINI.
As you can see from our pictures – which give you the best idea of how the newcomer will look – it’s every bit as stunning as its RC Z bigger brother. What’s more, it marks a new design direction for Peugeot.
The front-engine, 2+2 layout creates a rakish bonnet and muscular rear haunches, while the swept back headlights and ‘double-bubble’ roof , which also appears on the futuristic BB1 concept, are both borrowed from the RC Z. But it’s the updated nose that will really get people talking.
Sources have revealed that Jean-Pierre Ploue, head of design at PSA Peugeot Citroen, has some radical styling ideas on the drawing board, and the dramatic one-piece front grille with a floating badge – much like the current crop of Ferraris – is a big part of it. Expect to see this new look, which takes over from the current split grille arrangement, introduced across the range over the coming years.
The new coupé sits on a front-wheel-drive platform from the next-generation Peugeot 207, which is due in 2011. It will be a more practical and driver-focused alternative to the coupé-cabrio variant, thanks to its larger rear seats and bigger boot. Expect a flagship model to boast the same 208bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine as the MINI JCW.
At the moment, Peugeot bosses are tight-lipped about the coupé, although a company spokesman told us: “We are looking at niche markets in which we are not currently represented.
“These will have sales volumes that allow us to make a profit. That’s where the RC Z and the 5008 people came from. We’ll certainly be replacing the 407 Coupé in time, and a new version is likely to be much more sporty.”
Small coupés are big news! You don’t need big engines and a huge price tag to have fun, which is why pint-sized sports cars are making a comeback.
Take a look at this rash of new talent being readied by major manufacturers. Sporty hybrids, roadsters and more traditional small coupés are all on their way, offering customers low running costs with the thrills of models higher up in the range.
* MINI Coupe
The exciting Coupé concept manages to blend styling cues from the past, present and future. And with a 208bhp engine from the JCW, the two-seater should be quick, too.
With that neat floating roof and a stunning but practical cabin that offers 250 litres of boot space, the Coupé is set to be a big hit when it arrives in 2011.
* Prius Coupe
Inspired by the much-missed MR2, Toyota’s new hybrid coupé ticks all the right boxes; 0-60mph in seven seconds, 60mpg and emissions below 100g/km thanks to a specially developed version of the Prius’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain.
Add in rear-wheel drive and a paddleshift gearbox, and it’s a recipe for a fun yet frugal experience.
* Honda CR-Z
It’s no stranger to hybrids, but this is the first time Honda has packed the technology into a desirable bodystyle. The CR-Z’s petrol-electric drivetrain features a 1.5-litre engine working with an electric motor to produce 130bhp and a top speed of 120mph.
Affordable, good looking and fast, the CR-Z is the sports car hybrid fans have been waiting for – and it arrives next summer.
* Nissan 200SX
Mazda’s MX-5 is squarely in Nissan’s sights, with this baby brother to the 370Z due in 2011.
The two-seater promises exhilarating pace from its 200bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine and is set to be a spiritual successor to the legendary 200SX – the definitive model for cheap rear-wheel-drive thrills, which left the line-up in 1998.
* Ford Puma
Production of the original Puma ended in 2001, and we’ve been crying out for a replacement ever since. With its superb handling and affordable price tag, it built a loyal fanbase.
Borrowing styling cues from the Fiesta and featuring powerful but frugal EcoBoost turbo engines, the new Puma should be ready to pounce by 2012.