A Lovely Frock, but Late to the Party

Lovely to look at and not without merit, but the market was moving on.

Image: autocar.co.uk

If one could distil and bottle the very essence of French middle-class conservatism and respectability, the label on the bottle would undoubtedly read ‘Peugeot’. Over its long and illustrious history, the French automaker’s products were well-engineered, durable, rational and sensible above all else. Peugeot was not a company given to flights of fancy or wilful self-indulgence. Even its coupé models were characteristically understated and practical conveyances. All apart that is, from the car we are examining today.

The Peugeot RCZ was first unveiled in June 2007 as the 308 RCZ Concept alongside Peugeot’s newly minted 308 production models. The RCZ was designed to be an image-builder for the mainstream C-segment hatchback and estate, and the 308 was a car that certainly needed some help as far as image was concerned – for it was an unfortunately flaccid and over-bodied looking thing, aesthetically inferior in every way to its better looking 307 predecessor. The RCZ was shown alongside the 308 at the latter’s formal launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2008. Critical reaction to the 308’s styling was mixed to say the least, but the RCZ received widespread acclaim.

The design of the RCZ is attributed to Boris Reinmöller, a German who joined PSA in 2000, having recently graduated from the Transportation Design School at the University of Pforzheim. Reinmöller presented a number of options for the RCZ to Jerôme Gallix and Gerard Welter, respectively deputy director and director of Peugeot’s design centre. The proposal chosen in December 2006 was quite different to Peugeot’s rather more formal earlier coupé models such as the 406 and 407. It was in an aggressively ‘cab-forward’ style with a short nose and long tail, which gave it mid-engined proportions, even though its mechanical layout was that of the regular 308, front transverse-engined and FWD.

The chosen design needed to be realised in concept form in just six months. This allowed little time for tinkering or second-thoughts, which might explain why it remained so pure and uncorrupted. The Zagato-aping ‘double-bubble’ roof and rear window was particularly striking, as were the muscular haunches over the rear wheels and polished metal roof arches. Perhaps the only criticism that might be levelled at the RCZ concerned the overly-large grille, consequent of the imperative for a familial resemblance. The RCZ was, however, 139mm (5½”) lower and 30mm (1¼”) wider than the 308 hatchback, with front and rear tracks that were respectively 44mm (1¾”) and 63mm (2½”) wider, giving the car its low, wide and well-planted stance.

Interviewed in April 2008, Reinmöller cited Peugeot’s Le Mans 24-Hour race car, the 908 HDi FAP, as a source of inspiration for the distinctive roof of the RCZ, which he claimed helped to manage airflow, obviating the need for a rear spoiler. He also described the RCZ as resembling “a lion leaping in mid-air, with all the muscles carefully drawn.” He wanted the RCZ “to exude strength through muscular body styling.” Diplomatically, he claimed to be “proud of the way we integrated the front end of the 308” which was “an essential part of the brief” and looked as though it was “made expressly for this car.” Prophetically, Reinmöller asserted that the RCZ was “entirely credible” and “something you’d like to see on the road, something we’d all like to see.”

And so it would prove to be the case. Such was the level of critical approval of the RCZ that a little-changed production version was launched at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2009 and went into production in April 2010 at Magna Steyr’s plant in Graz, Austria.

Image: heycar.co.uk

Notwithstanding Reinmöller’s assertions concerning the RCZ’s aerodynamic stability, one notable change for the production model was the introduction of a two-stage pop-up rear spoiler. At 85km/h (53mph) the spoiler raised to an angle of 19°. At 155km/h (96mph) it raised further to an angle of 34°. The spoiler retracted when the speed dropped below 55km/h (34mph) and its position could be manually overridden by the driver.

Autocar magazine published its first review of the RCZ in April 2012 after RHD versions became available in the UK. Although unacknowledged by Peugeot, the reviewer thought that the RCZ was clearly inspired by the Audi TT, with a similar mission to enhance the prestige of the marque. That said, it was described as “Peugeot’s take on the small 2+2 coupé, rather than just a pure clone” of the TT.

