Peugeot started making cars in 1889 and by the first year of the last century was already making 500 a year. There’s a lot of heritage, a lot of history, and a huge responsibility to remain true to all that the brand stands for.
So while Peugeot redefined its brand values at the beginning of this year, it was more about a new expression of what the company stands for in the fast-changing 21st century automotive than a case of casting out the old.
These new cornerstones are Trust, Passion and Inspiration, and Peugeot Motors South Africa’s model line-up at the Johannesburg International Show comprises a range of offerings which highlight these three ‘pillars’.
It’ll arguably be the most outrageous car on the show, but pride of place on the Peugeot stand goes to the race-ready 908 HDi FAP Sports Prototype (the car which this year dominated the front row of the grid for the famous Le Mans 24-hour race). And it deserves the limelight because it personifies and embraces the new values.
Powered by a massive 5.5-litre twin turbo V12, this diesel-powered wonder is proof that fast can also be clean and the race version and exhaust emissions are minimised – thanks to diesel particulate filters. Much of the technology being pioneered on the 908 is filtering down to production models, helping to make Peugeot a world leader in low emission/consumption vehicles.
And talking green diesels, the new six-speed version of the 308 HDi – fresh from completing the Coast2Coast Challenge – will represent the brands medium-sized hatchback. Remarkably, this very car recently completed the 1689.7 kilometre route from Kleinsee (North West Cape) to Umhlanga (Durban North Coast) on one 60-litre tank of diesel for an average fuel consumption of just 3.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
The new gearbox – codenamed MCM (for Mechanical Compact Manual) internally, weighs just 45 kilograms and is as compact as a five-speed box and therefore doesn’t have any adverse effect on the vehicle’s turning circle. The HDi model so-equipped (power and torque are unchanged at 80 kW and 260 Nm respectively) will be available in Peugeot dealerships immediately after JIMS.
Also on the stand will be models which cover the full gamut of the 308 range, namely the entry-level X-line, the XS and the flagship XT.
The 308 was officially introduced at the beginning of the year and highlights Peugeot’s strategy of installing smaller, more efficient engines while still preserving dynamic performance. The result is reduced levels of fuel consumption and therefore also reduced CO2 emissions.
One of the key engines is the 1.6 litre VTi (variable valve lift and timing injection) indirect injection naturally aspirated powerplant developing maximum power of 88kW at 6 000 rpm and maximum torque of 160Nm at 4 250 rpm. This torque is available very uniformly and at 2 000 rpm 140Nm – or 88 percent of its maximum capacity – is already available.
Peugeot 308 CC
Another and this time dramatically different 308 on the stand will be the CC, previewed here a month after its Paris unveiling and scheduled for local introduction early in the first quarter of 2009. It stands out by virtue of the superb fluidity of its styling, both in its coupé and cabriolet configurations.
Compared to the 307 CC which it replaces, the 308 CC is longer, wider, lower and has a larger front and rear track to improve its dynamic performance. The extra length and width also benefits the occupants by increasing the passenger space.
While the style of the passenger compartment shares many similarities with the 308 hatchback, the CC has a number of unique styling features, such as the generously dimensioned wraparound front seats with their integral head restraints. They can also be equipped with an inbuilt “Airwave” system, which diffuses warm air around the front occupants’ necks and is adjustable for temperature, flow and direction.
On all models the integral rear head restraints also house the active extendable roll-over protection bars. The roll-over protection bars are automatically triggered the moment a roll-over situation is detected, taking into account factors such as the vehicle’s speed. The roll-over protection bars are extended in less than 20 milliseconds.
In the coupé configuration, the boot volume is 465 litres and 266 litres with the roof folded. Inside, the boot is meticulously finished with a high quality carpet, chrome tie-down rings, straps for retaining a warning triangle and a luggage net for enhanced practicality. Clearly, beauty and practicality are not mutually exclusive.
Peugeot 308 SW
Also on display is the newly-launched 308 SW, a sporty wagon-type vehicle which offers all the qualities of an MPV without the dynamic sacrifices they invariably entail. The SW is also significant for PMSA in that it is the first ‘petal’ of the 308 flower, with further petals to be added on an ongoing basis.
The elongated bodyshell (wheelbase is stretched by 10 cm compared to the hatchback) allows space for additional luggage or a third row of seats. From the B-pillars forward the 308 SW is virtually identical to its hatchback cousin but from there on it’s a case of ‘all change’. This is thanks to the panoramic glass roof which extends past the heads of those in the second row, increasing the total glazed area of the vehicle to about 5.5 square metres, including a tailgate glass which can be opened separately. The roof itself is 27 percent larger than that of the 307 SW.
