Peugeot 308 RC Z

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Peugeot and Citroen are part of the same company, the PSA Group, after Citroen went bankrupt for the second time in 1974 and was absorbed into their rival company. Many blame this as the turning point for Citroen, seeing an end to the innovative flair that had characterized their cars and made so many of them undisputed cult icons and legends. Peugeot, on the other hand, have no legendary cars whatsoever. The 504 and 504 coupé are very nice machines, and rank among my personal favourites, but they can’t stack up to an SM or CX, let alone a Traction Avant or a DS. VW have the Beetle and the Transporter, BMW have the Isetta, Mercedes have their 220’s and SL Gullwing, Datsun/Nissan have the Z-cars, Fiat have the 500 and 600, even Renault have the 4 and 5 to be glowingly proud of. So that gives Peugeot some catching up to do, and it seems they plan on starting right now at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

So while Fiat have the new 500 and BMW have the new Mini, Peugeot give the world the 308 RC Z coupé. Since they don’t have a prestigious, iconic model to base it on, they make it a version of one of their current, horribly bland (if not absolutely hideous) production model, the 308.

However, I predict this car to be a runaway success, and will pluck a lot of customers out of the Audi TT’s and BMW Z4’s hands, not to mention other coupés. The front end looks awful, being what characterizes Peugeot’s current aesthetics, perhaps thought up by someone who was partially blind and suffers from brain damage. But the rest is stunningly attractive. The car’s outline is fantastically proportioned, making it look balanced yet fast while standing still, unlike its pretty crappy-looking German rivals. Another design detail sure to make people swoon are the bubble-like protrusions in the canopy, which looks like it’s off a high-end supercar. The berlinetta-like rear-end looks amazing too, though those rear lights look suspiciously similar to those on a Nissan 350Z. The curve at the end of the doors is also a delicious detail.

What I don’t fancy, apart from the aforementioned facial section, are the wing-mirrors. Lots of Citroen’s latest models also suffer from this ailment, which is wing-mirrors that look like antennae. They look dumb. And wing-mirrors are an important design detail for me. I think my Volvo S60 is one of the best looking cars on the road today, but if it had the wing-mirrors of the post-2004 models, I wouldn’t like it.

Would I buy one? Hmmm. If I were looking for a coupé, perhaps this would be my choice, though that snout and the fact that it’s a Peugeot would make me think twice.

So here’s my prediciton for the 308 RC Z: Runaway success.

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