Peugeot Amps Up RCZ for Paris

2012 Paris Motor Show

French automaker to present 260-horsepower RCZ R in Paris as part of facelifted range.

If you've been to Europe recently, you may have noticed something sleek passing by and wondered what it is. It was probably the RCZ, Peugeot's take on the Audi TT. The RCZ has only been on the market for a couple of years, but Peugeot has already worked up a minor facelift set to debut at the Paris Motor Show in a couple of weeks. The most noteworthy element, however, is the emergence of the RCZ R, a performance-oriented model that promises to give the low-slung coupe the performance capabilities it deserves.

Developed in collaboration with Peugeot Sport - the same division that ran the company's front-running Le Mans Prototype team until canceling the program recently - the RCZ R features a returned version of the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine found in various Minis and Citroens, but amped up to 260 horsepower. A revised suspension, limited-slip differential, upgraded wheels and sportier design touches further distinguish the R model from its more pedestrian stablemates, which also benefit from several revisions for the upcoming model year.

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Other versions of the facelifted RCZ come in 154 and 197-horsepower gasoline engines and a 161hp turbodiesel, and benefit from a reshaped grille, LED lamps front and rear, new paint options and a revised interior. The svelte French sports coupe is based on the 308 hatchback but with a much more attractive shape, and is built for PSA by Magna Steyr in Austria - the same contract manufacturer that builds the Mini Countryman, Mercedes G-Wagen, the body shells for the SLS AMG and, until recently, the Aston Martin Rapide.