Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi

GT

Peugeot RCZ GT
Peugeot RCZ GT rear
Peugeot RCZ GT interior
Peugeot RCZ,  boot

IT'S not often that someone is interested enough to take photographs of a car that I'm driving - unless it's a brand new car that hit the streets only in the previous few weeks.

But the Peugeot RCZ is one of those cars which still entices enthusiasts to walk across to it to take a closer look, or in this case take a photograph.

And perhaps it's not surprising. For it's probably the most striking car the French manufacturer has produced, and it has a very high rating on the desirability scale.

There is a resemblance to an Audi TT, but the more I looked at the RCZ with its distinct double-bubble roof and rear window the more I felt it's design was so clever it just nudged the TT out of the picture.

Having driven the petrol-fuelled models I was interested to compare the new diesel version, with its powerful yet frugal 163bhp power plant.

Not that, from the outside, you get any indication of whether the car is petrol or diesel as there are no telltale badges. In fact there are not even any badges to distinguish the Sports version from the more expensive GT.

If you pay the extra £2,300 for the GT you get features like leather upholstery, electric and heated front seats, front parking sensors in addition to rear parking sensors and 19-inch alloy wheels, all of which add to what is already a very glamorous car.

In terms of performance the diesel version falls between the two petrol ones but is some 10 miles per gallon more frugal than even the most economical of the two, with its 53.2 mpg.

Turn the ignition key and this car is so refined that, from the driver's seat, there is no hint of a diesel sound.

Once you get the car on road, however, the impressive flexibility of this super smooth engine soon wins you over. Mated to a slick, six-speed manual gearbox it offers superb pulling power and brilliant acceleration.

True the 200bhp petrol engine model has the edge in its 0-62mph time but this diesel model can never really be said to be found lacking.

And the nice part about the diesel RCZ is just how well it copes in high gears at low speeds, reducing the need for too many gear changes.

Just like its petrol-powered brothers the car has tenacious road holding. The suspension is just firm enough to offer the sporty ride this car needs but with just enough give to make it an enjoyable ride on long distance journeys.

And while most sports cars, even the TT, can't offer a generous boot the RCZ can. It boasts 384 litres, which is easily enough for two good sized suitcases. If you need more the two occasional rear seats can be folded down to give 760 litres.

I say occasional seats but to be fair they are only really suitable for children because of the sharp slope of the rear window, not to mention the lack of legroom.

If the exterior of the RCZ is not enough to win you over take a look at the interior.

With its striking leather-covered dashboard dramatically angled away from the driver towards the windscreen, its large easy-read dials and centre mounted analogue clock this car looks like it would be more suited to cruising along Nice's Promende des Anglais than city centre roads in the UK.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot RCZ 2.0 HDi GT

Price: ££25,395

Mechanical:163 bhp, 1,997cc, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max Speed:137 mph

0-62mph: 8.7 secs

Combined MPG: 53.2

Insurance Group: 30

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating:20%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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