NSW, Monday May 26: Peugeot Automobiles Australia has today launched the eagerly anticipated Peugeot RCZ R - the most powerful road-going car the brand has ever sold. 

Despite considerable engineering modifications, the RCZ R is priced from just $68,990; $10,000 more than the RCZ.

At its heart is a vast range of mechanical upgrades. Inspired by the Peugeot RCZ Racing Cup track car and riding 10mm lower to the ground, the new range-topping sports coupé is powered by a 1.6-litre THP turbocharged petrol engine with 199kW of power and 330Nm of torque.

Since its launch in 2010, the flagship RCZ has produced 147kW. The RCZ R represents a considerable boost in power, so to harness this engineers at Peugeot Sport in Paris have reworked almost every component behind the car's iconic lines.

``The Peugeot RCZ R is not just a sporty version of the RCZ,'' says John Startari, General Manager, Sime Darby Motors Group Australia. ``Developed with Peugeot Sport, the RCZ R has significant engineering modifications compared with the RCZ and was developed as a sports competition model for use on circuits and tracks.'' 

``RCZ R is a perfect example of Peugeot's expertise in motorsport. RCZ R is a halo model for the brand and we expect it will not only increase sales but bring new customers to Peugeot.''

The starting point of the RCZ R was the engine. While many rivals rely on 2.0-litre units for performance, Automobiles Peugeot opted to downsize to 1.6-litre capacity. With 199kW it is almost identical in output to the Racing Cup car and, with nearly 124kW per litre, sets a record for specific power in the category.

This new performance-oriented unit features numerous parts which have evolved or been completely redesigned to allow drivers to exploit the full potential of the RCZ R. Maximum power is at 6000rpm and maximum torque is available from 1900rpm to 5500rpm.

The Peugeot RCZ R sprints to 100km/h in just 5.9 seconds – almost two seconds quicker than the RCZ.

Weighing just 1280kg, the RCZ R boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 155kW per tonne.

Yet, despite the car's performance credentials, environmental concerns were always at the heart of powerplant development. The RCZ R emits just 145g/km of CO2 and fuel economy of 6.3L/100km on the combined cycle – a benchmark in its category.

The block has been reinforced by a specific heat treatment prior to machining to improve durability. New forged pistons with a compression ratio of 9.2:1 were developed by Mahle Motorsport and use a grade of aluminium found in Formula One. This is the first time in a production car for Peugeot.

The con rods have been engineered to withstand continued use at high engine speeds and the upgraded bearings – making their world debut on a road car – are covered with a polymer coating that can withstand higher cylinder pressures.

Also new is the specially strengthened six-speed manual transmission, upgraded clutch, larger intercooler and new twin-scroll turbocharger. The exhaust has also been modified; linked to the draw of the engine's air intake, it features an enhanced 'sound system' to amplify the sporting character of the new RCZ R's engine.

A Torsen® differential has been added to provide additional grip. The front track has been widened to boost traction. Other upgrades include revised dampers settings and increased stiffness in the springs. Aerodynamic efficiency and high-speed stability have been improved, thanks to a new fixed boot spoiler which aids rear downforce.

The Peugeot RCZ R rides on unique two-tone 19-inch alloys which accommodate new larger four-piston brakes. They feature red calipers at the front bearing the Peugeot Sport name. Discs with a diameter of 380mm and thickness of 32mm are mounted on an aluminium hub, contributing to increased weight-saving and cooling. They are shod in Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 235/40 R19 tyres for outstanding road-holding.

In more than 120 years of manufacturing cars, the RCZ R is a Peugeot like no other. Its exceptional performance and agility are the result of countless hours of bespoke development and attention to detail, followed by validation on and off the track with Peugeot Sport's experienced test drivers in control.

The result is a sports performance coupé with outstanding acceleration, braking and cornering stability. The RCZ R is a Peugeot with the aggression of a lion at its heart, measured at more than two seconds per kilometre quicker than the 147kW car at the famous Nürburgring test track. The difference was even greater in wet conditions.

The Peugeot RCZ R goes on sale today and is available in four colours – Moroccan Red, Perla Nera Black, Mercury Grey and Opal White.