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New ID, higher price for Peugeot RCZ

Face-off: Peugeot claims the new-look $58,990 RCZ is more than just a facelift.

Swoopy Peugeot RCZ coupe restyled, more expensive with mid-life upgrade now on sale

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7 May 2013

HOW much would you pay for a nose job? Peugeot reckons the going price is about $4000, and is pinning the future of its sleek, svelte RCZ coupe on it.

The French brand has officially rolled out the restyled version of its 2+2 coupe, saying that while the list price before on-road costs has risen to $58,990 for all three versions, it now carries an extra $5800 worth of equipment – and a nod to black being the new “in” colour – to offset it.

Anyway, as any premium clothing brand will tell you, draping yourself in the latest fashion is always going to cost a little more. And besides, it’s still about $10,000 less from what Peugeot believes is its closest natural competitor, Audi’s more upmarket – and more premium – TT coupe.

Peugeot has argued that the latest RCZ has gained a “distinctive new identity” three years on from the coupe’s introduction to the Australian market that cannot be labelled a simple facelift, but in reality it is.

From the front, buyers will notice a difference from the old model. The now-Xenon headlights framed in titanium-look trim are reshaped, losing their sharp-pointed leading edge for a softer look, and the slightly slab-look, chrome-lined grille with its vertical foglights has gone.

The front is now more conservative – almost understated – and includes a higher-set matte-black grille offset by a lower airdam running in a slash below it, trimmed in LED daytime running lights.

The standard chrome roof-arches are gone, replaced with black versions that, along with the heavily tinted windows and double-bubble rear glass, give the impression that there’s a distinct nothingness above the heavily sculpted side profile with its bulbous rear wheelarches.

Inside those arches sit now-standard 19-inch rims sporting thin strips of Continental ContiSportContact rubber. Continuing the black theme, the brake callipers sitting inside those wheels are, you guessed it, fashionably black.

From the rear, everything looks the same. It even still sports the small spoiler that pops out from its housing behind the rear window, raising to a jaunty 19-degree angle at speeds above 85km/h, and a more rakish 34 degrees well in excess of Australia’s speed limits.

Mechanically, the RCZ is a carry-over of the previous generation. That means it uses the same turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, or a 2.0-litre diesel four-pot mated exclusively to the manual gearbox.

Both drivetrains are sourced from Peugeot’s tie-in with BMW-owned British brand Mini. The sophisticated petrol engine’s outputs remain at 147kW of power and 275Nm on a diet of premium unleaded fuel for the manual version, falling to 115kW/240Nm for the auto version, while the diesel produces 120kW/340Nm.

As the diesel model only represents about five per cent of sales, customers will need to order the oil-burner rather than pick it out from the showroom floor.

Underneath, the RCZ keeps the previous model’s suspension and brake set-up. That means disc brakes all around, with the front ones vented, while Macpherson struts up front and a multilink system with a hollow anti-sway bar at the rear keep the RCZ glued to the ground.

Apart from the nose and inside the wheelarches, you need to open a door to see what is different.

The interior looks much like it did before, including the squared-off steering wheel and heavily bolstered front seats, although with subtle differences. A patch of dark plastic now forms the gear selector housing on the automatic version, there’s a tiny bit more cold-touch aluminium trim on either side of the dash, and leather inserts fill the door trim.

The dash, offset by the distinctive analogue clock that you can also buy as a wristwatch, is still swathed in dark faux leather, offset with white contrast stitching.

The big difference, though, is that a multimedia screen now pops up on the dash when you crank the ignition, and includes a nicely high-resolution satellite navigation system. Unfortunately, there’s no reversing camera attached to it, so you still need to rely almost solely on the bumper-mounted sensors to back up the poor rearward vision.

Peugeot’s update to the RCZ, then, is mainly for the well-heeled fashionistas, although like anything else new that stands out from the crowd, they will have to dig a bit deeper for it.

There was enough of them around to see the previous RCZ roll out of Peugeot’s Australian showrooms at the rate of about 25 a month, and the French brand is hopeful that momentum will continue.

Peugeot RCZ Pricing*
1.6 147kW$58,990
1.6 115kW (a)$58,990
2.0 HDi$58,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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