Why this sexy Peugeot purrs

29 August 2008
 by 
, Herald Sun

This sleek four-door, four-seater concept is the first glimpse of Peugeot's new 608 luxury sedan.

After the lacklustre response by buyers to the 607 here and in some European markets, the French carmaker has rethought the design direction of the big sedan.

It will be unveiled as the RC concept at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Peugeot has such prestige Germans as the Mercedes-Benz CLS in its sights.

The RC's unique selling point will be Peugeot's latest hybrid fuel technology.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia spokesman Mathew McAuley says the hybrid powertrain is the direction in which Peugeot is going.

McAuley says he also believes there is room in the local line-up for a big luxury sedan despite the lacklustre sales of the 607.

However, he could not confirm if Australia would get such a car.

“We'll have to wait and see,” he says.

Peugeot has sold 293 607s here since 2001 and sales have never really sparkled.

Last year 25 were sold and so far this year only 12 buyers have put a $73,500 3.0-litre V6 into their garages.

The RC concept is the work of Peugeot's new design boss, Jerome Gallix.

It follows a stream of RC show cars, including the RC Spade and RC Diamond concepts from 2002, and the super-sleek rear-engined V12 turbo-diesel 908 RC that was unveiled in 2006.

Like the previous RCs, the latest version has glamorous looks but the hybrid powertrain is a first for an RC concept.

Peugeot describes the concept as a working laboratory that brings together several stylistic, engineering and technological ideas in a single vehicle.

The car is designed to provide a high level of efficiency in performance and environmental impact.

Peugeot has not yet released engine details, but says the hybrid powertrain develops 233kW and emits only 109 g/km of CO2 when on the combined fuel cycle, or zero CO2 when used only in electric mode.

Gallix has made the trademark Peugeot grille and headlights more aggressive in keeping with the car's sleek profile.

When the 608 does go into production it is widely expected to be built off the same platform as the Citroen C5 and feature a similar line-up of turbodiesel and petrol engines.

However, there is speculation it could also use C6 underpinnings.

The 608 is expected to be launched with a choice of 2.0 and 2.2-litre four-cylinder HDi diesels. Flagship variants will be available with a 2.7-litre V6 oil-burner, an engine shared with Land Rover and Jaguar.

The car is expected to go on sale in Europe late next year, the hybrid powertrain later.

 

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