Like the rest of the 308 range, the SW is powered by a powerful and fuel-efficient engine, in this case a 1.6 litre petrol powerplant with variable valve lift and timing developing maximum power of 88 kW and peak torque of 160 Nm.
Buyers will be able to specify their 308 SW with the optional third-row seats, which are light and compact and therefore easily removed. Because the trio of individual pews in the second row slide through a 90 mm range, the passenger compartment can be seamlessly reconfigured to offer a multitude of seating/luggage combinations.
With the 308 SW, flexibility and practicality has never been so strikingly beautiful.
The 207 is an in-house creation of the Peugeot Style Centre, and has an expressive and powerful shape that creates a sense of movement. Peugeot’s new visual identity is mirrored by the design of the front of the vehicle, with a single air intake framed by two large sleek headlights.
Keeping with its policy of providing choice, Peugeot Motors South Africa offers the 207 with a choice of three engine options, (1.4 and 1.6 petrol, and a1.6 HDi turbodiesel) and both three- and five-door bodyshells. There are also three specification levels, namely XL, XR Plus and XS. Each specification level is tailor-made to meet specific requirements, and provide customers with a stylish and practical solution to compact motoring needs.
At the top of the 207 tree is the GTi, which at 128 kW and 240 Nm from its turbocharged and intercooled 1,6-litre powerplant is able to deliver astonishing performance.
As with all Peugeots, safety was a key priority with the 207 and this paid off with EuroNCAP awarded it with five stars for adult occupant protection, four stars for child occupant protection, and three stars for pedestrian protection. In addition, the 207 was one of the very first vehicles to comply with regulations outlined in the new European directive concerning pedestrian impact.
The 207 is therefore a substantial car by supermini standards and is bigger and safer than the 206 it superceded. On average the 207 is 150 kilograms heavier than an equivalent 206, of which 60 kg went into additional safety, 40kg can be attributed to its size, and the remaining 50kg comes from better quality materials and enhanced comfort.
Peugeot 207 CC
Peugeot pioneered the concept of “folding roof cars” way back in the 1930s with its elegant 401, 601 and 402 “Eclipse” models, and today’s 207 CC continues the tradition. The compact 2+2 Coupé Cabriolet in Peugeot’s line-up is positioned to provide a unique driving experience, irrespective of which model is chosen.
The fully-automated roof opens or closes in about 25 seconds and, significantly, this can be done at speeds of up to 10km/h.
It’s not a case of just getting there that matters with the CC, its about getting there in style. The Sport 1 version allows the footloose and fancy-free to enjoy wind-in-the-hair motoring – if and when they feel the urge.
With 88 kW and 160 Nm from the well-proven 1,6-litre VTi it is no slouch either and wants for little in terms of luxury and safety equipment.
The Sport 2 adds items like leather furniture and CD shuttle and on the mecahnical front, a turbocharged engine. This boosts power and torque to 110 kW and 240 Nm respectively, with high performance 205/45 tyres on 17-inch alloys and a stability control programme ensuring that it can be safely deployed.
Both versions have four airbags and an anti-lock braking system with all the bells and whistles. In addition, two roll-over bars are located behind the rear seats and can deploy in 175 milliseconds to a height of 200mm when various sensors in the car detect an imminent roll-over situation.
Entry-level to the Peugeot brand is thanks to the cute and spunky 107, an ultra-compact four-seater aimed at young buyers, or those after a car which takes up the minimum amount of space and resources. The 107 measures just 3.43 metres and has a 2.34 metre wheelbase and the result is exceptional agility (the turning circle is 9.46 metres) combined with the maximum amount of interior space.
The tiny five-door hatchback is now offered in just a single version, powered by a modern and lightweight 1,0-litre three-cylinder engine – which won Engine of the Year in 2007. . Four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing helps it to produce 50 kW and 93 Nm, with overall consumption of just 4,6 litres per 100 km.
Front and side airbags, electrically-assisted power steering, anti-lock brakes and a full-house of electronic driving aids make this a small car with the safety equipment of a big one. Air conditioning and tuner/CD, electric front windows, a 50:50 split rear seat and rear headrests confirm that comfort and convenience haven’t been sacrificed.
The architecture of the 107 has allowed the front windscreen to be moved forward, giving a perceptible sensation of space. Slender seats were designed specifically for this application and take up the minimum amount of space. The backrest of the rear seat folds flat against the cushion, increasing the luggage volume to 751 litres when loaded to the roof.
Despite its size, the 107 is faithful to Peugeot’s design language, with a youthful feline face expressed in the large smiling ‘mouth’ and elongated almond-shaped ‘eyes’.