YOU have to give it to the French, when it comes to beautiful things, they are tops in their fields. And the new Peugeot RCZ Sports Coupe is a shining example of French flair and design.
The two-door benefits from a completely redesigned frontend, which now expresses the latest, contemporary Peugeot design language.
The rest of the distinctive and aerodynamic shape remains largely unchanged.
The RCZ’s sporty and driver-orientated cockpit benefits from a smarter finish with high-gloss lacquer and brushed aluminium.
There is also a new infotainment system that has a large, 18cm 16:9 colour screen as its centrepiece. The new system features enhanced navigation functionality, versatile multi-source audio playback, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The manual-transmission RCZ 1.6 Manual retains the proven and popular 147kW, high-pressure turbocharged version of Peugeot’s 1.6-litre petrol engine, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, and front-wheel drive.
For those seeking the convenience of an automatic transmission, linked to the style and agility of the RCZ execution, the new RCZ 1.6 Auto employs a six-speed automatic gearbox, coupled to a 115kW version of the same 1.6-litre four-cylinder powerplant.
The RCZ Coupe provides a comprehensive array of advanced safety features, ranging from latest-generation stability and traction control to latest-generation ABS brakes, an active rear spoiler, as well as front and chest/pelvis airbags for both occupants.
Most of the design changes are focused on the front end.
At the core of the redesign is a stronger, more succinct grille, framed on either side by redesigned headlights, and accompanied by a reshaped bonnet and a new front bumper.
The manual-gearbox derivative is powered by an efficient, 1.6-litre engine with four valves per cylinder. The four-cylinder unit is high pressure-turbocharged, and as a result, maximum power equates to 147kW in an engine speed band between 5500 and 6800rpm.
The accompanying torque peak is a quoted 275Nm, already on tap from 1700rpm, and sustained all the way to 4500rpm. This engine is only available in tandem with a quick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, which in turn delivers the available urge to the front wheels.
In this guise, the RCZ 1.6 Manual dashes from zero to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds, and achieves a top speed of 240km/h. The 115kW power maximum is reached at 6000rpm, linked to a torque peak of 240Nm between 1400 and 4500rpm. The RCZ 1.6 THP Automatic is credited with a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.4 seconds, and achieves a 213km/h top speed.
The recommended retail pricing of the new Peugeot RCZ is R423500 for the 1.6 THP Automatic, and R434900 for the 1.6 THP Manual.