The Peugeot 308 R Hybrid, revealed at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year, looks set to make production as PSA boss Carlos Tavares has been pictured testing the car on the road.
Peugeot boss Maxime Picat has published pictures of the 493bhp car being driven by Tavares, saying it looks like the car "is ready to move."
It has long been known that Peugeot wants to build a business case for putting the 308 R Hybrid into production, but needs to rationalise the car's development with how many units it could sell. Speaking to Autocar at the car's unveiling in Shanghai, Picat said: "We are quite well advanced with the development, and it looks possible for production, but it is a question of how we commercialise it."
Picat said the concept car was "proof that we can make it, but now I want to be sure that I can sell it if I want to - it is perfectly possible, but it is a question of how much it will cost?"
The Peugeot 308 R Hybrid gets 493bhp and 538lb ft of torque from its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, which sees the 267bhp1.6-litre petrol engine from the Peugeot RCZ R coupe mated to two electric motors. Combined, the car has a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.0 seconds, but emits just 70g/km of CO2.
The 308 R Hybrid has been adapted to cope with the extra power on offer, with the front and rear tracks both widened by 80mm. It sits on 19-inch alloy wheels, clad with 235/35 R19 tyres. It's likely the car's aggressive styling will be toned down for the production version.
The 308 R Hybrid sends its power to all four wheels, and has upgraded brakes front and rear. There are four driving modes - Hot Lap, Track, Road, and ZEV.
Hot Lap mode is designed to make the most of the car's power, while Track only allows access to 395bhp. Track uses the petrol engine and the rear electric motor, with the front one acting as a booster for acceleration.
Road mode has 296bhp and uses the petrol engine, supplemented by the rear motor for acceleration, while ZEV only runs on the electric motors. Peugeot has not said how far the car can travel on electric power alone, but has said it can be fully recharged on a fast charger in just 45 minutes.
At the front, the grille has been modified and features a chequered pattern, while the bonnet has two air scoops, one on either side. It is more understated at the rear, with a narrow spoiler at the top of the tailgate. There are two more air scoops on the bumper, which help keep the battery cool by drawing out hot air.
The two-tone paint job is familiar to the 308 R concept that first appeared at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, although it is blue and black on the hybrid. The paint contains glass particles to add shine, while the colour scheme is normally only used on French competition cars.
Inside, the cockpit is familiar to the rest of the 308 range in many ways, with the same instrumentation. However, it gets four individual sport seats, in fawn leather, while the dashboard is covered in a soft-touch fabric that Peugeot uses on its concept cars.
It has the same small steering wheel as the rest of the 308 range, but with 308 Hybrid R badging. The six-speed automatic gearbox is controlled by paddles behind the wheel, and a head-up display projects the crucial data into the driver's eye-line.
The brand's head of Peugeot Sport Bruno Faminstated hybrid sports cars are the future for the firm.
"We have spent 12 months developing this car so far, and it is driveable - very driveable.As a company, we dont have big engines - the 1.6-litre turbo is the biggest - but electrification is a way to add power in a very clever way.
"Five hundred horsepower with 70g/km is something quite special. A team of 15 people have worked on the car for 12 months -and will continue working on it," he said.
When the car comes to production, it will be by far the most powerful option in Peugeot's range, eclipsing the 202bhp offered by the 308 GT and the 270bhp of the 308 R.
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