Peugeot RCZ R
The regular Peugeot RCZ, despite being based on the outgoing 308 model, is a surprisingly competent sports car.
It looks good and drives better than you would expect, but it always leaves you feeling like you could do with a little more power.
Fortunately the engineers at Peugeot Sport have listened, extracting an astonishing 270PS from the 1.6 litre engine. Power, as a certain tyre manufacturer says, is nothing without control, so there has also been a number of mechanical changes made to harness the increased output.
New suspension geometry is married to stiffer suspension, and a wider track for extra stability is also evident. The pop-up rear spoiler has been replaced by a larger fixed wing at the rear and there are fat Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres.
All of that combines with a limited slip differential to direct power to where there is most traction.
All these changes, along with a little weight saving here and there (possibly rendered redundant by the overwhelming number of ‘R’ logos plastered around the car) results in a reasonably frugal and lightweight number that flings its way from one corner to the next in a rather pleasing way.
Make no mistake; the RCZ R is a properly accomplished sports car. Turn in to a corner and the front end simply sticks. Be a little brutal with your right foot and the car indicates its displeasure before the differential works its magic and you simply slingshot out of the corner towards the horizon.
Physics takes over eventually, with no amount of electronic and physical gadgetry ultimately able to prevent what turns to under steer, but it happens far later than you might expect from a front wheel drive car and is perfectly controllable with some delicate brake and throttle application.