When Peugeot showed its RCZ coupe concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007, its most striking aesthetic element was the “double-bubble” shape of its roof that continued into a polycarbonate rear window.
All the signs at the time were that the RCZ would make production, but there was a question over the rear window, which would need to be glass. Peugeot admitted that achieving the technology would be difficult, but with only modest curvature changes to the original design and working very closely with French supplier Saint Gobain, it has achieved its goal.
The result is a highly distinctive car, developed in two years from production go-ahead, that manages to separate itself from the herd. The production car also retains the aluminum roof arches of the concept. The car is structurally stiff, with torsional rigidity quoted at 0.69 microradians/deg under a torque of 100 daN·m.
Front suspension is MacPherson type with drop-link antiroll bar on the less powerful versions. The most powerful gasoline version has increased diameter front hubs developed from Platform 3 (that underpins the Peugeot 407) and a lower bracing bar. Rear suspension includes a torsion beam, two suspension arms, and an integral antiroll bar. Steering is an electrohydraulic rack-and-pinion unit. The more powerful RCZs (gasoline and diesel) have 340 x 30 mm (13.4 x 1.2 in) disc brakes.
Aerodynamic efficiency is good, with a Cd of 0.32. A two-position rear spoiler is fitted; its first position of 19º deploys at 85 km/h (53 mph) and retracts at 55 km/h (34 mph); the second position achieves 34° at 155 km/h (96 mph). Vehicle height is 1360 mm (53.5 in); length is 4290 mm (168.9 in); and width, including exterior mirrors, is 2107 mm (93.0 in).
Initial engine choice includes a high-specific-output gasoline unit of 1.6-L developed in collaboration with BMW, with outputs ranging from 115 to 147 kW (154 to 197 hp). There is also a 120-kW (161-hp) 2.0-L diesel. The most powerful 1.6-L, designated THP200, produces 147 kW (197 hp). It has a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection, and variable-inlet-valve lift. Top speed of the most powerful version of the gasoline car is 235 km/h (146 mph) in manual form. The diesel achieves 216 km/h (134 mph) and combined CO2 emissions of 139 g/km.
Peugeot has also built a prototype diesel hybrid RCZ, although no formal commitment has been made for production. It is based on the Platform 2 (of the Peugeot 3008), which is scheduled for production next year in hybrid form. Designated Hybrid4, it combines the 2.0-L HDi FAP 163 diesel engine, with maximum torque of 300 N·m (221 lb·ft), installed at the front and driving the front wheels, with a rear-mounted electric motor, with maximum torque of 200 N·m (148 lb·ft), driving the rear wheels. The hybrid RCZ prototype has CO2 emissions of 95 g/km and combined fuel consumption of 3.7 L/100 km.
The car is not being built in a PSA Peugeot Citroen plant; instead, the company opted for a specialist in low-volume production runs and chose Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. The decision helped speed the car’s time to market.
The RCZ is described as a 2+2, but the rear seats are small and the slopes of the roof and rear windshield are steep. The rear-seat backrests fold down to extend luggage space from its regular 309 L (10.9 ft³).