Peugeot has hailed the success of initial testing of its new 208 Type R5 model, with the vehicle completing its first test programme this month.

The car was unveiled at this year's Paris Motor Show and wowed the crowds with its stylish looks and tantalising performance pedigree.

However, the R5 was just a prototype at that time and the first production-ready model has now undertaken its first outdoor tests, being put through its paces on a demanding rally gravel stage in the south-east of France.

It was driven by Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panser, with the pair highlighting the excellent balance of the vehicle and its exceptional comfort as it tackled the arduous and demanding circuit.

Alexis Avril, technical manager of Peugeot Sport's customer competition department, commented: "We still have a great deal of work on our hands … since we now need to move on to the next phase of development. This will involve putting as many kilometres on the car's clock as possible in order to validate its reliability.

"After that, we will be able to turn our attention to the optimisation of its performance potential."

Landmark dates in the development of the 208 Type R5 so far include assembly of the first roll cage-equipped body shell for the model on November 6th, the firing of the vehicle's engine for the first time at Peugeot Sport's premises in Velizy, France on December 7th and its successful completion of outdoor testing on the 15th.

Earlier this year, the vehicle manufacturer also celebrated an important accolade, with its 207 model being named among the top ten most reliable cars in Europe by Warranty Direct.

The vehicle saw incident rates of 17 per cent over the year to September 2012, placing it joint fifth alongside the Renault Scenic and behind the Volvo C70, Smart ForTwo, Skoda Fabia and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

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Posted by Mark Thompson

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