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Future models - Peugeot - 208

208 shows softer side of Peugeot

Smooth ride: Peugeot has focussed on improving the ride and suspension of the new 208.

French engineers cut weight to develop a softer-riding and better-handling 208

Peugeot logo25 Apr 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in PORTUGAL

PEUGEOT’S vital new 208 was benchmarked against the Renault Clio for ride comfort and the Ford Fiesta for handling, as the French car-maker attempts to regain the ground lost by the outgoing 207 to its competitors.

Speaking to GoAuto at the supermini hatch’s global launch in Portugal last week, 208 product development engineer Gaetan Demoulin said that achieving greater levels of suppleness from the suspension without detracting from the handling was a top priority for Peugeot’s suspension engineers.

“Comfort was the top priority,” he said. “And we achieved that by decreasing the rigidity of the suspension without sacrificing the handling, feel and balance of the car.”

With some 208 models weighing up to 173kg less than their preceding equivalents thanks to a physically smaller body containing less overhang and greater amounts of high-strength steel, Mr Demoulin said this increased the agility of the chassis to compensate for a softer suspension.

“Many people felt a disappointment with the 207 in that it was very neutral – too neutral – for a Peugeot,” he said.

A smaller steering wheel and quicker ratio were part of a thorough ergonomic rethink to improve driver safety, comfort and interaction with the car.

“From my point of view, the weight loss has been the biggest advance, not just because of the lower carbon dioxide emissions that result, but also because of the gain in driving pleasure that you get.

“The three-cylinder engine models in particular feel the benefits of the lightness regime that the 208 overall has received – yet it is also evident in how finely tuned for comfort it is.

“We chose the Fiesta as a benchmark for handling and the Clio for comfort – but we think we’ve gone one better and created a best of both worlds together in one car.”

Peugeot expects 208 sales to commence in Australia from about September.

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