Peugeot e-208 (2019)

Peugeot shocked the automotive community today by presenting its new supermini, the 208, like it was nothing new or important at all. But the amount of press coverage shows that journalists all over the world consider Peugeot’s announcement something more: the launch of the first ‘real’ affordable electric car for the masses.

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Normally car brands like to scrape as much press coverage as possible by bringing about numerous teasers, video’s, and bits of information over the longest period of time possible when launching a new model. But not Peugeot. Last weekend already saw the main pictures of the car leaked; and now Peugeot decided to just blast it all out.

While the new 208 is an interesting car in itself, sporting a brand new design, innovative interior, and new powertrains, most attention goes towards the all-electric variant. Of course, car makers nowadays boast all the time about their future electric models, but only very few of them actually come with production ready cars which will arrive to market only a couple of months later. Peugeot does exactly that.

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The powertrain in itself is not really new though, since we already know it from the DS 3 Crossback E-tense. However, that car did not arrive yet and is supposed to be a lot more expensive (being both a crossover instead of a hatchback and being from a premium brand instead of a volume brand). The numbers? 136 hp, 260 Nm, 50 Kw, acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds, and a suggested WLTP range of 340 kilometres. These figures show two things. The battery pack itself seems very impressive, sporting the same size as the future Tesla Model 3 Standard Range (SR), but also 100 Kw DC charging and a 3 phase 11kw AC charger. On the other hand, it seems Peugeot cut the cost by using a relatively weak electric motor. 8.1 seconds is not fast at all for an EV (I’d even dare to call it underwhelming), my former Peugeot 206 GTI (2003, 2.0L petrol, also 136 hp) did about the same numbers with 70 Nm less torque and an old fashioned 5 speed manual. Since rumour has it the new E-208 is also destined to succeed the sporty 208 GTi our guess is Peugeot is still hiding a more powerful motor for the future. For that car we’d aim at 170-180 hp and acceleration below 6.5 seconds (which is possible, just look at the BMW i3s and future E-Mini powertrain).

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Of course, we’re all very excited about this new model. We’ve known it would be coming for a long time but it’s still exciting to see Peugeot unveil it at the same time as the regular new 208 and also shipping it to Geneva for the upcoming motorshow. The success of the car, and also our continued enthousiasm, however largely depends on the price tag Peugeot decides to stick to it. If Peugeot is aiming for a decent profit margin it’ll probably arrive around €33k. They can ask that amount, because it is the same price point as the Renault Zoe which now seems a lesser car in every aspect. And; there are no competitors undercutting that price at this moment. The upcoming E-Mini will be more expensive as a premium offering, and Volkswagen’s ID-range is still far from market.

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We’d love it if Peugeot decides to go for a ‘disruptive strategy’ and offer the 208 Electric for €25k in base trim. That would truly break open the market, and challenge the upcoming competition the the fullest. It’d also earn Peugeot valuable points for catapulting its very popular supermini model strong in the EV-era.

 

Geneva 2017: Alpine A110

Another update from the Geneva 2017 motorshow: the reincarnation of the Alpine-brand! Not to be confused with Alpina, the BMW-tuner specialized in modest improvements of well known Bimmers as the 3- and 5 series, Alpine was a small French sportscar brand which stopped production in 1995. It’s wholly owned by Renault, and that company decided it was about time we had a small affordable sportscar once again. And we couldn’t agree more.

Because right now, that particular segment of the car market does not really exist. Sure, we have the Mazda MX-5 (Miata), the Audi TT, and the Subaru BRZ. But those cars only go certain lengths to prove their sportiness. When you want something more hardcore, your only option is the Alfa Romeo 4C, a car that still costs around 60 grand (Euros) and is hard to buy due to limited production. The new Alpine, called A110, will battle to bring a sportier experience to more drivers, effectively lowering the bar to drive something really nice, which is a great idea.

So how does the ‘new’ Alpine change from the ‘old’? As far as we know from Geneva, not that much. The car will be built in the original Alpine factory in Dieppe, and sticks to its roots when it comes to important traits like total weight, driving experience, and price point. Design wise, it maintains its characteristic headlights and the quirky rear window, which makes it easy recognizable. Unfortunately, we don’t have adequate interior pictures as of now.

The A110 is powered by a newly developed 1.8 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol plant, sporting 250hp and 320 Nm of torque. Due to its low weight at 1080 kg, acceleration from 0-100 kph is only 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 250kph. These numbers resemble those of competitor Alfa 4C, which also sports a 1.8 litre turbocharged engine (officially named 1.75 TBi – TurboBenzina) and has similar acceleration.