The low roofline meant that there was “very little rear passenger space” even with the sculptured roof and rear window helping a little. That said, it was still “roomier than an Audi TT” coupé, although the RCZ’s booted tail was less flexible than the TT’s hatchback. It was really best regarded as a two-seater with additional storage space. The RCZ’s dashboard was lifted straight from the 308 and some plastic parts contrasted unfavourably with the optional extended leather pack.

The test car was fitted with Peugeot’s 1,598cc THP156 turbocharged petrol engine. This produced maximum power of 154bhp (115kW) which took the RCZ from 0 to 60mph (97km/h) in 8.4 seconds. It was “entertaining enough, albeit more for its peppy, happy-to-be-worked character than its sheer pace.” The range-topping GT version was fitted with the more powerful THP200 engine producing maximum power of 197bhp (147kW). This achieved a claimed top speed of 146mph (235km/h) but the acceleration to 62mph (100km/h) was only modestly improved to 7.5 seconds, a consequence of the “hefty kerb weight” of 1,340kg (2,948 lbs).

Image: wheelworldreviews.co.uk

The driving position was good, with “no pedal offsets and a steering wheel that has a massive range of adjustment (although the wheel itself could be smaller on a sporting car like this)” As regards handling, the RCZ was ajudged to be “the most sporting Peugeot…for a generation.” It felt better balanced than its 64:36 front to rear weight distribution might suggest, and levels of grip were high. However, poise and steering feel were still lacking. The electric power steering “although relatively accurate, lacks texture.” The six-speed manual gearbox was “good but unexceptional. The shift is relatively short and precise but the overall experience is not especially satisfying.”

The ride quality was good, with spring rates that were “firm but not unyielding” although “over smaller ridges there is a residual ripple that can refuse to settle, taking the edge off refinement.” Dynamically, the RCZ was good, but not in the league of Peugeot’s 306 Rallye from the company’s handling heyday. Its strongest suit was that it was “different: a practical car that is fun to drive, and far prettier than anything you can get at this price.”

The RCZ sold well from the off, mainly on its beguiling looks. As well as the petrol engines, a 1,997cc diesel was offered, which produced maximum power of 161bhp (120kW). This achieved a claimed 0 to 62mph (100km/h) time and top speed of 8.2 seconds and 137mph (220km/h). In November 2012, Peugeot announced a much more powerful RCZ R derivative, fitted with a 266bhp (199kW) version of the 1,598cc petrol engine. This achieved a 0 to 62mph (100km/h) time of 5.9 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph (250km/h).

Image: autotrader.co.uk

The RCZ received one significant mid-life facelift in 2013. The most obvious change was the replacement of the front clip with a revised one sporting a much smaller grille. This intended to bring the car into line with the newly launched second-generation 308 hatchback and estate. Looks are, of course, subjective, but to these eyes the revised front end was a distinct improvement, making the car look less nose-heavy.

The RCZ remained on the market for five years, during which time a total of 67,916 were sold. Sadly, the market for coupés from mainstream manufacturers was already in decline when the RCZ was launched and continued to fall away, so there was no incentive for Peugeot to replace it. The high-performance RCZ R now has something of a cult following and second-hand prices are accordingly high, starting from around £15,000 in the UK. Regular RCZ models are plentiful and priced from about £2,500. For the money, there is almost nothing prettier or more distinctive.

Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

60 thoughts on “A Lovely Frock, but Late to the Party”

  1. I never liked this car.
    It looked like a distorted caricature of the TT with its too large grille and far too long tail combined with a fake Zagato roof. And like the 406 and 407 coupés they of course couldn’t be bothered to create a dedicated interior, let alone one as attractive as a TT’s.
    The real deal breaker were the moped engines with far too much turbo effect for their power. 225 PS from a 1.6 litre engine simply isn’t my kettle of fish, particularly not in this kind of car.

