Peugeot 308 R and 208 Hybrid FE Concepts revealed

* 270bhp 1.6-litre engine * Extensive carbonfibre bodywork * Joined by 208 Hybrid FE at Frankfurt...

Peugeot 308 R and 208 Hybrid FE Concepts revealed

This is the Peugeot 308 R – one of two new concept cars that will be revealed by the company at the Frankfurt motor show. 

The 308 R Concept is based on Peugeot’s new family hatchback, but has the same 270bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine from the RCZ R with a six-speed manual gearbox. 

The extensive bodykit is the most noticeable change over the production version of the 308 – a deeper front bumper houses a wide, slatted vent with huge air intakes on either side. The chrome radiator grille also has a matt black chequered finish. 

The track of the car has been widened by 30mm and the ride height has been lowered by 25mm. The wheelarches have been stretched to add to the muscular stance - they're filled by unique 19-inch five-spoke alloys. 

The bespoke bodywork isn’t just for show. The doors, front wings, side panels and sills, bonnet and bumpers are all made from carbonfibre, which means the R Concept's 0-62mph time will be similar to the RCZ R coupe's 5.9 seconds. 

The 308 R Concept is fitted with a trick differential that distributes torque between the front wheels to maintain maximum traction during rapid acceleration and braking – it also helps to minimise understeer through fast cornering. 

For now, the 308 R is just a concept, but it gives clear hints as to how a hot version of the new hatchback might look. 

Alongside the racy concept, Peugeot will be showcasing the 208 Hybrid FE, a petrol-electric hybrid version of the supermini with CO2 emissions of 49g/km CO2 and average economy of 112mpg. 

The 68bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is mated to a 40bhp electric motor, and the car’s weight is reduced by 20%. 

The 208 Hybrid FE uses composite materials within the body shell, panels and the floor to save weight – even the glass windows have been replaced with lighter polycarbonate. The rear of the car has been redesigned to reduce drag, with an extended tailgate spoiler. 

Peugeot has ditched the wing mirrors in favour of a rear-view camera set-up, which means that the view behind is likely to be shown via the main screen on the dashboard. The 208 Hybrid FE does without some electrical assistance, too – there’s no power steering and no brake servo. 

Peugeot claims that manoeuvrability around town isn’t adversely affected though – the concept uses skinny 19-inch wheels like the BMW i3 city car launched earlier this month. The rear track is 40mm narrower to improve aerodynamics, and yet more weight is shed from the suspension by using flexible glassfibre ‘blades’ instead of conventional springs and wishbones. 

The 40bhp electric motor weighs just 7kg and provides both the reversing and primary braking functions. It also allows for a limited amount of electric-only driving, too. 

Despite the focus on weight saving for better fuel economy, the 208 Hybrid FE also has warm hatch performance; 0-62mph takes 8.0 seconds with the 1.0-litre engine and electric motor producing maximum power. 

Like the 308 R Concept, the 208 Hybrid FE is purely a showcase at the moment, but some of the weightsaving elements could well end up on production models. 

By Ed Callow