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Peugeot's 308 RC Z Concept

At September's Frankfurt auto show, Peugeot will unveil a sexy roadster concept to challenge Germans like the Audi TT

One of the highlights of the upcoming 2007 Frankfurt IAA motor show in September is sure to be the Peugeot 308 RC Z concept car. The brutish, muscular looks of the 2x2 hatchback coupe are unashamedly reminiscent of the Audi TT, and Peugeot is using the concept to test the waters on a sporty variant of the standard 308. While the company points out that the aim of the RC Z, like any concept, is "to pioneer technical and styling ideas free from the constraints of volume production", the fact that it shares so many components with the existing hatchback hints that the RC Z might be quite close to production-ready. So the response it receives at Frankfurt, the world's largest motor show, could be very telling.

The Frankfurt IAA motor show will see the unveiling of Peugeot's latest concept, the 308 RC Z, based on the production 308 hatch and sedan. With a length of 4.276 (same as the hatchback), a width of 1.840 (25 mm more than the hatchback) and a height of only 1.320 m, the proportions of the 308 RC Z concept car combine a very dynamic design with a high level of road holding.

Styling-wise, the handsome, swooping front end is reminiscent of the production hatch, while the rest of the body borrows heavily from Audi's seminal TT. The concept car is powered by a 1.6 litre THP engine taken from the 208 RC and tuned for a power boost from 128kW up to 160kW, with big low-end torque. A balance of performance and efficiency has been the goal here, with a 0-60mph time around 7 seconds and a decent 6.7 litres/100km.

Safety has also been a focus, with a lane departure warning system, impact protection structures and an in-built emergency beacon that alerts the local emergency services in the event of an accident.

There's a strong feeling the RC Z might not be far from production-ready, and Peugeot do nothing to dispel this myth in the press release, stating, "Concept cars are like the stars, they serve as a guiding light. Even though they sometimes appear too far away to grasp, it sometimes feels as though all it would take is an outstretched arm..."

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