Production will start later this year for a select group of countries (France as well). The first run will only exist of 1955 units, all in the Premiere Edition with extras as the blue paint job, 18 inch alloys, carbon accents in the interior, and a numbered plaque. There is a fixed price of €58.500 in France. We hope prices will drop to around 50k for mass production at a later point.

Of course, we from AutoExperience would love to visit Dieppe and drive with the A110 ourselves when the opportunity arises..

Geneva 2017: Audi RS5 Coupe

We at AutoExperience already dedicated some words to the new A4/A5 cars from the well known manufacturer based in Ingolstadt, Germany. But today things got more exciting, because Audi brought its RS (rennsport) version of the new A5 to Geneva.

(Are you a Dutch Audi dealership and interested in a review (including pictures) of the new A5/S5/RS5 by us, which will of course be published online, let us know!)

To start with our opinion on the cars design: we are impressed. Where the regular A5 and even the S5 were a bit tame and missed the brute presence of the previous A5, this RS model by Quattro GmbH does everything right by combining the beautiful timeless design of the regular A5 with some powerful extras. The black carbon front splitter, skirts, and smoked headlights are some of these. The extra ‘mini-intake’ left and right from the center grille is an attractive sporty extra with makes it easy identifiable as an RS5.

The interior gets similar treatment: Various carbon elements, beautiful quilted leather with a red / black theme, and a very tasty alcantara steering wheel which you want to grap just from the pictures only. Combine this with what already was the nicest interior in a D-segment car and the overall impression is very good.

Engine-wise, we have a 2.9 litre V6 with two turbo’s. The powerplant produces an impressive 450hp and 600Nm of torque. This is more than the 4.2 V8 which was present in earlier renditions of the RS4 and RS5. Acceleration to 100 kph is below 4 seconds and with the optional Performance package top speed is limited at 280 kph.

The car will probably available later this year (2H2017) and will cost roughly the same as competitors like the BMW M4 and the fresh Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio (90-120k, depending which country you live due to taxes).

 

 

Geneva 2017: McLaren 720S

The British car maker from Woking launched the first car of its all-new line-up, the 720S!

 

McLaren made huge progress since the introduction of the MP4-12C, which marked the relaunch of the brand earlier only known from the legendary McLaren F1. Since the 12C, they set out a strategy where their new cars would fall in different categories, namely the Sport series, GT series, Super series, and Hyper series. Sport series is entry level, with the 540C. Sport in this case being a relative term, because the 540C is comparable to other high volume supercars like Ferrari 488GTB and Lamborghini Huracan. The 570GT focuses more on luxury than raw performance and the 650S is the main model of the Super Series, and the predecessor of this new 720S. A step higher on the ladder is the 675 LT, also as Spider, which is more exclusive and even faster. Top of the line is a true hypercar to the likes of the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder, called the McLaren P1. In all these segments, ranging from roughly 200.000 euros to more than a million for the P1, McLaren has proved to be very competitive.

Where the early cars since the relaunch like the 12C and 570S (650S predecessor) had relatively traditional design, this new 720S is a different story entirely. McLaren definitely wants to distinguish from Porsche and Ferrari with more futuristic design, which can be clearly observed from the otherworldly designed headlights / air intakes. The difference with Lamborghini is that McLarens make abundant use of curved lines, where the cars from Sant’Agata are known for their sharp lines and edges.

The picture above shows another proof of this futurism, with a door construction similar to both a Lamborghini’s take on the scissor door and the Falcon Wings on the Tesla Model X. The idea behind it is a more convenient entry for driver and passenger.

Engine wise, McLaren had the idea to never change a winning team. The V8 is slightly larger with 4 litres instead of 3.8, but still sports dual turbos for a whopping 720hp in total. This is more than the previous top model of the super series, the 675LT. These figures cause hypercar-like acceleration of 0-100 kph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 341 kph.

McLaren also decided to overhaul the interior, with a newly designed carbon fiber monocoque, new button layout, and better infotainment. Most interesting is a new ’tiltable’ instrument cluster, which can be used in dual mode. Restricted mode shows only a horizontal rev counter and digital speed, where the full mode shows a larger full color TFT with more extensive information in a more graphical way.

Pre-orders for the new 720S will probably start very soon, with deliveries expected from Q3 2017. Prices will be probably between the 650S and 675LT.