Peugeot’s hottest hatch

308 R HYbrid

When you hear the word ‘hybrid’, it’s understandable that your attention begins to waver. There’s no blame from us – you can’t help but picture the terribly boring Toyota Prius. However, several manufacturers are determined to get rid of this negative image, particularly BMW’s i3 and i8 models, which are quite fun to drive. And it seems as though the Peugeot’s new 308 concept, known as the 308 R HYbrid, will arrive along similar lines.

A compact hatchback with a petrol-electric powertrain, it has 500hp (more than a BMW M4!) and four wheel drive, along with an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h, not that you’re likely to get anywhere near that. Given the power bubbling away beneath the bonnet there’s no surprise that this very hot hatch is very fast: 0-100km/h takes a mere four seconds.

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Peugeot’s Quartz concept

QUARTZ_1409STYP001Meet the Peugeot Quartz Concept – due to be unveiled to the world at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in October – a four wheel drive, hybrid crossover with 500bhp on tap. Following a line of some very tasty Peugeot concepts, including the Exalt, Onyx and the fantastic Dakar racer, the Quartz sounds a little conflicted about what it wants to be.

It’s powered by a 1.6L petrol engine with 270bhp, which drives the front wheels via a six speed automatic gearbox. There’s also a pair of electric motors on board – one on the front axle and one on the rear. You might be wondering where the full force of 500bhp comes into the picture. The Quartz has three drive modes; full EV (which will get you approximately 50km of travel), Road mode (only the front axle is engaged) and finally Race mode. When you select the Race setting, the Quartz harnesses the combined power of the petrol engine and the electric motors.

It’s quite the looker too, all sleek lines and curves, sitting on 23-inch alloy wheels. There’s an electronically retractable step for easy access and two rear spoilers which flow from the roof, not to mention the scissor doors. Inspired by basalt – a strong and light rock formed when magma cools – you’ll find a range of materials inside including digitally woven textile, black leather and red-tinged door frames milled from a composite material. Four bucket seats means there’s a little extra room to play with, while the driver’s ‘i-Cockpit’ includes a head-up display.

We like it already.

Peugeot unleash the Exalt

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What springs to mind when you think of Peugeot in 2014? A budget hatchback? Or a refined yet still relatively ordinary family saloon? Chances are, barring one or two anomalies such as the RCZ or 2012’s Onyx concept, the Lion badge doesn’t tend to conjure images of a beautiful and unusual sports car.

Step forward, the Exalt concept.

Due to be officially presented to the world at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show later this month, the Exalt is really quite something. It seems to be the next stage in the Onyx’s evolution, a five-door hatchback replete with slick and straight cut lines, twin headlamps, aero creases along the sides and an aggressive prow. To us, it seems like there’s a little of BMW and Mazda in the mix, though Peugeot have said its bare steel bodywork is a tip of the hat to French car manufacturing during the 1920s and 30s, hand-formed by a120096 panel beater. It’s not very long – 4.7m, and neither is it very high, just 3.1m to the top of the roof, including the huge 20 inch wheels.

And it features shark skin.

Ok, technically speaking, it’s not skin from an actual shark, which would be sure to have PETA up in arms. According to Peugeot, it’s actually an ‘efficient textile’ which was inspired by the skin from a shark, and which improves the drag coefficient of the car. That doesn’t impart the same level of coolness on the Exalt, but is still impressive nonetheless, at least from a technical standpoint.

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