    Wouldn’t it have been better and cheaper if they had made the 308 a more attractive car so they wouldn’t have needed this one as an image booster?

    The astonishing thing is that they managed to sell aroud 70,000 which isn’t too bad compared to 90,000 much more attractive TTs over the same time.

    1. For me it seems a cheap copy of the TT, another example of Peugeot´s “malaise era”. It even mimicked the small displacement turbocharged four cylinder engines range. The TT concept car was released in 1995 so Peugeot clearly took its time.

      I´m very surprised by the number of units sold.

  2. Unlike Dave, I liked this car from the first moment.
    Precisely because of its long rear and the Zagato quote.

    I also never associated the shape with the TT, but rather as a reinterpretation of the Karman-Ghia (Type 14).

    But for me there were three sticking points: The engines on offer, the somewhat boring interior in bland colours – and my wife didn’t like the car.

    With a 1.6 or 2-litre non-turbo, I probably would have tried to convince her.
    Then I would probably still have an RZ today – in Pescarolo-Sport livery.

  3. Good morning, y’all. The RCZ isn’t my cup of tea. It’s not at all that bad, just a bit bloated isn’t it? The grill and headlights are too prominent as well. Still I mourn the loss of coupés.

    1. The ugliest detail for me is the fake racer nose – simpply horrible in the original and slightly toned down but still awful in the facelift.

  4. Ah, the lovely RCZ! On a family holiday near Peñíscola, Spain, a few years ago, we went on a brief supermarket mission (to buy beer or wine or both, for the evening, I seem to recall) and there was a shiny new RCZ parked nearby. As we get out of my car, itself a Mk1 308 at the time, I was about to wax poetic on the RCZ’s beautiful, flowing shape, and how it’s basically my own 308 underneath, when both my mother and my brother blurted outloud, almost in unison “this car has a butt!!”, while laughing and pointing at the two rounded halves of the rear glass.

    Since then, I can’t unsee that design feature any time I encounter a RCZ …

    1. When the Coupé Fiat was presented to Fiat management somebody asked how the double-bubble headlights would be cleaned. Cantarella’s answer wad “con amore”…

    2. Dave: My understanding of that quote is that it was attributed to Chris Bangle rather than Cantarella.

  5. I’ve just looked up the 308 MK1 and I burst out laughing when I saw it again. Like all good jokes, it never gets old.

    Was the RCZ all that late to the party? I thought the Volkswagen Scirocco was launched around that time, too.

    I quite like the RCZ, although it’s a bit TT-like. Some of the details strike me as being a bit clumsy and the front always reminds me of a proboscis monkey (sorry).

    Peugeot were occasionally daring in the distant past with things like the 402 hard top convertible and 601 Eclipse and then there’s lovely little things such as the 202 Cabriolets, too.

  6. I enjoy the RCZ since it represents that rare instance of individuality, especially in the CUV-ridden world we currently occupy. It’s a shame it came out during the nadir of Peugeot design since I think it would be quite interesting to see it today with Peugeot’s much more individualistic style (whether or not it is good is up to the viewer and highly model dependent). The rear is no doubt its best angle and I have to wonder, is this the only interpretation of the ‘double-bubble’ roof in a mass-produced, non-Carrozzeria application? That rear glass can not have been cheap to design and fabricate, so I have to admire Peugeot’s dedication to the vision.

    The front I just cannot warm up to; the original has that ‘catfish gawp’ that afflicts every ‘-07’ Peugeot (and obviously the 308 Mk1). The facelift is both fussy and generic, with the lower grille’s ‘handle-bar mustache’ effect being rather unpleasant to me and made worse by the addition of the LED embellishment on each corner. I’ll just satisfy myself by looking only at the rear and imagining they designed a better front end!

    1. I agree, Alexander, that rear three-quarter view is its best angle and it’s one I see quite regularly. There are three RCZs living within around 20 miles of where I live; all run on diesel and seem to go like the proverbial manure off a spade…….

