Peugeot’s all-new Ford Focus rival, called the 308, is as we speak being premiered to the world’s motoring press, but in standard, to-the-shops-and-back spec. A 308 with a fair bit more shove will go on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week – it’s called the R Concept, but much of its proposed performance is firmly routed in reality.
Like, for example, the THP 270 engine, a 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged motor that’s, clearly from the name, a descendant of the current Range of THP engine (Turbo High Pressure) that power the fast Peugeots. But this one gets a big increase in boost to make its significant 270bhp. Indeed, to make this much power from a 1600cc motor, the turbo must be pumping hard, and the THP 270 will have to have pretty special steel internals and forged pistons to handle all that boost reliably. Still, the team from Peugeot Sport who recently sent Seb Loeb to the top of Pikes Peak in an absolute animal-rocket are building the 308 R too, so chances are it’ll be on the ball like Bale.
The THP 270 engine develops its maximum power at 6000rpm with full torque available over a nicely wide spread; 330Nm from 1900 to 5500rpm. Not quite enough power perhaps to demand four-wheel drive, so the 308 R sends its shove through the front wheels and a 6-speed manual ‘box. Fortunately, there is a decent differential up front – made by diff. experts, Torsen – so the front-end shouldn’t be too lively as to be hard to live with on rutted roads.
Performance figures are not confirmed ahead of the Frankfurt show, but with that kind of power and Peugeot deciding to make their new cars lighter than the models they replace, we’d expect a 62mph sprint around the early-6-seconds, and a top whack of around 140mph. More than enough mojo to spread a smile, especially if the chassis stacks up. Peugeot Sport is putting their badge on this too, so we should expect stickiness.
The 308 R Concept sounds like it has the engine back-up spec to mean business, with brakes by F1-stoppers, Alcon; some 380mm tall up front with 4-pot calipers, and 330mm out back. That’s big – hope they make onto the production version. Wrapped around the big anchors are some very handsome 19-inch alloys with suitably skinny Michelin tyres.
Outside, the R gets the usual and welcome dress up parts, as well as a 25mm suspension drop and a good whack with the stiffening stick around the suspension set up. It’s wider, deeper and meaner outside – a combo that’s usually works well on hatchbacks – and with those bigger rims, LED lights accusing away and a couple of fat exhaust tips, the stock 308 is transformed into the kind of car we’d like to show some fast, sweeping bends to.
By Dan Anslow