Just recently we showed you how Peugeot was using a painfully limber dancer to help sell its newest vehicle, the 208. Peugeot has now released that there has been a new model of the 208 that has been in production since it became a concept. This new model is the 208 R2 Rally Car.
What’s better is that Peugeot is not only using this model as the replacement for the 207 Super 2000, but the French automaker is also offering this FIA-approved rally car for sale to the general public. That’s right, if you are looking to get into rally racing, you can walk into a Peugeot dealership, actually the Peugeot Sport Racing Shop, lay down a large sum of money and walk out owning a “rally ready” hatchback.
With some certainty we can say that the chances of the 2013 208 R2 Rally Car having the exact same specifications as Peugeot’s actual rally model are very low. Having said that, this model comes already certified and you can jump into lower level rally races and possibly take home some cash prizes.
Click past the jump to read our full review.
For the most part, the 208 R2 Rally Car looks like the standard 208. From the images that Peugeot released, we know that the R2 will be available in white, but there are no other colors mentioned. On the front end, you have the standard upward-angled headlights with projector lights. The front bumper and grille are the same that you get with the standard 208, except that there are two black sections – one on each side of the bumper – with “208 R2” inside of the black sections. There is a four-colored vertical stripe – red, dark blue, yellow, and medium blue – on the lowermost section of the bumper.
Down the side of the 208 R2 there is the same four-colored stripe, starting near the rear of the front wheel well and running to just behind the rear quarter window. There is also a black decal, just like on the front bumper, which starts on the front part of each door and flows around the rear wheel well. Inside of this black section is “208.”
On the backside bumper, there’s the same four-colored stripe, and of course the same taillights found on a standard 208. At each corner of the 208 R2 is a body-color-painted wheel that is strictly regulated by FIA for width, diameter, and weight. These dimensions are 6.5 inches x 16 inches when set up for asphalt and when set up for gravel, it uses 6-inch x 15-inch rims.
With the 208 R2 replacing the 207 Super 2000, Peugeot has saved 40 kg ( 88 lbs.) in total weight. In rally circuits, every single pound counts. The 207 R2 measures in at 3,962 mm (156 in.) long and 1,739 mm (68.5 in.) wide, and weighs just 1,030 kg (2,270 lbs.), which is 30 kg (67 lbs.) less than the standard 208.
On the inside, Peugeot completely gutted the 208, as the only original pieces remaining on the 208 R2 are the dashboard, HVAC vents, and door panels. Peugeot replaced the front seats with two Sparco seats with racing harnesses. The rear seats are gone altogether. The steering wheel is, of course, replaced by a standard racing wheel with an LCD screen behind it.
There is no mention of it, but we can pretty much assure you that the radio and HVAC controls have all been removed.
A multi-point roll cage keeps the driver and co-driver safe in a rollover accident. Directly under the front of the driver’s seat is the obligatory fire extinguisher. The typical spare tire is deleted and replaced by a full-size spare that it held in place using a three-piece nylon strap where the rear seat once was.
Engine and Drivetrain
The engine and drivetrain saw significant upgrades over the standard 208. The standard 208, with its 1.4-liter engine, produces an unenthusiastic 67 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, which would net you a dead last finish in any rally. Peugeot fixed this by installing a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that pushes out 185 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 140 pound-feet of torque at 6,300 rpm.
Instead of using a turbocharger to achieve this kind of power, Peugeot resorted to an aggressive variable valve timing system on the intake and exhaust camshafts. This helps avoid turbo lag and also makes the 208 R2 a more driver-friendly car as opposed to a powerhouse.
This 1.6-liter engine uses a Magneti-Marelli indirect fuel injection system. The throttle valve is a single motorized valve, making it a “fly-by-wire” design. This means there is no cable connecting the gas pedal to the throttle body, rather an electric signal that opens and closes the valve.
The transmission is a five-speed manual that features its own cooling system, via an air duct on the front of the 208 R2 that sends air to the cooling fins on the transmission casing. The gear shifting interface is an interesting one, as it is a five-on-the-tree type. This means that the gear shift is mounted on the steering column, as opposed to on the floor. Connecting the transmission to the engine is a ceramic-metallic 184 mm clutch that’s hydraulically operated.
When whipping around turns in gravel and tarmac, you cannot have the front wheels breaking loose. A preloaded limited slip differential helps take care of keeping the wheels from sliding too much under heavy torque.
Overall, this engine build is not superb, but it is well-tuned for its purpose. Rally cars are intended to be easy to drive through all sorts of surfaces, so there needs to be more focus of ease of use, as opposed to power. This is exactly what Peugeot focused on when building this car.
Suspension and Braking
On the front end, there’s a set of MacPherson struts attached to a wishbone suspension system, which has been designed to extend wheel travel. The front antiroll bar can be easily changed to one of three varying stiffness levels. The rear end is a strengthened H-beam design with shock absorbers and the same interchangeable antiroll bar as the front end. Both the front and rear suspension systems are fully adjustable for varying conditions.
The front brakes use a four-piston floating caliper on both the gravel- and asphalt-spec models. The ventilated rotors are 12.2 inches in diameter x 1.18 inches thick, when the 208 R2 is set up for asphalt. When it is set up for gravel, the rotors measure in at 11.22 inches in diameter x 1.02 inches thick. This difference in rotor sizes means the caliper bracket must be changed between gravel- and asphalt-spec, but Peugeot does say the caliper remains the same between the two.
On the rear end, there is a set of two-piston calipers. What’s odd is that Peugeot chose to use solid brake rotors on the rear, as opposed to ventilated rotors. The rotors measure in at 11.41 inches in diameter x 0.315 inches thick in both asphalt- and gravel-spec. The solid rotors really throw us off, as they are prone to excessive heat, which negatively affects braking. This can be easily rectified with a mild brake upgrade.
Wrapped around the asphalt spec wheels are a set of 17/60-16 Michelin tires. When the 208 R2 is set up for gravel, it uses a set of 16/64-15 Michelin tires.
The standard 208 comes with electric power steering to help lessen the load on the engine. Unfortunately, electric power steering provides very weak road feedback to the driver, so Peugeot replaced this electric steering system with a more traditional hydraulic system. Peugeot then added in a high-ratio steering rack that allows for quicker response and better feedback.
The 208 R2 can be ordered in several ways and both ways include kits for both asphalt and gravel. The first way to purchase the 208 R2 is only as the kit, which means the owner can have their current 208 turned into an R2. This kit, which includes a fully-built engine, has a €37,500 ($48,873) price tag.
The second way to get this setup is to purchase a 208 with the package preinstalled. This package, which also includes a gravel kit and asphalt kit, comes in at €57,500 ($74,939). For a fully built, FIA-approved rally car, that is a bargain price.
A factory built, commercially available rally car does not have much competition to speak of. Someone could always build their own rally car and maybe save some money, but they then have to get it Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) approved.
All in all, the Peugeot 208 R2 Rally Car can be summed up by one word, awesome! The unfortunate thing is the insane price tag for a compact production model. It is unlikely that many people will be heading out to Peugeot Sport Racing Shops to snag up these factory-built rally cars, when they can build their own to better specifications for less money.
This model will cater to those that would like to get into rally racing without trying to make their way through the FIA guidelines. If you happen to be in this group, we say this is a model you need to pick up as soon as it hits showroom floors in November of 2012.
185 horsepower four-cylinder engine without a turbo
Two separate kits for gravel and asphalt
Economically priced for a factory-built rally car
It’s cheaper to build one yourself
Lack of color options offered
Solid rear rotors are a terrible