2014 Peugeot RCZ R

December 24, 2013
2015 Peugeot RCZ R

2015 Peugeot RCZ R. Click here for higher resolution.

2015 Peugeot RCZ R is the company’s most powerful production car ever, conceived to go up against not just fast coupes but also the best hot hatches.

The turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol that already appears in the RCZ range has received a raft of revisions to increase power to 270bhp.

2015 Peugeot RCZ R rear view

2015 Peugeot RCZ R rear view. Click here for higher resolution

The R also has stiffer, lowered suspension, upgraded brakes and a new limited-slip differential. On the outside, you’ll find a matte black roof, bespoke 19-inch alloys, dual chrome exhaust tailpipes and a large boot spoiler. The upgrades don’t come cheap, though. At £31,995, the RCZ R costs a whopping £5360 more than a top-spec 197bhp GT model.

The Peugeot RCZ R is also considerably more expensive than two of its closest rivals – the 208bhp Audi TT 2.0 TFSI and the Renaultsport Megane 265 Cup.

2015 Peugeot RCZ R

2015 Peugeot RCZ R. Click here for higher resolution

What’s the 2015 Peugeot RCZ R like to drive?

With a power hike of almost 40%, it’s no surprise to discover that the RCZ R now has the pace to match the fastest hot hatches. Overtaking is a moment’s work, and at legal speeds you’ll still have plenty of power in reserve.

The short-throw gearlever makes shifts feel precise and satisfying. The ‘box has longer gearing than other RCZs, too, which means 62mph is possible in second gear.

One of the most significant changes is the addition of a limited-slip differential, which distributes the 243lb ft of torque between the front wheels. Powerful front-wheel-drive cars often suffer from wheelspin and torque steer under hard acceleration, but this diff helps the RCZ R stay remarkably composed.

The steering hasn’t been changed, but the lowered, stiffer suspension mean that turn-in feels sharper and the feedback from the diff gives you a better idea of what the front wheels are doing. There’s also a tremendous amount of grip; you’ll need to be cornering at ridiculous speeds to come unstuck. This is an undeniably exciting car to drive.

The ride is firm, but no more so than in Renaultsport Megane Cup. In fact, the new setup feels well resolved compared to the standard car; rather than the crashing over bumps and ruts, the R simply produces a short, controlled thud. It feels stiff, but not uncomfortable.

2015 Peugeot RCZ R

2015 Peugeot RCZ R engine. Click here for higher resolution

In a car like this, you probably don’t want a quiet engine, and the RCZ R’s revs with a fantastic noise up to the limiter. As in the standard car, wind and road noise are well contained, although the 19-inch wheels do roar over patchy surfaces. We’ll have to wait until we’ve driven it in the UK to see whether it’s any worse here.

What’s the 2015 Peugeot RCZ R like inside?

The standard RCZ feels classy and well-built inside, and the R is no different. In fact, the fancy red stitching, leather-and-Alcantara sports seats and short-throw gearlever make it feel even more special.

2015 Peugeot RCZ R interior

2015 Peugeot RCZ R interior. Click here for higher resolution

There’s plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and in the supportive seats, and the equipment list is comprehensive. Bluetooth, sat-nav, climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and xenon headlights are all standard. In fact, just about the only options you can add are an upgraded sound system and front parking sensors.

All-round visibility isn’t great, but certainly no worse than other coupes in this class.

There are no changes to cabin space or function, so you get the same tiny rear seats that are only really suitable for kids or emergencies. Still, there is at least a decent sized boot, and the rear seats fold flat to open up and even bigger loadbay.

Should I buy one?

The CO2 emissions of 145g/km from the 2015 Peugeot RCZ R’s 270bhp engine are remarkably low, which means that running it as a company car will only cost around £20 more per month than the 197bhp manual version. The official fuel economy of 44.8mpg is also astonishing for a 270bhp petrol car, so it’s easy to see some serious appeal.

However, the 208bhp Audi TT Coupe is only fractionally slower to 62mph, has more torque and costs £4295 less. It’s not as well equipped as the Peugeot, but it’ll probably hold on to its value better. It’s cheaper for company car buyers, too, courtesy of its lower list price.

2015 Peugeot RCZ R

2015 Peugeot RCZ R side view. Click here for higher resolution

The Renaultsport Megane is as fast as both of these coupes, but will cost the most as a company car. For private buyers though, it’ll be at least £5000 cheaper. It’s hard to argue that the Peugeot is worth the extra if you’re being entirely rational.

That said, the 2015 Peugeot RCZ R has plenty going for it – its rapid hot hatch pace, addictive engine note and immense grip make it a real hoot on the right road.

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