Peugeot’s extreme 308 Hybrid R concept car could become reality according to Peugeot boss Maxim Picat. Speaking to Auto Express at the unveiling of the Hybrid R at the Shanghai Motor Show, Picat said: “We are quite well developed with the car and we’re now in the process of commercialising it.”
Assuming Peugeot can make the business case stack up, we could see the car on the road within the next four years, when the first plug-in hybrids will appear across the Peugeot, Citroen and DS families.
Later this year we’ll see a Peugeot 308 GTI, with Picat positioning Peugeot alongside DS and Citroen by saying, “Peugeot is the sporty one. Step by step you’ll see it. The GT-Line and GT models already account for 22% of 308 sales in Europe, then we’ll have another hot model and then maybe the Hybrid R.”
But although Peugeot has a sporty future, that doesn’t include the RCZ coupe. With both Peugeot and Citroen reducing the number of models it makes as part of parent company PSA boss Carlos Tavares’ ‘Back in the Race’ recovery plan, Picat told us that he plans to stick to Peugeot’s core models, with sporty derivatives of those. “In 2014, 13 silhouettes represented 95% of sales and 100% of profit,” he said. “We will produce amazing cars like the 308, but no niche cars in the future, and yes, the RCZ is a niche car.”
The possibility of the Hybrid R making production was backed up by Tavares, who spoke to us about the use of hybrid tech in his brands’ sports cars. “For people who are passionate about cars, like myself, the pleasure you get from a powerful car will come in the future from a combination of ICE [internal combustion engine] and hybrid,” he said. “We can anticipate that in the future the sports direction of our products will be based on a combination of ICE and hybrid.”
It’s not all about sports cars for Peugeot, though. Picat also confirmed that a new SUV is under development, alongside similar models for Citroen and DS. “We’ll definitely have a larger SUV in the D segment by 2020,” he told us.
Peugeot 308 R HYbrid: full details
The 308 R HYbrid is loosely based around the 308 R Concept which was first showcased at the Paris Motor Show last year – a decision on whether to build it still hasn’t been made – but ups the game when it comes to performance.
Peugeot Sport has widened the front and rear tracks by 80mm, added beefier brakes and converted the 308 into all-wheel drive. The powertrain is a combination of the 267bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo you’ll find in the RCZ R, with two 114bhp electric motors bolted to each axle. Peugeot claims the result is 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.
Four driving modes made up of ZEV, Road, Track and Hot Lap, serve up varying degrees of performance. In its most extreme setting, the 308 R HYbrid develops the full 493bhp and 730Nm of torque but thanks to the plug-in hybrid powertrain emits only 70g/km of CO2.
In terms of style, Peugeot has looked to another concept for design inspiration. The gaping 3D air intakes, angular bumpers and the two-tone bodywork has been borrowed from the Quartz SUV concept which also debuted at last year’s Paris Motor Show.
“With our experience in hybrid vehicles developed with the Peugeot 908, the high-performance hybrid powertrain fitted to the 308 gives a glimpse of the potential for ultra-sports models in the future” said Bruno Famin, Director at Peugeot Sport.
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