    2. Alexander wrote: “is this the only interpretation of the ‘double-bubble’ roof in a mass-produced, non-Carrozzeria application?”

      All three generations of the Dodge/SRT Viper coupe come to mind (if those can be considered “mass-produced”).

      GM’s de-sensualized interpretation appears on recent generations of Camaros and Corvettes. Not to be left… err… behind, Ford paid… um… (no, nevermind) “tribute” to the trope on their S-550/650 Mustang.

  7. Good evening all (and good morning Alexander!) I must say I don’t quite see much of the TT in the RCZ. I think, for better or worse, it is quite an individualistic design. However, the nose is, of course, horrible.

    Regarding the 308, I think it’s a case of “many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip” as the old English proverb has it. Here’s what the designers envisaged:

    And here’s how it ended up:

    Those weird wheelarches, the under-inflated concave bodysides and the snout are just awful and inexcusable. As Charles says, the joke never ages.

    1. The concept is much better, no doubt, but it still has those truncated wheel arches that look ‘chopped off’ and the designers should have known better than to use that DLO treatment knowing the front leading triangle would have to be faked with plastic. For fear of turning this into a Peugeot 308-discussion thread, I simply have to add a direct comparison photo to the concept you posted:

      My biggest question is why they couldn’t implement that taillight design directly. It’s much more cohesive and attractive and doesn’t seem to be any larger or smaller than the hideous ‘thumb’-shaped units on the real car. I have to say, though, as a joke, the 308 Mk1 is a pretty funny one.

    2. One issue affecting the production car infuriates me: on the concept the panel-gap between the rear bumper and quarter-panel is drawn to align with the shut-line between the rear hatch and quarter-panel, so that you see it as a single line interrupted by the tail lights lens. This line is also nicely parallel to the trailing edge shut-line of the rear door.

      On the production car, this neat resolution has all been lost and the result is very messy. It would have been straightforward to draw the panel-gap between the bumper and rear quarter-panel to maintain the alignment, even if the relationship with the door shut-line was lost, so why didn’t they do so?

    3. Ah, well noticed, Daniel. I agree, the concept shows a Golf-like discipline in matching the bumper and hatch shutlines and keeping them parallel with the rear door shutline. It really is a quandary why this would not be able to be productionized since VW do it so well. It is also odd to me how the production car’s rear windshield wraps around unnecessarily and ruins the verticality of the concept’s rear screen; it’s not like it adds visibility as you can tell it’s all frit beyond the roof gutter anyway.

      To add insult to injury, they added the faint crease on the production model above the badge to theoretically emphasize width and reduce visual height, but I’d say that rather backfired compared to the concentric ‘horizon’ that subtly sits below the rear screen of the concept. Indeed, the concept almost shows a bit of lineage to the 306 with its flush rear treatment and widened, lower stance but I suppose that was impossible to fully achieve when working with the 307’s MPV-esque hard points.

  8. I like the RCZ. There, I said it.

    The real joke is, however, that the MK1 308 4-door is actually still the best looking of the bunch.

    The 2-door (yes, they built some!) is even more clumsy and the SW is … violently repulsive. It’s so bad and so incoherent, it actually makes me a bit angry seeing one (which happens less and less these days, fortunately). I mean, somebody got paid drawing up this mess!

    1. Aha, but what of the elegant and genteel 308 CC?

      (I’ll see myself out)

    2. Hi onemoretime. I’m not sure the 308 three-door made it to the UK or Ireland, but you’re right, it’s even weirder than the five-door. Here it is:


    3. I see we’re now playing ugly Peugeot top trumps and Alexander has just played his Ace. You would have to have wanted a tin-top coupé-cabrio a hell of a lot to put up with that enormous fat backside.

