Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Coup de cœur: falling in love with French style

In another life I used to drive a red BMW 318i with fat tyres, a sun roof and a whole lot of grunt. I think I imagined myself as a shorter, fatter, hairier version of Don Johnson from Miami Vice. 

I'm now just as short, fatter than ever, hairier, too, and I drive a four-wheel-drive with plenty of kilometres on the clock. I like it because there is room in the back for bales of hay and sacks of chicken feed. 
Taking in the views on Merewether Beach

The only time I get to drive a car that is either new or interesting is when I pick up a hire car; and they are more often than not reliable but bland beasts. 

Last week I was offered the chance to drive a Peugeot on a trip to discover revitalised Newcastle and the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. I expected a tidy 207, or maybe a fun 307. What I was given was something completely different. 

"How would you like to try a Peugeot RCZ 1.6 Turbo 147?" I was asked. I had absolutely no idea what I was being offered, but I smiled enthusiastically. 

What I know about cars could comfortably be written on the back of a postage stamp, but "turbo-charged electric multi point direct fuel injection with variable valve timing on inlet and exhaust valves" sounded pretty good.

And then I saw her; she was sleek, she was black, she was beautiful. It was love at first sight. 

Everywhere I went, from Darby Street in Newcastle to the back roads of Pokolbin, she attracted admiring glances. I hit 130kmh on the Hunter Freeway without even trying, and quickly reeled her back in. 
Looking sharp outside Peppers Convent in the Hunter
Reading my brochure, I discovered this is the fastest production car Peugeot has ever built.

She had a superb turning circle and took off like the wind. Fingers crossed I didn't pick up any speeding tickets before I was able to set the speed limiter to 110.

Yes, there is a speed limiter, a built-in GPS, a thunderous sound system, extremely comfortable adjustable leather seats, excellent headlights and that essential accessory; an adjustable spoiler. 

Apparently she goes from 0-100kmh in 5.9 seconds - although I didn't test it. I did however, check out the surprisingly large boot - capable of carrying several cases of wine. It's a sports car, though, perfect for two; crowded for four (at least the two at the back).  

The driveaway price is around $65,000, which seems more than fair. What a pity I can't afford it. But it was nice to feel special for a week.

If you'd like more information (or even information that makes sense) contact your local Peugeot dealer or the Sime Darby Motors Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, Heritage Building A, Campus Business Park, 350 Parramatta Road, Homebush, NSW, 2140. www.sdmg.com.au.

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