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Peugeot's 308 R Hybrid is a 500bhp hot hatch
The 208 GTI proved Peugeot is, at long last, recapturing at least a little of its once-legendary hot hatch mojo. This Shanghai-bound concept - the 500bhp 308 R Hybrid - won’t dent that impression of upwards momentum.
Yep, 500bhp. That’s more-than-BMW-M4 power, from a Golf-sized family hatch. Such go comes courtesy of a petrol-electric hybrid arrangement that sounds eminently plausible: a combination of Peugeot’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo, and a pair of electric motors.
The former generates - as it does in Peugeot’s RCZ R - 270bhp in its own right, all sent to the front wheels. The two e-motors - one linked to the six-speed gearbox up front, the other on the rear axle - each add a further 115bhp, fed by a 3kWh lithium ion battery that can be recharged from the mains.
With a total torque output of 538lb ft, this four-wheel drive hot hatch is fast. 0-62mph takes 4.0 seconds, Peugeot reckons, with top speed limited to 155mph. Economy is rated at 94mpg, while CO2 emissions, officially, would stand at 70g/km. But we all know how wonky such tests are when it comes to plug-in hybrids.
Even so, this is one realistic, production viable powertrain. And the rest of the car is equally non-fiction, though rather tasty at the same time.
The 308 R Hybrid sits on a track 80mm wider front and rear than the 308 R, and wears 235-section tyres wrapped around 19-inch rims.
Batteries and all, kerbweight stands at 1,550kg, a couple of hundred kilos north of the Ford Focus ST (which admittedly has half the power, but still…).
As with many of Peugeot’s recent concepts, the R Hybrid employs a two-tone livery: that blue paint around the 308’s front is, we’re told, ‘developed using fluorescent pigments and glass particles’. It remains unclear whether these glass particles are chunky enough to, say, offer a gentle grating to pedestrians who brush too close. We suspect not.
Glasspaper paintjob aside, the exterior is far from Parallel Universe Vapourware, and it’s the same story inside.
Unusually for a French concept, there’s no mention of, say, telepathically controlled heating knobs, or an abacus in place of the steering wheel. Though the R Hybrid gets ‘four individual sports seats’ and dashboard covered in a digitally woven fabric, it all sounds decidedly… real.
As does the fact that, if you’re feeling especially sensible, you can drive the 308 R Hybrid in 300bhp ‘road mode’ - which disables the front electric motor - or even on electric power alone, that battery clawing back power through regenerative braking.
Obviously you’re not going to drive the 308 R Hybrid in one of its more sensible modes, because (a) if you’ve got 500bhp available, why wouldn’t you use it, and (b) it’s not actually real.