Back in the present and Peugeot’s technical prowess is demonstrated by the revolutionary 208 HYbrid Air 2L, a real-life test bed for an exciting new power plant. The Brand’s shift upmarket is displayed by the New 308 GT and New 508. And the expertise of Peugeot Sport is exemplified by the 208 GTi 30th.
The Quartz Concept shows Peugeot’s idea of what a next generation SUV should look like. Its dramatic design discards the traditional central B pillar and replaces it with scissor doors that combine with a retractable ‘running board’ to ensure easier access to the cabin.
And what a cabin it is! Following the trend of previous recent Peugeot concepts it combines high-tech and natural materials. In a world first it uses digitally woven textile. But this is used together with basalt, a volcanic rock that blends strength and light weight. The pillars and roof are trimmed in black leather while seat cushions and backs are covered in fawn-coloured chiné leather. Bucket seats have exposed structures and four-point harnesses, and there’s a head-up display plus a large configurable touch screen. Power is provided by a 500hp plug-in hybrid drive train comprising a petrol engine plus two electric motors.
The Peugeot Exalt Concept appears in a different guise to the version unveiled at the Beijng Motor Show in April. As with the previous model, the Paris Motor Show incarnation of Exalt is a premium car that employs locally sourced and recycled materials. A new finish uses ‘Newspaper Wood’ that’s created from the pages of the business dailies. Paying homage to the art of the French car industry from the twenties and thirties, its bodywork is hand-formed by a master panel beater. The rear is trimmed in a textile known as ‘Shark Skin’, which is highlighted by a clear line that creates a sophisticated tone-on-tone transition between the bare steel and the grey of the textile.
Average CO2 emissions for new Peugeot vehicles sold in Europe stood at 111.1g/km at the end of June 2014, compared with 115.1g/km for the same period in 2013. This makes the Brand one of the most successful car makers in Europe in terms of carbon reduction.
This impressive performance is largely the result of the rapid roll-out of Euro 6 engines, spearheaded by the BlueHDi diesel and the three-cylinder PureTech petrol variants. The 1.2-litre PureTech 130 S&S engine is the first petrol engine to feature Peugeot's Stop & Start in conjunction with automatic transmission. It is now available with the new six-speed automatic gearbox for the New 308 range.
Peugeot takes things a step further with the 208 HYbridAir 2L demonstrator. This halves the consumption of the already highly efficient 208, resulting in 141mpg (2.0l/100km). Weight is significantly reduced by using a mix of steel and aluminium. And aerodynamics and rolling resistance have been improved thanks to a wealth of details such as an intelligent air intake, a lower stance and large diameter, narrow tyres.
HYbrid Air combines an internal combustion engine – in this case a 1.2-litre PureTech 82 that’s been made 4% more efficient – with a series of hydropneumatic features. These include a compressed-air tank, low-pressure tank acting as an expansion chamber, and combined engine-pump system mated to the transmission. This generates, stores and releases compressed air to assist and even replace the petrol engine. The result is maximum efficiency during transition phases, such as acceleration and getting off the mark.
The New 508 cements Peugeot’s position in the D segment. It points the way for future models in the range with a new front grille featuring the famous Peugeot lion in the middle. There is also a re-profiled bonnet. Bumper-integrated daytime running lights come as standard and the rear lights are more horizontal than their predecessors to create a clearer visual identity.
The New 508 is packed with technological advances. All models at level two and higher come with a seven-inch touch screen that incorporates the majority of the car's functions. Other features include Open & Go (keyless entry and start), an automatic electric parking brake plus two new additions: a reversing camera and blind-spot monitoring. The New Peugeot 508 has eight engine options, two petrol and six diesel.
The Peugeot 308 GT is a car for driving enthusiasts. Available as a hatchback or SW estate, it boasts distinctive style, outstanding performance and an exceptional drive, allied to impressive fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions.
There are four versions, with both the GT 205 and GT 180 available as a hatchback or SW, powered by either a 1.6-litre THP S&S petrol engine delivering 205hp or a 2.0-litre BlueHDi developing 180hp. These power plants are mated to an automatic gearbox, respectively achieving 50.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 130g/km, and 70.6mpg with only 103g/km.
Assertive sports styling includes headlamps with 62-LED units, side skirts and 18-inch Diamond alloy wheels. The cabin is trimmed with anthracite-coloured roof headlining while there is red stitching on the upholstery, dashboard, door panels and gear lever. All Peugeot 308 GT models feature the Driver Sport Pack which enhances the engine soundtrack, the multi-media interface systems and the overall thrill of the drive, with sharper power steering and accelerator pedal performance.