RCZ GT THP 200 2+2 Coupe
ingredients are all there in the
stunning-to-look-at Peugeot RCZ
Coupe: the looks, the latest
turbocharged powerplant plus a
great crafted interior. But is all of
TO GET THE HEAD-TURNING LOOKS you don't have to pay top dollar
£25,595 for the new 200bhp manual-only RCZ: there's a less
powerful 1.6 petrol engined version with 156bhp and a choice of either a manual
or auto transmission; or a 2.0 HDi turbodiesel with 163bhp hitched up
to a manual 'box.
Whichever RCZ you choose, it will look superb: that unique double-bubble roof;
distinctive aluminium roof arches; and the active rear spoiler. Most will want
the latest 200bhp direct injection petrol turbo engine. Just added to the RCZ
line-up, it provides fantastic low down torque (202lb ft from just 1,700rpm),
a top speed of 147mph and 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. What isn't there to like
about this car?
apart from the limited headroom and getting through the doorframe for us six-footers,
it's called a 2+2 but the rear legroom is so minimal and the headroom
limited for adults that the space is better suited for luggage. My real gripe
with this car, however, is that it doesn't truly fulfil its 'joy of ownership'
potential not even with this latest 'hot' engine.
added to the RCZ
line-up is the latest
200bhp direct injection
turbocharged engine that
provides fantastic low
down torque, a 147mph
top speed and zero to
62mph in 7.5 seconds...
The RCZ's main competitor is the Audi TT so it should be only right that Peugeot
would do more with their brilliantly styled coupe in the way of thrilling handling
and a compliant ride. Once the gloss has faded from owning such a good-looking
car, day-to-day living with a 'skateboard on cobblestones' soon gives the driver
a dose of reality.
With adjoining styling centres in Paris, PSA Peugeot-Citroen can produce exciting
and fulfilling models such as the Peugeot 3008 crossover (my car of the year
in 2009) and the Citroen DS3, their sporting hatch and my car of the year for
2010. But I'm not convinced the RCZ delivers the rewarding ownership potential
Not that there seems to be any shortage of would-be owners; Peugeot has full
order books and there's a healthy demand for good used RCZs. Over 2,000 units
have been sold in 2010 more than the original expectation and
there is currently a three-month waiting list for a new RCZ.
Added allure to the line-up comes in the guise of the hotly-anticipated THP
200 version, fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. The front suspension has
larger brakes and hubs with a strengthened lower bracing bar to enhance the
handling and sure-footed ride. THP 200 models are also equipped with the Sports
Kit as standard; this includes a small diameter steering wheel and a short,
quick-throw gear lever.
is high even for the standard Sport version: 18-inch alloy wheels, sports front
seats, folding rear bench seat, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, rear parking
aids, alarm, central locking, electronic stability programme and traction control,
power front windows and door mirrors, active rear spoiler and twin exhaust pipes
are just some of the items.
versions gain leather upholstery, electrically-adjustable and heated front seats,
front parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers and 19-inch alloys
which could be part of the problem with the ride.
ratio gearbox, with its
short throw lever,
is a delight to use and
enhances the sporting
The interior is of the highest quality with a classic sports car layout although
the numerous switches and controls do take some getting used to. The control
stalks are hidden behind the chunky steering wheel and that again is a disappointing
oversight in a coupe of this potential.
The superb 1,598cc turbocharged petrol engine comes from the PSA-BMW partnership.
In this state of tune its power output is 200bhp but it's the high torque of
202lb ft from 1,700rpm that gives this particular RCZ its lion's heart.
It's very responsive; progressive but with a real rush of power when needed.
The torque is the key to this: the powerplant is quiet, flexible and refined
at low speeds but springs instantly into life when the throttle is pushed harder.
Top speed is an impressive 147mph, zero to 62mph takes 7.5 seconds more
impressive when you remember that it's only a 1.6-litre unit.
Fuel economy is officially 31mpg urban, 50.4 extra-urban and 40.9mpg in the
combined cycle and a commendable 38.1mpg during my week's testing. The
CO2 emissions are a relatively-low 159g/km, which means a road tax bill of £155
(company car drivers will pay a low-ish 20 per cent in Benefit-in-Kind tax).
The six-speed, close-ratio gearbox, with its short throw lever, is a delight
to use and enhances the sporting drive experience.
line handling and cornering grip are acceptable and harmonize with the engine's
performance. However, the RCZ lacks real pace and composure because of its non-compliant,
uprated suspension's inability to cope with our poor road surfaces. Combined
with the GT version's larger wheels, the suspension fails to absorb jolts from
potholes and does not have the capability to smooth out road surface ripples
and cambers to give a balanced and controlled ride.
even at reasonable speed on non-motorways or dual carriageways, the car launches
itself from one bump or pothole to another in a pinball machine manner that's
both tiring and tiresome. Its main rivals, the Audi TT and the VW Scirocco,
are much better at coping with our shoddy roads and for me are more rewarding
great engine and
transmission and high
build quality I just
wish the RCZ
was as good overall
as it looks...
While it handles well, the 200bhp RCZ really disappoints with its inability
to provide a compliant level of ride comfort and composure. Limited rear seat
legroom and headroom and hidden control stalks are also demerits.
That said, on the plus side you do get stunning visual appeal, a great engine
and transmission and high build quality. It's also cost effective to run and
provides decent (384-760 litres) boot space. But I just wish this RCZ was as
good overall as it looks. David Miles
Peugeot RCZ GT THP 200 2+2 Coupe | £25,595
Maximum speed: 147mph | 0-62mph: 7.5 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 200bhp | Torque: 202lb ft | CO2 159g/km