I'd do a quarterly update, I've had the car around 4 Months and 4000 miles, and as my clothes still smell of stale smoke, alcohol and cheap strip joints after a 12 hour drinking session, I've got time as I decided not to go out again tonight, resting my aching head and liver.
Well over the last few months, I've really learnt to love this car. It's a seriously good "all rounder" as they say, which is the whole idea of a Hot hatch. It's practical, doors for every passenger, has a large boot, much larger than the rival VW Golf, is relatively cheap to run for a quick car, but what impresses me the most is the level of refinement and comfort. It's difficult to strike a healthy balance between a car that has a sporting nature, without making the ride over firm, harsh and/or bouncy. PeugeotSport have managed it well, the ride is firm, there is zero bodyroll, and yet the progressive rate springs and hydraulic bumpstops have been designed to keep the car smooth and refined. Even with the 19" lightweight wheels and low profile tyres, road noise is virtually non existent. Even when you want a relaxing drive, this car delivers, no tedious bodyroll so you're kept in a good posture on twisty roads, small steering wheel meaning smaller inputs, and heaps of power for overtaking slow moving traffic, this is a true mini "Grand Tourer". Now I've mentioned that tiny steering wheel, it's worth noting how much better it is than a normal sized one. There's more cabin space for a start, but I can't emphasize enough how much better this car feels when cornering with a smaller wheel. You see it's like adding a gear, so you have to turn it less than a regular car. It's very enjoyable having go kart style steering. I love the "decluttered" dash layout, everything is designed to keep you focused on the driving experience, even the speedo and rev counter both go towards the centre on the dash to draw your eyes forward. Controversial making a rev counter go backwards, but I can see their thinking. I really like the computer layout, which has 3 themes. I like having 2 trip computers so you can reset and compare MPGs, and you can configure where to see your stats, on the large tough screen to your left, or on the full colour LED dash right in front of you. The SAT NAV also displays on the smaller screen in between the dials, showing you which exit to take on the next roundabout, or where the next turn is, very handy so you don't have to keep glancing across towards the main screen.
When it's time to press on as it were, the car gets angry, the dials go red and the sporty engine sound is amplified when the Sport button is pressed, giving extra throttle response and weighting up the steering too. This is a seriously quick car, 270 BHP might not be a lot, but in a car that weighs 1200 KG, it has a better power/weight ratio than most other hot hatches, even the heavier Golf R. So I don't have AWD like a Golf R, added traction but added weight too, but I do have a limited slip diff. You can occasionally get feedback through the steering, with a light tug when it's working it's magic, and I find in the tighter bends, it's better sometimes to keep your foot down or at least partially down so you've always got some traction. I've had lift off understeer once or twice, but it's very controlled and you can feel the limits of the tyres so it's pretty safe. On twisty roads, much like the majority of those here, having more power wouldn't necessarily mean better progress, in fact having a car with this handling ability means you'll cover ground just as quick as any other Sports car. My only criticism which the Auto journalists pick up on, is the long gear throw. Not a massive issue, realistically it may take a millisecond longer to change gear than a rival hot hatch, but it would have been nice to have a short shift to echo the smaller steering inputs required. I've become slightly addicted to the sound of backfiring exhausts and dump valve "whooshes" as I find myself automatically doing my windows down in urban areas so I can hear it. The dump valve hiss is very noticeable, and if you're aggressive, flooring the throttle getting a huge turbo hiss, induction noise, dump valve whoosh followed by a backfire, people turn around expecting to see a heavily modified Rally car, when in fact it's a modestly styled fairly subtle French hatchback. They look confused but intrigued.
Not encountered any oversteer, not likely with a front engined front wheel drive car, and unless i'm going to drive on a track where ESP intervention can slow the car down and restrict progress, I'll be leaving ESP on for safety reasons. Nice of PeugeotSport to give the option to turn it off, they know the kind of people who will buy a car of this nature. I was actually saved by the ESP once in January after hitting an icy mountain pass bend, the car began fishtailing and the ESP straightened it out. I'm assuming it was the ESP, although I didn't actually hear or feel the braking system, which is unusual as previous ESP intervention in other cars I've had has been more than noticeable. Perhaps I saved it myself. One of the best features of this car, and an important part of the package of any performance car, is the huge brakes. Yes, having 15" front discs on a car this size/weight is overkill, but is it such a bad thing having big brakes? No. They still feel ridiculously sharp and effective and barely have worn lip yet after 8000 miles. They never suffer from brake fade or overheating.Made by Alcon, the same British engineering firm that make brakes for some Bentlys, the Ariel Atom etc, they aren't going to be cheap to replace, but should hopefully last a long time.
Recently completed a 320 mile round trip, my first encounter on the motorway in this car. As you'd expect, the economy was better at a steady constant speed. I saw figures of between 44-47 MPG (minus 3 MPG for the computer's over optimistic calculation) at speeds of between 75-90 MPH. No effort was made to conserve fuel, although I can imagine close to or over 50 MPG would be more than easily achievable if you took things a little easier and didn't enjoy giving the throttle socks now and again just for fun. My best short trip MPG was 52.2 indicated, following slow moving tourist traffic.
I toyed with the idea of adding a tuning box, which I already own, I just need to send it to my friend to add the correct fuel mapping for my car. It takes the power from 270 BHP to around 310, quite ridiculous for a 1.6 litre. Unfortunately this modification added...wait for it...100% to my insurance premium! I will look at this again in due course, there are modification specialist insurers out there for people who like to mod, but honestly, there's not been one point where I felt I needed more power. My regular insurance this year was just £263, that's about £50 more a year than my little Clio diesel, and this thing has 300% more power. Anyway, that will do for now, will post any updates in due course.