Peugeot has released their new coupe cabriolet, the 207CC, successor to the much vaunted and hugely popular 206CC.
The French car maker has a long standing affinity for the incorporation of hardtop cabriolets in its model range.
From the time Peugeot bought the rights to use George Paulin's 'Eclipse' roof system in the early half of the 20th century there have been hardtop cabriolets carrying the Belfort Lion badge.
It was the 206CC though, with its contemporary adaptation of this theme which ushered in the current crop of CC models amongst different manufacturers.
Now there is the 207CC, a wholly more substantial car than the 206 ever was. Larger and more powerful, the 207 platform based coupe cabriolet has a very elegant, integrated styling package which looks effortlessly stylish with the top up or down, especially in black.
Peugeot will be offering two 207CC derivatives in South Africa, both powered by 1.6-litre petrol engines and driven through five-speed manual gearboxes.
These engines were jointly developed by BMW and PSA and are similar to those found in the new Mini.
They are available in either naturally aspirated 88 kW/160 Nm guise or in a slightly detuned, turbocharged version of the 207GTi engine producing 110 kW and 240 Nm.
The turbocharged version does not include the 20Nm overboost surge function found in the 207GTi.
Both engines drive through a five-speed manual gearbox which is hardly one of Peugeots best.
Claimed performance for the 1.6 is 0-100 km/h in 10.7 seconds and a top speed of 200 km/h, whilst the turbo runs 0-100 km/h in 8.6 seconds and tops out at 210 km/h.
With a small total swept capacity of 1.6-litres both engines are quite frugal considering their performance, returning in the region of 6.5L- and 7.2L per 100km's respectively for the natural aspirated and turbocharged versions.
We only got to drive the turbocharged version, and at reef altitudes although the make less power than the comparable 207GTi the dynamic package felt altogether more at ease and driveable.
The steering felt meatier and handling surefooted, which could perhaps be aided by the added weight of the hardtop folding mechanics. For a coupe cabriolet which usually dabbles exclusively as a cruiser, the 207CC was quite rewarding to hustle at speed. The only foible was some audible road noise from the 17-inch tyres.
Stylish inside and out
With its larger dimensions, the 207CC is a much easier to live with than the 206 was. The cabin is bigger, the interior, with its hand-stitched facia, is elegant and contemporary and general the driver or passenger seat is a very comfortable, cosseting place to be.
It also comes with a six-slot front loading CD-player.
Luggage space has also been remarkably improved upon from the 206. With the hardtop in place luggage capacity is 449-litres and when retracted it shrinks to 187-litres, which means you can now carry more than a vanity case and a spare tie on a weekend breakaway trip.
Safety has hardly been glossed over either, and the 207CC features driver and passenger front and side airbags.
The side airbags are further augmented by their design incorporating a high reach deployment covering the vulnerable head/thorax area. This is an especially important feature when one is involved in a collision driving with the roof down.
Another concern in cabriolet motoring safety is the issue of roll-over protection. Here the 207CC employs two reverse U-shaped bars located behind the rear seats.
When deployed by sensors in an imminent roll-over situation these bars extent in 175 milliseconds to a height of 200 mm providing potentially life-saving roll-over clearance. They are neatly design integrated too, and having a chrome-like finish flow seamlessly within the overall shape of the 207 when driving with the top down.
Peugeot defined the attainable coupe cabriolet market with the 206 at the turn of the century, ushering in a whole new class of entry lever CC models amoungst a range of manufacturers.
The new 207 is as stylish, yet more spacious and engaging to drive, especially in 1.6-litre turbocharged form.
Priced at R220 000 and R250 000 for the naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions respectively, the original haute couture coupe cabriolets latest incarnation might still offer the best deal of all.
1.6 16v R220 000
1.6 16v THP Turbo R250 000