You are here

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.


Share this page: 

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear’s code of conduct (link below) before posting.

Promoted content