The French automaker hasn’t forgotten its sporty connections and while the RCZ is not getting a successor, hot hatch fans should rejoice because they may be getting something great.
According to the latest rumor on the mill, the brand’s new boss has spilled the beans on an upcoming hero car that will surpass the 308 GTi in the model line and will stand in place of the RCZ R. Jean-Philippe Imparato, the French automaker’s new chief, has hinted he would “love to launch something even faster” than the current 308 GTi, adding “There is space for something. I don’t have a solution but I am on it.” The RCZ R was killed off last year, mainly because of meager sales, even though it sat above the GTi models in terms of performance.
“We are very involved in competition sport, like Dakar, and we don’t want to lose this space from our cars,” Imparato continued in an interview. “I don’t think we will develop a RCZ replacement. On each level of our range – 308, 208 – we will have something impressive in performance. Do we work on a new RCZ or on the fact that the next 308 will be a beast?” There’s already a powertrain for the potential hardcore hot hatch – the one seen on the 308 R Hybrid concept presented in 2015 at the Shanghai motor show. It had the 1.6-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine from the 308 GTi with 270 horsepower but also added a pair of electric motors. The total reached 493 hp (368 kW) and 538 pound-feet (729 Newton meters) of torque – which is more than enough to blast the Focus RS, Audi RS3 or the Mercedes-AMG A45.