Peugeot has unveiled the first official images of its stunning RCZ sports car ahead of its worldwide debut at the Frankurt Motor Show in mid-September.

The RCZ was first unveiled as a concept car two years ago in Frankfurt – public demand compelled Peugeot to turn motoring fantasy into the real thing.

The production model certainly does not disappoint – looking almost identical to the radical yet classically proportioned concept of 2007.

Designed to enhance the sheer enjoyment of driving, the RCZ is both dynamic and responsible, offering an innovative blend of performance and environmental-friendliness.

The RCZ will arrive on Australian roads from the middle of 2010.

Three engines will find a place under the aluminium bonnet of the RCZ – all complying with the Euro 5 emissions standard.

A new 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine has been developed for the RCZ, producing maximum power of 147 kW at 5800 rpm and maximum torque of 255 Nm at 1700 rpm (or 275 with overboost).

The RCZ benefits from dynamic acceleration – 80 to 120 kph in 6.5 seconds in fifth gear, and 0 to 100 kph in 7.6 seconds – while fuel consumption does not exceed 7.1 litres/100 km in the combined cycle (less than 165 g/km of CO2).

This 4-cylinder engine combines all of the most recent technology to create a world first: a Twin-Scroll turbocharger for performance and instant response at very low engine speeds, direct petrol injection, and variable valve lift coupled with variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts (VTi technology), for reduced fuel consumption and CO2emissions.

The RCZ will also be available with Peugeot's HDi FAP technology via a 2.0-litre engine developing maximum power of 120 kW at 3750 rpm and generous maximum torque of 340 Nm at 2000 rpm.

To obtain this level of performance it has a new generation ECCS (Extreme Conventional Combustion System) combustion chamber, a variable-geometry low-inertia turbocharger, a high-pressure pump allowing a pressure of 2000 bar in the common rail and solenoid injectors with eight apertures.

This engine gives offers wide scope for driving enjoyment, despite limiting fuel consumption to just 5.4 litres/100 km in the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 139 g/km.

A second petrol engine is available in the form of a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injection unit that achieves 240 Nm from 1400 rpm and 115 kW at 5800 rpm.

It offers fuel consumption of 6.9 litres/100 km and 159 g/km of CO2 with a manual gearbox.

The RCZ benefits fundamentally from a highly efficient suspension set-up developed from the existing 308 range (McPherson type front suspension and rear torsion beam).

In addition, the car's ride height and centre of gravity have been lowered by 20 mm and 40 mm respectively, while the RCZ is wider (+ 30 mm) with wider front and rear tracks (+ 54 mm and + 72 mm).

The suspension and dampers have been adapted accordingly and, with the addition of wider tyres on 18 or 19-inch wheels, the end result is road-holding of the very highest order.

On models featuring the 147 kW engine, the front axle incorporates a special lower anti-roll bar to make the car even more responsive and agile.

Braking, meanwhile, is powerful and durable and is assured by ventilated discs with a diameter of 302 mm and a thickness of 26 mm. The 147 kW model receives discs of 340x30mm.

All models are equipped with rear brake discs with a diameter of 290x12 mm.

To facilitate manoeuvres on steep gradients, all versions of the RCZ come with Hill Assist. This function is coupled as standard with ESP which, except on versions with an automatic gearbox, includes an intelligent traction control system (ASR), dynamic stability control (DSC), electronic brake force distribution (EBFD) and emergency brake assist (EBA).

The DSC, ASR and EBA functions can be disconnected simultaneously (ESP Off) so that experienced and demanding drivers can fully exploit the car's capabilities.

An active rear spoiler also contributes to the already impressive aerodynamic efficiency of the RCZ's slippery shape – it can be deployed in two positions according to the speed of the car, to ensure an ideal balance between road holding and fuel consumption.

Deeply contoured bucket seats, a sports-themed dash and a jewel-look analog clock make for an inviting cabin.

The RCZ also offers versatility, with the boot offering a capacity of 384 litres with additional storage spaces under the floor – this can be increased by folding the rear seat backs down, giving a maximum boot volume of 760 litres.

There are also two occasional seats, fully sculpted and perfectly usable, especially since the design of the roof with its double bubble offers extra headroom to these occasional rear passengers.

Ken Thomas, general manager/ director Peugeot Automobiles Australia, says the RCZ is a signal of intent for Peugeot.

"The RCZ is a real example of the positive and aggressive direction being taken at Peugeot," he said.

"The stunning lines meld beautifully with the classic proportions – and as with all Peugeots there are a number of special design features like the double bubble rear window, the prominent roofline rails and the craftsmanship of the clock in the dashboard.

"Merging the gap between creating a true sports car and minimising fuel consumption and emissions was a key focus for the engineering team.

"They have succeeded in blending those two challenges perfectly, with a car that offers both sporting driving and efficiency with low emissions figures."

The RCZ will be assembled at the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria – a production centre that specialises in exclusive vehicles.