    4. I do think the 308cc‘s rump is still better than the 307cc‘s. Which says not much, as the latter still looks weirdly melted and unready to me, like a half-risen yeast dough. And don’t get me started on the silly punch-hole taillights…

    5. Comparing the 307CC and 308CC’s derrières is like asking whether you would be prefer to be hanged or garroted: neither is a remotely pleasurable prospect. Nevertheless, here’s the former:

    6. 307 CC vs 308 CC is certainly a bit of an unanswerable question, but for me the 307 takes it by nature of sharing its bodyshell with the WRC car, thus imbuing it with a bit more Peugeot credence in the vein of their homologation specials of yore.

      Also, it predates the ‘maw’ which completely ruins any car it’s on, regardless of form or function.

    7. Before we consign the design team for the first-gen 308 to Hades for all eternity, we should also consider who actually signed off on this dog’s breakfast. Bearing in mind that there would have been a whittling down process, it would be interesting to know where the unrealised proposal shown was from in the design process, but regardless, senior management clearly made a very poor choice. Jean-Martin Folz was in the hot seat at the time of the 308’s inception, so it is to him and his minions that the full force of our ire should be aimed.

  9. Thanks, Daniel. I’ve always been in two minds about the RCZ, much like the commentaries show here: on the one hand it’s a decent looking thing and – praise be – a coupé without the SUV; on the other, it’s still a Peugeot from *that* era, even if it is by far the best looking one. The regular 308 is part of that oddest of things: a car line up seemingly designed for people who hate cars (as opposed to the current BMW line up, which to me seems designed for people who hate people). To me, the TT connection was always there, but I like the so much that it didn’t matter. It was never a straight copy anyway. The proportions, like those of any car that tries to look like something it isn’t (in this case mid engined) do seem slightly off.

    Is this the unicorn: a car that looked better after the facelift? A sort of inverted Fiat charter/retrahc taiF (sorry).

    1. CAR once called Peugeot the ‘master of the mid term facelift’ and the 406 the first they screwed.

    2. I was under the impression that the 406 facelift was the work of Pininfarina.

    3. Agreed, Dave. The facelifted 406’s wider headlamps no longer related to the shape of the leading edge of the bonnet and the body-coloured strips bisecting the taillights were just nasty.

    4. I do remember several Peugeots that got the then-current design treatment at their facelifts (the 306 and 106 for instance), Peugeot – like Renault or Ford – switching design direction every once in a while. It didn’t always work out, but the 106 was quite believable. Also a nice counterbalance to the monstrosities being posted here.

      Although even here I prefer the original:

      Any other cars that got better with facelifts?

    5. Better? One I find unquestionable: the 1968 Citroën DS, the all-time gold standard for facelifts.

      I can think of several more that are aguable, mostly mid-century American, but would prefer to quit well ahead.

    6. I have to echo gooddog’s comment, Opron’s work on the DS is nearly unparalleled in terms of modernizing the car without overriding its original character.

      In terms of damage control, one ‘most improved’ facelift I think deserves mention is the 4th gen Acura TL. The original came out with this horrid, plasticky ‘beak’ that swept into the hood area with little rhyme or reason.

      They quickly facelifted it due to public backlash to a more traditional grille shape and blacked out the headlight surrounds; the final effect is a slightly more attractive, if conservative fascia.

      Honestly, the entire charade just reminds me of the final Ford Scorpio situation. Ironic, then, that this would be the final iteration of the Acura TL. Its lineage would be subsumed into the ‘TLX’ as a smaller 3 Series competitor.

    7. ” a car line up seemingly designed for people who hate cars (as opposed to the current BMW line up, which to me seems designed for people who hate people).”

      🙂

      Brilliant.

    8. The 406 facelift is not that bad. The worst part was the fake body-coloured bar across the rear lamps. And the headlamps. They are rubbish too. This is the car I drive so it´s invisible to me now. When I see a series 1 I realise how much neater and more homogenous they are. It´s finally grown on me and I even have begun a sneaking acceptance of the C5 Mk1 Series 1 but for the wrong reasons. I like the package more than the looks.

    9. My perennial vote for ‘best facelift’ is the 1969 Triumph 2000. I’m always amazed by how much better the whole thing hangs together post-facelift to the extent that I barely connect the pre- and post-facelift versions.

