Frankfurt 2009: Peugeot RCZ

* Sexy coupe to rival Audi TT * Stays close to concept car * Hybrid version too...

Frankfurt 2009: Peugeot RCZ

What is it?
This is the production version of Peugeots sexy coupe which was first shown, in concept form, at Frankfurt two years ago.

Thankfully, much of the exciting detail from that design study has survived to the road-going version youll be able to buy from next spring, for less than 20,000.

That means youll get the aluminium roof rails arching over your head from the windscreen to the pert rear of the car, although youll also be able to specify different finishes if you like. The racy-looking double-bubble roof has been retained, too.

How much will it cost?
The RCZ 156 THP manual model will start at 19,900.

Two trim levels will be available. Even the basic trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air-conditioning, reversing and an active rear spoiler. The second trim level will add leather upholstery, electric heated front seats a front parking aid and automatic headlights.

A range of personalisation options will be available, including 19-inch alloy wheels, carbon roof panels and directional lights.

How quick is it?
Peugeot has only given performance details for the flagship 200bhp 1.6-litre petrol-powered model so far. It can hit 62mph from a standstill in 7.6 seconds while returning 39.8mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of 165g/km (putting it into the 21% company car tax band).

The 156bhp 1.6-litre petrol is slightly more efficient , returning 40.9mpg and 159g/km. It should still be good for a 0-62mph time of less than nine seconds, however. As well as the standard six-speed manual, this engine will be available with a six-speed automatic.

Diesel fans will be able to pick a 163bhp 2.0-litre that should manage the 0-62mph sprint in a little over eight seconds and can manage 52.3mpg on average. CO2 emissions of 139g/km mean it will sit in the 18% company car tax band.

What will it be like to drive?
Peugeot says the RCZ will have a sporty character. To help achieve this its lower than the 308 hatcback its based on and it also has a wider track for a more squat look and, hopefully, less body lean and more grip through the corners.

Peugeot says it has revised the suspension and braking systems and installed a special anti-roll bar in the 200bhp car. At the back, a pop-up spoiler lifts into two different positions depending on speed.

Anything else?
Yes. If you like you can have a carbonfibre roof thats sure to cost a penny or two and plenty of other options, including those different coloured roof rails and wheels of up to 19-inches.

Alongside the production model, Peugeot is showing the RCZ Hybrid4 at Frankfurt. This version matches an electric motor with a diesel engine, to achieve emissions of just 95g/km. Its likely to go on sale some time after the hybrid version of the Peugeot 3008, known as the 3008 Hybrid4, which will hit showrooms in spring 2011.