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Peugeot 908 RC 5.5-litre V12 HDi limousine

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August 11, 2006

Peugeot 908 RC 5.5-litre V12 HDi limousine

Peugeot 908 RC 5.5-litre V12 HDi limousine

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August 12, 2006 Just 12 months ago, we wrote about Peugeot’s delectable two-seat 907 GT coupe concept being prepared for the major European Motor Show of the summer (Frankfurt), and now we’re seeing yet another 12 cylinder luxury masterpiece being prepared for its public debut at Mondial De L’Automobile (Paris) on September 30. This one though is very different as it is powered by a new breed of motor which is mounted behind the passengers. The 5.5-litre V12 HDi DPFS (diesel particulate filter system) diesel engine was designed to take part in the "Le Mans Race Series" programme in 2007 and has a level of performance unprecedented for a diesel engine - more than a 700bhp and an astounding 1200Nm of torque.

The 908 RC is powered by Peugeot’s V12 HDi DPFS (diesel particulate filter system) diesel engine designed to take part in the "Le Mans Race Series" programme in 2007. With a 100° V angle architecture, the engine’s centre of gravity is as low as possible. Two particulate filters are located at the end of each exhaust system ensuring the car’s environmentally-friendly credentials. The originality of the 908 RC resides in its compact design, with the engine arranged in a rear central transverse position. Similarly the compact 6-speed electronically controlled sequential gearbox has been specially adapted to withstand the phenomenal torque, and is located under the engine.

The position of the power train allows the creation of a large-capacity boot, situated behind the final drive assembly and therefore not encroaching on the generous interior space of the passenger compartment. This design also allows the driving position to be moved forward, maximising the driving experience for both the driver and the passengers.

Exterior style

The design of the 908 RC creates a particularly low-lying exterior body with a stylish tapered design at the front of the vehicle. Its proportions create an elegant and dynamic statement. Sitting on large diameter 20 spoke alloy wheels (20’’ at the front, 21’’ at the rear); the overall effect is that of a big cat, from the nose at the front, to the tip of the rear lights.

More than ever, the Marque’s emblem has played a part in fashioning the power of expression of the 908 RC.

At the front, the lion’s character seems to emanate from each detail, starting with the design of the headlights. Lighting is provided by light-emitting diodes (LEDs), with their dazzling appearance the result of a special finish given to the internal components. The exterior appearance of the lights looks like a crystal, cut like a precious stone, creating a faint outline like the pupil of an eye.

The bonnet draws its inspiration directly from the head of a big cat. The areas either side of the bonnet create the effect of the cat’s "cheeks" with the bonnet tapering down to a nose, highlighted by the large chromed emblem of the Marque.

A lot of attention has been paid to the design of the exterior body, with its lack of door handles creating surfaces of great simplicity and purity, and highlighting to maximum effect the reflections that accentuate every facet of the body.

Aligned with the curves of the car’s pronounced "hindquarters", the rear lights, equipped with LEDs, incorporate a polished aluminium insert evoking the shape of a powerful claw. The dynamic rear profile is characterised by the shape of the rear air diffuser, accentuated by chrome detailing and supported visually on each side by twin exhaust pipes.

The metallic black body colour with its bluish reflections further enhances the impression of status, dynamism and purity portrayed by this car.

Inside the 908 RC

The ambience inside the 908 RC is the result of meticulous attention to detail on the part of the car’s designers.

Thanks to a forward-positioned passenger compartment made possible by the car’s architecture, and a large glazed surface area of 3 square metres, occupants are truly at one with the road and the passing landscape. The special shape of the huge front windscreen allows a completely unimpeded field of vision (as on the RC concept cars). The front windscreen stretches back behind the driver’s head, as far as the B/C post where the glazed roof begins. This gives both front and rear passengers a sense of being at one with the outside environment. Unequalled brightness and visibility combine with a generous interior space, complete with four independent seats, helping to create a truly exceptional ambience.

The light and flowing style of the interior, combined with the latest technology ensures purity of the design and a comfortable interior. For example, all vehicle functions (radio, MP3 player, satellite navigation, four-zone air conditioning, etc) can be easily controlled by means of a large touch screen - the Man/Machine Interface (MMI). The MMI is also accessible to the rear passengers, thanks to a multimedia screen positioned on the centre console separating the two rear seats.

The high-quality materials and interior finish of the 908 RC create an atmosphere that is both luxurious and timeless. The passenger compartment features dark oak surrounds, integral amethyst-grey leather trim, polished aluminium inserts, touches of chrome, and a Bell&Ross clock: everything stimulates the senses of touch, sight and smell. Practical aspects have not been overlooked either. Numerous storage spaces, in addition to the large air conditioned glove box, are located in the door panels and also in the front and rear consoles.

Structure and Suspension

In the great tradition of Peugeot concept cars, the 908 RC is a unique model conceived in the inner sanctum of the Peugeot Design Centre in Paris. The vehicle is built around a pre-impregnated carbon composite and vacuum-polymerised aluminium honeycomb structure. The rear section is a self-supporting shell incorporating a sub-frame consisting of a tubular structure on which the engine and suspension are assembled.

Both at the front and the rear, the car features a drop link double wishbone type suspension, derived from the 407.

Braking is by means of four monobloc ceramic carbon composite discs which reduce weight and improve thermal efficiency. The wheels are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 255/35 R20 tyres at the front and 285/30 R21 at the rear.

Aerodynamics

The car’s aerodynamics have been particularly fine-tuned to attain an excellent drag coefficient of only 0.556. The air ducts were designed in a wind tunnel to optimise the car’s performance and fuel consumption, while ensuring the necessary cooling of the power train.

A two-part front air intake directs air to cool both of the engine’s radiators and also improve the car’s aerodynamic performance by controlling the internal and external flow by means of the black anodised aluminium vents located upstream of the front wheels.

Air is provided to the engine by means of vents located in the rear quarter panels.

Air is also directed from the rear wheel arches, through the two intercoolers for the turbochargers and then out through the visible vents behind the wheel arch.

A controllable rear spoiler incorporated into the boot lid can be raised by the driver to improve road holding.

The flat under floor and diffuser enhance further the aerodynamic efficiency of the 908 RC.

Finally, the 908 RC, is a luxurious touring interpretation of the racing car of the future, through its engineering, it creates the spirit of the "gentleman driver". It is targeted at a very upmarket virtual customer, naturally accustomed to a very high level of luxury but above all passionate about their motoring and its history, but also in search of innovation coupled with assertive styling and uncompromised driving pleasure.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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