Peugeot RCZ automatic: first drive

  • 156bhp 1.6-litre petrol automatic tested
  • 38.6mpg: CO2 emissions are 168g/km: 0-62mph in 9 seconds
  • Prices start from £20,450 and available to buy now

The Peugeot RCZ sports Coupe is designed to take on the might of the Audi TT and, with its good looks and a decent selection of petrol and diesel engines, it'll certainly worry the German brand.

Now the French car maker has added a six-speed automatic gearbox to the RCZ range giving buyers even more choice and we are the first to test the 156bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine with the auto box.

The 'box is only available on this version of the RCZ and if you want, you can select manual, which allows you to change up and down using the lever in the central console two modes, or you can simply leave it in drive where the auto box does the work for you.

We think the RCZ auto should have included with steering-wheel mounted paddles. This is a sporty car and it would have appeased the purists if paddles had been fitted.

The 156bhp petrol is a great sounding revvy unit though. With 240Nm of pulling power it will overtake slower traffic with ease on single-carriageways and although the dash from zero to 62mph is 9 seconds, the RCZ feels quicker, especially when in third and fourth gears. Top speed is recorded as 132mph.

Fuel economy is reasonable. The RCZ auto returns 38.6mpg on the average run and with 168g/km of CO2 emissions, is fairly efficient, making this car a sensible choice when it comes to running costs.

Handling-wise the RCZ marries comfort and sportiness with aplomb. The stiff suspension is designed to deliver maximum grip on corners but it's no bone-shaker either . There's also an active rear spoiler fitted to improve aerodynamics when driving at speed.

The car is involving to drive but it's also easy to live with. It's not focused on outright power like some rivals in this sector and, thankfully, Peugeot has combined decent acceleration as well as driveability into this good-looking sports coupe.

Then there's the 'double-bubble roof'. It seems that the design inspired by Le Mans racing cars is a real talking point but it, make no mistake, it does have function as well as form. When it rains it channels the water off the roof and down the rear screen and onto the ground which improves visibility when reversing.

 

Also consider

Audi TT

Audi's second-generation TT has sleeker line, a more aggressive and sporty appearance than before.

VW Scirocco

Volkswagen has resurrected the name for this coupe. It has striking looks, sporty handling and strong engine line-up.

Mazda RX-8

Stands apart from rivals with two rear-hinged doors and it's powered by a rotary engine.