This is the RCZ, Peugeot's answer – although they wouldn't thank you for saying it – to Audi's successful TT sports car. The RCZ was formally launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but most British buyers will get their first chance to see it at the forthcoming MPH Show, a sort of car circus or variety event that takes place at Earls Court between November 5 and 8.
Peugeot's move highlights the challenge car manufacturers face in introducing their products to British buyers in an age when the still-large UK market seems unable to sustain a regular mainstream motor show of its own – the 2010 British show (it was normally a biennial fixture) was cancelled in March this year. This has increased the attractions for the car-makers of alternative car-related events such as MPH and Goodwod's Festival of Speed.
For Peugeot, there's quite a lot riding on the RCZ. As a sporty specialised niche model, it probably won't sell in huge numbers even if it's a success, but if it makes the right sort of impact, it could still help Peugeot rediscover some of its old zing. In the Eighties and Nineties, the French manufacturer won legions of fans with exciting models such as the lively 205GTI but its current rather stodgy line-up could badly do with an injection of some of that old Peugeot flair.
The RCZ goes on sale in the UK in April 2010 at a price of about £22,000.