Admittedly, my prejudices against the RCZ were great. Larger than the trunk of the RCZ, as it turned out later. What should I expect from a Frenchman who looks like a 1: 1 copy of the Audi TT? The flat, cute roof, the window areas shaped into embrasures and the distinctive bottom in both cases. The similarities are striking.
But the RCZ also has a unique selling point. Its “double-bubble” roof with the black roof arches dominates the side line and the two shapes above the occupants' heads also act from behind in the sense of a distinctive visual personality development.
In the case of the test car, the biggest surprise is to be found under the bonnet. The RCP, which started as a test for THP200, turned out to be a real fun cannon. A Frenchman with plenty of thrust, fine drinking manners and wrapped in a haute couture for compact athletes.
The history of the RCZ begins at the IAA 2007 as a concept vehicle. The reactions of the audience were clear then and only two years later, again at the IAA in Frankfurt, the production version followed. The basis of the pretty Frenchman is the Peugeot 308.
Similar to the Ingolstadt colleagues, the French also use a platform that has already been tested many times. In the TT, it has been the platform of the Golf, the RCZ is the 308 available as a base camp. The Frenchman is assembled in exile in Austria, at Magna Steyr.
Since 2013 there is the model maintenance version of the RCZ. In particular, the front bumper was reshaped and the headlamps received LED daytime running light assistance. The character of the RCZ was not touched.
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Seconds 0 at 100 km / h
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So it looks like an Audi? And under the hood is an engine that was developed together with BMW for the mini models. Is that a good thing? Can that be french And if so, what does the end product stand for?
The 1.6 liter big four-cylinder turbo braces decent 200 horsepower on the crankshaft. That's just sporty for a 1.4 heavy 2 + 2 seater. If you let the engine on, then a sound membrane provides more sound than is actually available. In the case of the RCZ, however, the engine sound does not look too artificial.
Out of the village, up on the country roads in the Spessart. The RCZ has six short geared gears that can be managed via a bony-feeling gear. The switching paths are short enough, but the feeling of stirring in the aisles cannot completely hide the fact that mundane large-scale technology is at work at the other end of the stirring stick.
The 1.6 liter turbo petrol engine does its best. While he climbs up the speed ladder with a throaty, rattling sound repertoire, he distributes his power - atypically turbo - finely usable over the entire speed range. From the basement at 1.400 to 6.400 revolutions, the engine impresses with its elastic response and a motor characteristic that is more familiar from naturally aspirated engines.
The sound always remains a bit rougher than you would expect a small turbo four-cylinder, whether that is a success of electronic sound acoustics? If so, then I find it somehow cool in this version for the first time. The acoustics go well with the short gear ratio and the spontaneous power outbursts of the turbo engine.
The steering wheel in its leather variant could be steeper, the sports seats would be even more comfortable with a little more thigh support and with 4 cm less seat height, people with a long upper body would also be able to bring themselves into a decent sitting position.
It's grumbling at a decent level - but you have to criticize something. Because even the instruments of the RCZ seem like from Ingolstadt. It is not a mistake, on the contrary. If you copy the optimal solution, you won't do anything wrong. In the RCZ, the scales and hands were also drawn with a fine line. The entire cockpit becomes coherent, clean, sporty and classy at the same time. Even if the operation of individual components quickly breaks out into French chaos. The RCZ is based on the previous 308 generation and not on the current EMP2 kit of the recently launched new 308. Accordingly, the entertainment and navigation systems are also a generation back. And here you notice the age of the solution in operation.
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Everyday driver, without savings
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Eco expert with a green toe
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Field service with full throttle desire
All figures in liters on 100 kilometers
The well-intentioned attempt to beautify the ambience of the plastic consoles with a little piano lacquer quickly backfires. Too sensitive to fat finger prints and dust deposits.
The RCZ is an 2 + 2 Seater. Adult humans should, however, say goodbye to the experiment of crawling into the second row. For one, the headroom is simply not available and on the other hand, the way behind the front seats is a very arduous. All the more surprising, the space in the trunk. The RCZ offers 321 liters of storage space and a folding rear seat. Who whistles with speed 235 km / h to the next Ikea soon, so he can be sure of the charging options of his French athlete.
And even with the full volume of up to 639 liters, my prejudices against the RCZ were greater than its cargo space. However, the RCZ has shown me that the short 4.30 meter long Frenchman can do more than just look good. He embodies a successful blend of design and driving pleasure and remains at the price still withhold!
At the end...
While the driving pleasure does not fall by the wayside and you are always surprised by the joyous motor performances of the small 1.6 Turbo - you do not have to be prepared for unpleasant surprises at the gas station. It was at least as surprising as the rest of the performance.
The 200 PS RCZ costs a good € 31.000 and thus remains a significant step below the Audi TT.
Sometimes a copy is more interesting than the original. Or?
And who likes it a bit harder, who looks at the Peugeot RZC-R