13 November 2013 Last Updated: 14 November 2013

Full Peugeot RCZ Coupe (10-15) Model Review

by Gareth Evans

Peugeot RCZ-R is the high performance version of the two seat coupe
  • Peugeot RCZ R may only pack a 1.6-litre turbo engine but its performance is very impressive
  • Peugeot RCZ R interior marks itself out as special including full sports seats
  • Peugeot RCZ R comes with special plaque
  • Peugeot RCZ R comes with large 19 inch alloy wheels and huge brakes
  • Quickest RCZ coupe tested in France
  • Strong performance from 1.6 engine
  • Costs from £31,995 on the road
Peugeot RCZ Coupe (10-15) 1.6 THP R 2d - Road Test
The Peugeot RCZ R is a high-performance version of the firm’s Audi TT-rivalling two-door coupe.

The Peugeot RCZ R is a high-performance version of the firm’s Audi TT-rivalling two-door coupe.

It uses a small 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine which develops a heady 270bhp and a chassis fettled by Peugeot Sport – the firm’s racing division. This means it’s quick, but it’s also relatively efficient.

Since down-sizing is all the rage these days – even Formula 1 cars will use 1.6-litre engines from 2014 – it makes sense that car firms will look to do the same in their road cars.

Peugeot RCZ R performance

Impressive performance and handling

By far the most impressive aspect is the handling. Using front-wheel drive and few of the electronic gizmos which endear cars such as the Ford Fiesta ST to keen drivers, you’d be forgiven for expecting lots of wheel-spin and not a huge amount of fun. Peugeot Sport has worked hard to make sure the car handles very well, though.

Thanks to a re-jigged chassis featuring a softer front and a more taught rear, there are prodigious amounts of grip on offer and if things get a little out of kilter then lifting your right foot mid-corner allows the driver to easily bring things back into line.

Where you really notice the chassis work is on the exit of corners, where the car just seems to dig in and shoot you out.

There’s very little body-roll evident, which means it’s incredibly stable through both low- and high-speed corners. You also get a fixed rear spoiler, which has a marked effect on the car’s stability too. It weighs less than the electric spoiler set-up in the conventional RCZ, which is always going to be a good thing when it comes to handling.

Peugeot RCZ R wheels

Neat details

Cutting the weight of the RCZ R further are those lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels, which hide huge brakes that offer impressive stopping power. It’s the small details of this car that impress the most, and in the brakes’ case the discs feature tiny semi-circular cut-outs which effectively clean the pads during use to ensure they’re performing well at all times.

It’s not all good news though. The top-notch handling is played off against a ride that feels quite choppy, especially at low speeds on broken roads. This is likely to be worse on our terrible UK road network, so it’s worth bearing in mind.

Peugeot RZC R rear shot

Fast acceleration and great sound

Also impressing us is the engine. Where you may in the past have expected at least two litres under the bonnet of a ‘hot’ RCZ, Peugeot has instead done some serious fettling to its 1.6 to pump up the output. 

That engine makes its 270bhp at 6,000rpm, while torque of 243Nm is on offer between 1,900 and 5,500rpm. On the road it’s very versatile, offering decent acceleration even at low revs in top gear.

It covers 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, and goes on to a top speed limited to 155mph.
While it perhaps doesn’t feel as powerful as Peugeot claims in a straight line, it’s clear this is a performance car. The engine sounds fantastic, whooshing and growling away as you explore the car’s capabilities.

Being a smaller capacity turbocharged petrol engine, there’s a little lag evident if you’re caught in the wrong gear for slower corners. This disappears in a wave of torque as the turbo comes online though, and you soon learn to drive around it.

What you don’t expect for a car of such high performance is relatively low running costs. Thanks to CO2 emissions of 145g/km, it’s not going to cost the world to tax. And with a claimed average fuel economy of 44.8mpg, it’s not bad on petrol either. We saw closer to 20mpg, but then we were driving the car as Peugeot Sport intended. Quickly.

That equates to a range of between approximately 250 and 550 miles between fill-ups, depending on how you drive.

For reference, the similarly priced Audi S3 costs around the same but has higher CO2 emissions (at 162g/km) and worse fuel economy of a claimed 40.4mpg. It is a little quicker, but certainly isn’t as engaging as the RCZ R. We’d suspect it wouldn’t be as quick on a race track either, since the Peugeot is significantly lighter and more agile than the S3.

Peugeot RCZ R interior

Special Interior

Continuing inside, there are other hints that you’re driving something special. These include those very swish sports seats, which keep you secure when driving fast yet are comfortable enough to not dwear you out over long distances.

Red stitching snakes its way around the cabin, while there’s a commemorative plaque from Peugeot Sport to remind you you’ve bought the hot one.

Peugeot RCZ R special plaque

Happily, the RCZ R also has sat-nav installed as standard so we'd probably hold off on any further optional extras. As keen drivers we’d probably specify the £249 leather and alcantara steering wheel, though.

The Peugeot RCZ R costs from £31,995 on-the-road and deliveries are set to begin in January. We’d expect quite a wait for a new car though, so get your order in early.

You can read our full Peugeot RCZ review by clicking here.