      I must say that this article and posts have not only been interesting but have made me laugh a lot, too – thank you.

    10. Yes, a clear improvement. The various changes that BMW made to their big coupe, culminating in the E9 also come to mind, from a time when BMW styling improved over time.

    11. Hi David. (I had approved but not looked at your comment before posting mine. Great minds, etc.)

      The BMW facelift is a good example of one that was similarly effective and successful. Good call.

    12. Hi Charles. That’s a great call. It was extraordinary just how successfully Triumph, with help from Michelotti, updated the 2000’s dated looks with relatively modest changes to the front wings and bonnet. Here’s the transformation:


      As you intimate, only on DTW could the excellent and well informed below-the-line dialogue could lead one along a train of thought from the Peugeot RCZ to the Triumph 2000. Chapeau all!

    13. gooddog: nail absolutely on the head with the DS. Thanks for reminding me.

      Alexander: as a European, I often think we’re lucky not to have Acura around. From what I can tell there are some nice cars (well, ‘nice’: the NSX and an Integra Type R were sold as Acuras in the States), but overall it seems to make even less sense than Infiniti. Including the model designations.

      Thanks, David 🙂

      Richard: in retrospect, the 406 facelift signals to me the point where Peugeot stopped taking care of the proportions of their designs, not coincidentally around the same time that they stopped their association with Pininfarina. On small scale, it starts the trend of cartoonish proportions and details that only very distantly relate to anything automotive (like cramming those headlights into a space they don’t really want to go). Up to the 406, the designs make visual sense to me. After that, I can often see what they’re trying to communicate (‘something something sporty’ diffuser thing on the 308CC, for instance), but it gets all muddled. Partly, that feels like clumsiness, partly like a lack of direction or concentration. Arguably, the rather cartoonish but nicely turned out current 208 shows they’ve gotten on top of that new direction, but they inflicted some real damage along the way.

    14. Mercedes W212 looked infinitely better after its facelift but was still ugly.

    15. Excellent calls. The updated Triumph and BMW seem like a new model, rather than a facelift.

  10. Here’s what we are talking about; the 406 pre and post-facelift:




    The facelift is certainly not in the ‘Fiat Charter’ league of terrible, but it rather smacks of change for change’s sake.

    1. The main objective of the facelift in the 406 was to make the blend from the bumpers to body less noticeable. The attempt is worst at the front where a big radius under the lamp has to meet up with a panel gap between the wing and the bumper. On the Series 1 the bumper-wing gap is the lead, so they made a sharp line to look as if the gap carried on on the strip under the lamp. That makes sense. The same problem obtains at the back. The Series 2 also has a bigger Peugeot badge and loses the horizontal bar. I can live with these changes as the Series 2 car had some mechanical improvements. I suppose I would prefer the Mk1 though and live with the minor technical demerits. It´s a decent looking machine – best in light colours. They called the 604 “professional” and I think the same applies to the 406. It is a serious car (by which I don´t mean especially scary, fast, costly or threatening, just very straightforward and sensible along with comfortable and useful).

    2. Compared to its predecessor the 406 looked larger, more grown up (and for my eyes less attractive) and was much better made.
      The 405 even needed a new dashboard halfways through its life to finally get rid of the permanent rattling noises.
      Peugeot took far too long to iron out the mechanical deficits, mainly too small engines with not enough power for the class.
      They also could have tried harder to make the interior more attractive. Chromed inner door handles, at least trying to give the interior surfaces the same shine and grain and seat covers that didn’t look like fake mouse fur (in short: more attention to detail) wouldn’t have cost the world.

    3. Must also add that the body-coloured B-posts on the facelifted 406 breaks the flow of the DLO unnecessarily too, quite why they decided to do it on the saloon but retained the black on the SW just deepens the mystery…

  11. the 4th gen Acura TL … They quickly facelifted it due to public backlash

    Taking three full years was hardly “quick”. As someone who had an ‘05 A-Spec in the family stable, those changes were irrelevant because the fourth generation was so mind-boggling in how many steps backwards it went from subtlety to aggressively garish, both inside and out, there was nothing short of starting again from scratch that could save it. And that’s exactly what happened; from most successful generation to so criminally flawed they binned the model name outright.

