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Peugeot 308 CC GT 2.0 HDi 140

Click to view picture gallery“Since Peugeot introduced their CC
  (coupe-cabriolet folding metal roof)
  models in 2000, they
ve produced
  over 650,000 CCs. David Miles tries
  out the latest 140bhp 308 CC

HAVING A FOLDING METAL ROOF, as opposed to a canvas roof convertible, offers the comfort of a proper and well insulated roof for your travels in winter. Yet when the sun shines, no matter what the season, press a button and the roof automatically opens and folds into the boot space in around 20 seconds; press the button again and the roof closes.

Peugeot already has the smaller but very successful 207 CC supermini-sized folding roof range but the larger and better proportioned 308 CC offers seating for up to four adults with a relatively spacious boot to match.

The range is priced from 19,995 up to 25,995 and comes with three 1.6-litre petrol engine options (120 and 150bhp versions with manual transmissions) and a 140bhp unit coupled with an automatic gearbox. The diesel line-up is a 1.6-litre HDi 110bhp engine with a manual gearbox and a new addition — a 2.0-litre unit with 140bhp, and this is available with either a manual or an automatic transmission.

The range offers three levels of trim and equipment — Sport, SE and GT — but not all specifications are available with all engine options. The probable best-selling option, and to me the most sensible purchase especially for retail customers, is the 1.6-litre THP turbocharged high-pressure 150bhp version with the SE trim priced at 21,795. That just gives it a pricing edge over the Volkswagen Eos and Audi A3 Cabriolet. The new 199 5-year/50,000-mile service plan is probably another very good reason to buy one.

However, more business user-chooser customers and some fleet company car motorists can now choose coupe-cabriolets because of the extra security the metal roof brings to the product. So the latest engine to be added to the range, the 2.0-litre HDi 140bhp unit, makes more financial sense if a higher annual mileage is covered.

The HDi 140bhp SE costs just 800 more than the 1.6-litre THP petrol but the Benefit in Kind tax is lower as is the Road Tax and Insurance Group rating, and of course the fuel economy is also better at an official 47.8mpg. My test drive easily returned better than that with an average 52.2mpg.

The main selling points for the 308 CC are better proportioned styling and balance over the old 307 CC, a much improved quality, higher comfort levels, a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating and the high specification. Peugeot says the 308 CC is better on the road with improved dynamics providing a more rewarding drive. True, it does, but the newcomer's added weight impacts on the performance and agility, making it more of a comfortable cruiser than a sporting model.

The 260lb ft of torque
makes the car very user-
friendly to drive at all
speeds and the engine
response is first rate
even at very
low engine speeds
The new 308 CC has a steeply raked windscreen and the broad A-pillars produce significant front quarter blind sports. At the rear the boot, which doubles up for luggage and roof storage, looks chunky and takes up a fair proportion of the car's overall length. But with the roof up and from the side, the 308 CC looks an elegant coupe.

The cabin has seating for four but the rear seats offer limited leg and headroom for adults. However, in all other respects the interior is a nice place to be and the quality looks and feels first class — but then I was driving the top spec GT version so I'd expect it to look good.

With the roof down and the Windstop in place, blustery wind intrusion is minimal so a normal conversation can be enjoyed. Note that with four people in the car the Windstop cannot be deployed. The driver and front passenger will also enjoy the new Airwave system which allows warm air to be channelled up to the front head restraints and onto the neck. In addition to the usual front airbags there are chest and pelvis side airbags and the world-first head airbag, so it's also a safe car. With full- or part-leather upholstery with high quality detailed stitching, the new 308 CC looks and feels a class act.

The body is stronger; torsional rigidity has been improved so when the roof is down the body-wobbles have more or less gone. The motorised two-part folding roof takes 20 seconds to open or close and can be operated at speeds up to 7.5mph.

The ride height has been lowered over that used for the now replaced 307 CC so the road holding is generally good although our poor UK roads still at times send shudders through the bodyshell despite the softer suspension set-up. All models have electronic stability control, alloy wheels, air conditioning and electrically-operated windows and door mirrors as standard.

The latest addition to the 308 CC range, the 140bhp version of the 2.0-litre HDi turbodiesel engine, has replaced the 136bhp unit fitted at launch. With increased power and torque, this unit is more refined and very responsive and flexible to drive. It really suits this car with its six-speed manual transmission and the auto option will also be on some people's shopping list.

The 260lb ft of torque makes the car very user-friendly to drive at all speeds and the engine response is first rate even at very low engine speeds, and it pulls right through the rev range. This characteristic also allows for minimum gear-changing as the plentiful torque allows the driver to adopt 'block' gear-changes when required. Top speed is 129mph and 0-62mph takes 11.1 seconds — not stunning but good enough for most people plus over 50mpg is easily achievable.

Reasons to buy include the much improved quality, a comfortable driving experience, high torque and fuel-frugal 2.0-litre diesel engine, safety features and the Airscarf neck heater system. Against? Just the limited rear headroom with the roof up and wide front pillars that hamper visibility. I still think most retail customers will go for the excellent 150bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine. However, even though the 2.0-litre 140bhp turbodiesel unit costs a bit more to buy you do save money in all other ways.
David Miles

Peugeot 308 CC GT 2.0 HDi 140
| 24,795
Maximum speed: 129mph | 0-62mph: 11.1 seconds | Overall test MPG: 52.2mpg
Power: 140bhp | Torque: 260lb ft | CO2 155g/km