Published on July 18th, 2014 | by Gavin0
Fast and Furious: Racing the Peugeot RCZ-R
I make no secret of the fact that I like my cars loud and powerful. Any chance I get, I’m doing my best Lewis Hamilton impression as I sweep around London’s roads clipping the (imaginary) apexes as I go; which often gets me a clip round the ear as I forget I’m actually driving my mum to Tesco in her Nissan Micra. But last week, I finally had the opportunity to feed my need for speed when I was invited to Brands Hatch in Kent to test drive the new 270bhp Peugeot RCZ-R; and it was just as epic as it sounds!
I arrive at Brands Hatch and I see everything from a Porsche 911 to a Ford Puma bombing it round the 1.2 mile windy circuit. Hearing the roar of the engines send a shiver down my spine, and being the competitive sort, I wanted to get out onto the road. And for my first ever track day, the Peugeot RCZ-R is the perfect vehicle. During our safety brief, we run through some of the features of which will prevent us from spinning Peugeot’s fastest ever production car out of control, which I’m truly thankful for.
The RCZ-R is the tuned version of Peugeot’s hugely successful RCZ, which launched in the UK in 2010 to much fanfare. Aesthetically, the R is pretty much the same, apart from a few subtle differences such as a fixed rear spoiler and small red Rs dotted around the interior and exterior. Below the bonnet is a totally different story though. The team behind Peugeot’s iconic World Rally Championship and Le Mans 24 cars got hold of the RCZ and went to town. I don’t want to bore you with all the geeky details, but in a nutshell, they’ve taken the same 1.6l 200BHP engine in the RCZ and boosted it by 70 horses, creating an almighty beast of a car. To help tame the beast, they’ve also installed red calliper brakes inside the cool 19” alloys, and the result is immense.
I’m salivating uncontrollably, and it’s finally my turn to get behind the wheel. Having driven the original RCZ, the interior is very familiar; body hugging suede and leather sports seats, metal gear lever, and Peugeot’s signature diminutive steering wheel; the only difference is there is a dash of red stitching to make it stand out.
With my trusty instructor beside me egging me on to push the car to the limits, I turn on the engine and off I go. I sink the clutch and move into second gear and immediately feel the power through my right leg; this is where the RCZ-R comes into its own. 0-62mph in less than 6 seconds, I’m at 90mph before I know it, and I punch the brakes hard to go round the first hairpin. Feeling the G forces accelerating through the corners is a pant wetting experience, but fortunately the spoiler has the car fixed to the road like a limpet. It takes me a few laps to trust it enough to put my foot to the floor, but I soon get the hang of things and start channelling the inner formula 1 driver.
The grip on the RCZ-R is almost indescribable and I can’t get enough of the sound of the double exhaust reaching the rev limiter; I’m in my element! But far too soon after I first got in, the chequered flag starts waving and I begrudgingly pull into the pit lane. My whole body is shaking uncontrollably as I get out; I think I’m in love. If only every car gave me this sensation!
At £32k, it’s a fraction of the price of the Audi TT RS and comparable to the Nissan 370Z. But the Peugeot comes with a better feature package, and even more impressive is that it’s quoted as achieving 44mpg; that’s better than some family hatchbacks! If I had that kind of cash and no family responsibilities, I’d know where my money would be going.
Peugeot RCZ-R, £32,000 OTR. http://www.peugeot.co.uk/showroom/rcz/r/
If you’d like to relive it my track day, check out this video with a cameo appearance from me:
To book your own track day with the Peugeot RCZ-R, visit http://www.motorsportvision.co.uk/Share This Post