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High-performance as we know it is dead: Peugeot

The head of Peugeot, Jean-Philippe Imparato, says the days of traditional high performance powertrains are numbered.

The world of high-output, high-emissions powertrains are numbered, according to Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato.

Speaking with assembled media at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, Imparato made reference to the company’s newly developed pair of plug-in hybrid performance powertrains - a front-wheel drive version with 178kW of power and an all-wheel drive version with 225kW.

It allows the brand - and many other brands that are developing plug-in hybrid technology for that matter - to use both edges of the sword, by allowing customers the ability to run on electric power alone, or use electric power to bolster the internal combustion engine’s performance.

For instance, the Peugeot plug-in hybrid models have up to 50km of electric range, with combined claimed fuel consumption of as little as 2.2L/100km and emissions of only 49g/km. That outpowers the likes of the current Peugeot 308 GTi hot hatch (199kW).

Indeed, Peugeot has presented such a performance-bent plug-in hybrid in the form of the 308 R Hybrid concept in 2016, a vehicle with 373kW and 730Nm of torque from a 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid powertrain.

“In a way it’s serious and very technical. But in another way it must be serene, simple, and full of pleasure."

Imparato made it clear that the brand isn’t going to offer any engine with a large capacity for performance use, either. At the moment, the company’s largest engine in passenger vehicles in mainstream markets is a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, and the powerplant used in the 208 GTi and 308 GTi is a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol.

At the moment, the company’s largest engine in passenger vehicles is a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, and the powerplant used in the 208 GTi and 308 GTi is a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol. At the moment, the company’s largest engine in passenger vehicles is a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, and the powerplant used in the 208 GTi and 308 GTi is a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol.

Imparato said the ever-tightening emissions regulations basically restricts what can be offered in the market naturally, and that as the head of the brand, he won’t be drawn to try and offset vehicles with higher emissions - ‘bad boys’, as he labels them.

“I cannot forget that we sold the GTi. We will not forget the performance powertrain - but at the same time, I will not sell bad boys compensated by EVs,” he said, referring to targets for emissions across the entire range of cars sold. If you sell a zero-emission EV, your fleet average drops, allowing you to possibly have a higher-emitting performance powertrain in your range.
 
“We will be compliant without any trade-off between pollution and profitability. I want to be very clear on that. To be compliant, it is very important. I will never accept to lose 20,000 euros per car in order to finance any bad boys with 200 and 300 grams of emissions, because nobody will understand when I explain that I make money polluting the planet” he said.

“That’s why we will first cope with the 2020 threshold and at the same time developing hybrid solutions or EV performance versions, which will keep the future un-boring. 

“But first, I cope with the threshold. The first priority is to be compliant. Just after that? Pleasure,” said Imparato.

Does the idea of a plug-in hybrid performance car appeal to you? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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