    1. Three years is relatively quick for a facelift, and it’s the exact same amount of time that passed between the Scorpio’s ’94 release and ’97 facelift which is why I made the comparison. Agreed that the 4th gen TL was largely a misstep for Acura in that not only did it become gaudy and odd-looking, it ballooned in size to dwarf both the 5-Series and S80 which were supposed to be competing with the older, larger RL. I guess the idea was that by giving the TSX the V6 it was supposed to fill in the 3-series market for Acura? Regardless, the TLX fixed all that confusion, but I still miss the TSX (Euro Accord) and the gen3 TL which were genuinely really good and quite attractive.

  12. Peugeot’s brand suicide by design was something to behold.

    In this context, let’s not forget the concept car that made Gorden Wagener’s SLR appear balanced (pictured here with either cinematographer, Roger Deakins, or Gérard Welter in the passenger seat):

    Or the 908 RC, which was seemingly taken right out of some dreadful Luc Bésson sci-fi flick:

    1. Richard, I implore you to do an image search yourself. Every aspect of that 908 RC is simply bizarre.

    2. This’ll get you started, Richard:

      Just look at those A-pillars. Imagine the blind spots…

      I thought the 908 RC was the concept with the asymmetric front and rear ends, but that must be another munter. 😁

    3. Ah, yes, that would be the DS Automobiles X-Tense:

      Mad, and not in a good way. 😲

    4. Here’s where they got the idea from:

      Ah, those crazy, zany French (not all of them, obviously 😁).

    5. Christopher: it´s kind of you to suggest a way in which I can further my knowledge, broaden my horizons and learn more about the world we live in. But no, thank you. What I have seen so far recalls a 3rd year undergraduate design made real. The front end of the 2-door “thing” seems to have been a test-bed for horrible ideas seen on the 407 coupé.
      This is the odd thing: it never harmed sales. Peugeot sold masses of all of their mass-market cars. Customers didn´t notice the design that makes we here cringe.

    6. The ultimate asymmetry:

      The 908 has a midship engine with ‘FAP’ on the intake plenums. What does that suggest?

  13. Aww…!! You keep poking fun at the Mk1 308! I happened to own one and didn’t think it looked too bad. Yes, the front was a bit, er.. toothy, and the rear lights looked awful in the night, with an oddly uneven lighting pattern.

    Mine was a mid-top range THP GT or whatever it was called, so I guess that helped in the looks department. It was black, with 17in wheels and glass roof (a big hit with passengers, but not for me as most of that lovely glass was behind me. It had great handling and communicative steering (but too much tramlining), a choppy ride, oh-hum fuel economy, and more interior rattles than a flamenco dancing school. But worse of all was its awful reliability, being at the shop more times than I can remember; its 1.6 THP engine seldom worked correctly and even making me go through the humiliation of failing the MOT once. Still, when washed and detailed, it kind of looked more expensive than it was, at least to me 🙂

    1. Sorry, Cesar. 🙂

      Good to hear about your experience of owning a 308, which clearly had merit. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    2. Thanks Daniel for your comment, I was sorry for having suffered a Mk1 308 too!😅😅😅.

      So, what did I get to replace it? The only logical choice…: a Mk2 308 😄😄😄. But wait, this is a completely different animal: quiet, solid, reliable, sublime suspension (despite some strange wiggles from the rear axle on rough roads), super sharp steering, routine 4.8 – 5.5 l/100km fuel economy on my work commute from the gutsy 1.2 Puretech 130hp engine and 8-speed EAT8 auto transmission, etc., …. Can’t complain at all.

    3. Ah, yes, the 308 Mk2 was a whole lot better looking and higher quality vehicle:

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