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The axe has fallen on the once groundbreaking Peugeot RCZ and its imminent disappearance from dealerships presents a unique opportunity to own an exclusive set of wheels.
Peugeot have discontinued the model; production shut down last year, and the price of remaining RCZ stock in Australia has been slashed to $49,990 drive-away. Previously priced at up to $58,990 before on-roads, potential buyers could save around $14,000 (note: final runout price doesn't apply to RCZ R). There are currently just 15 still available.
When you consider the fact that in 2015 Lamborghini sold 84 cars in Australia and Peugeot sold 70 examples of the RCZ, this is an interesting way to look at it - for just under $50,000 you can have a car that is as rare as an exotic supercar.
It's certainly with a touch of sadness that this final Peugeot RCZ review is published. Our test car has a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine that produces 115kW and 240Nm, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The automatic transmission is only offered with the 115kW engine, the rest of the range includes the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine in 147kW/275Nm six-speed manual and the 120kW/340Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel/six-speed manual. The RCZ R has the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine and six-speed manual transmission that produces 199kW and 330Nm.
It's biggest rival has been the Audi TT, priced from $72,950 before on-road costs, the German offering is considerably more expensive than the French alternative.
The Volkswagen Scirocco R, Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ could be considered competitors in some regards. Though the Toyota and Subaru are both cheaper at $29,990 and $37,150 respectively. The Volkswagen may be a closer price match at $45,990 before on-road costs but lacks the design focussed presence of the RCZ.
After being revealed as a concept car, the RCZ was launched in 2010 with very few changes to the unconventional design and more than 50,000 were made over the five-year period.
The signature 'double bubble' roof was inspired by Zagato, a design company based in Milan, Italy. The eye-catching, aerodynamic design of the curved panoramic glass played an integral role in the numerous awards won by the RCZ.
Interestingly, there seems to be no specific reason for the name RCZ. There are plenty of theories though. Could it be because RC was the designation given to GTi products in France? Or does RC stand for Racing Coupe or Really cool? The Z is rumoured to be a nod to Zagato, even though he wasn't directly involved in the design.
Its unique design is perhaps the biggest drawcard, with its sweeping, swooping lines, black roof arches, retractable rear spoiler, 19-inch alloy wheels and twin sports exhaust. It's small and low with an unquestionable sporty yet stylised look.
All RCZs have automatic bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and rear tail lights, auto wipers, and front and rear fog lights.
Inside, the cabin is showing its age and the old fashioned feel isn't aided by the daggy analogue clock that takes pride of place, positioned between the air-vents on the centre of the dash under the pop-up infotainment screen. You can adjust the angle of the screen to reduce glare, this flexibility is something that a lot of built-in systems lack.
The screen isn't touch sensitive and relies on the use of a small dial and buttons located on the centre stack. Satellite navigation is standard though and it has Bluetooth and USB connectivity with steering wheel controls, as well as a 12V outlet beside the handbrake and dual-zone climate control. There'll be no complaining about being hot in summer, the temperature range goes below 14-degrees and feels even colder at that setting.
The decent allocation of storage space includes two nooks in the centre stack and a small space beside the steering wheel, near the door on the drivers side. The single cup-holder in the centre console however, is tiny.
The leather accented sports bucket seats have a lovely satiny feel and you can position yourself nice and low in the cabin. Both driver and passenger seats are electrically adjustable, they are heated too though it did take a while to find the dial hidden down the side of the front seats.
The RCZ also has cruise control and parking sensors with a visual aid and audible alert. There isn't a rear-view camera but that isn't a big deal because visibility is excellent due to that roof.
The RCZ is technically a four-seat car, though the rear seats would be used very rarely due to their complete and utter impracticality. The space would have been better utilised to make the front of the cabin roomier and increase the cargo area.
The front seatback flicks forward with a lever on the shoulder, but then you need to engage the slow electric adjustment to move the seat base forward. At that point any adult almost needs to be a contortionist to get in and out. Once seated, it is quite uncomfortable and the slope of the roof causes a lot of neck bend. That space is for very small children only and there are no cup holders or air-vents.
Driving the RCZ is infinitely more enjoyable that being squished in the back. It's zippy and peppy, and feels nimble and light on the road. The braking is quite sharp and takes a bit of getting used to while the steering is quite light and smooth, though you will notice a bit of play through the steering wheel over bumps.
Road joins and larger road imperfections tend to jar through the car, the ride is quite harsh due to the stiff springs and firm dampers. On the flip side, it's confident and settled through corners at speed.
Engine noise has been rather successfully banished from the cabin, however road noise is noticeable and you can hear the exhaust note. It sounds good for a while and adds a sense of excitement when tackling an engaging stretch of road, but can be annoyingly excessive if a quiet, relaxing cruise is the name of the game.
The RCZ has a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 7.3-litres per 100km, and after almost 270km behind the wheel in mostly urban environments we recorded 11.2-litres/100km. Peugeot offer a three-year/100,000km warranty, five-year/75,000km capped price serving plan and five years roadside assist.
The Peugeot RCZ is made for those who like a bit of out-there flair. Yes, the interior and media system are dated but it remains sporty, stylish and unorthodox - and there will never be another one.
Click on the photo tab for more images by Christian Barbeitos.