The 307CC was a fairly great coupe-cabriolet, it looked good, all be it slightly tubby. It handled well and offered a fairly good all-round package. However, it was getting a tad long in the tooth, and needed replacing to keep up with the market for sleek drop-tops. So enter stage left the all new 308 CC, like Barrack replacing Bush, it's a breath of fresh air, sleeker, looking lighter on its feet, innovative and all about the style and finesse.
The styling of the new pug is beautiful and a massive improvement on the out-going model. For a start it's far more masculine and sporty than the outgoing model. Thanks to the sleek angular lines flowing from front to back, it's got a waistline (at last) and the rear is a work of art. Front and rear the lights flow into the wings and give just the most gorgeous lines. With the hood up the boot is cavernous; we took 2 friends (leaving for a month backpacking round Cuba) to the airport (more on this later). The boot swallowed huge backpacks, cameras, laptops and assorted un-necessary luggage like a fat kid in a cake shop. Hood down it still has a good sized boot, although it's much harder to get things in and out with the hood in the way.
Equipment wise it's got more toys than Ann Summers, the top-of-the-range GT THP 150 I tested had just about every conceivable gadget and gizmo known to man in it. This included the new Airwave Neck Heating System (thanks to the optional leather upgrade which Airwave comes as standard with), which actually REALLY works, a tad too much at times as it isn't speed sensitive. When you slow down, or stop at traffic lights, you end up with the back of your neck burning and a face full of stifling hot air. But when tanking down the road at speed, with the system on, you do feel toasty regardless of the temperature outside. The CD system had great sound quality; however I have a major beef about the AUX connection. Rather than update the system to the universally used 1 pin and USB connection, Peugeot in their wisdom have stuck with the old and outdated (and pointless) 3 pin system. Which means that unless you spend a fortune on crappy old connector leads (with substandard quality), you can't plug an iPod into the system. VERY irritating!
Let me return to the interior cabin space, Peugeot say that the 308 CC is a genuine 4 seater, this means Peugeot are either genuinely totally deluded or genuinely know more little people than Gulliver! Genuine 4 seater my arse! I took two girls (both under 5ft 6" in the back, I was driving (I'm 5"8 on a good day in heels on a hill) and Marcus (also 5"8 ish) was in the front passenger seat. I drove for most of the 2hr journey to Heathrow with my knees under my chin and the steering wheel pressed into my (manly) pecs. Marcus, at one point was so desperate, to regain the feeling in his feet, contemplated trying to fit his legs into the glove box. Unfortunately as his knees were wedged against it, this proved impossible to even open it. So in the front we're pretty much either sat on or actually on the point of becoming part of the dashboard, we're that close to it (hell the steering column was so close to my crotch it text me last week, to ask when we where going on another date!). So you would think that our sacrifice would mean the girls were in luxury comfort in the back. Not at all, in fact we had to stop on two occasions as the girls were suffering from cramp and had (at one point) lost the feeling in their legs. Rear headroom with the hood up is also pretty much non-existent if your above 12yrs old. As 4 seaters go, yes it has 4 seats, they may also be used by four adults with the hood down on short (20 mins max I'd say) journeys, kids would probably be fine on long journeys. As a gay man I don't really have kids in my car, so it's of absolutely no interest to me whether I can fit em in the back, hell if I had my choice I'd put the kids in the boot so I didn't have to listen to the whinging. It's a huge disappointment that Peugeot didn't address one of the major flaws in the 307CC in the new 308CC. But on the up side, the rear seats do double as great space for luggage, just as long as your 'luggage' isn't the in-laws, or human.
So lets talk about handling and performance, well with a model name like the GT THP150, you'd be thinking it was a sports car with dynamic handling and sports car cornering, you'd unfortunately be a) wrong and b) be as disappointed as I was when I found out Betty Crocker wasn't actually a real person (I KNOW, who would have thought it!). The handling isn't as barge-like as the 307 CC; in fact it's actually really not bad at all. It still lacks driver feel in corners, on bends and tight chicanes it doesn't feel as poised as I'd like, but more 'floaty'. The suspension (I thought) was overly hard, making you feel every little pothole in the road. Coupled with the fact that the steering is far from razor sharp, feeling at times deader than MJ, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that this is no sports car. Performance however is more than adequate from the little tuned up 1.6L THP150 engine. It's lively and almost never feels flat, working just as well as it does in the MINI Cooper S (BMW and Peugeot have an alliance that see's BM lending their engines to Pug).
So it looks like a truly beautiful sports car, it doesn't handle like one, but does have good all-round performance (0-62mph takes 10.5 seconds). It's a laughable 4 seater; it's comfortable for 2 passengers and has a boot that could hold all the skin that's been removed from Joan Rivers over the years. Would I have one, actually even after everything I've said, yes and why? Because it is a stunning motor that's a great cruiser, it'll float up and down motorways and country roads all day long. Priced at £23,995 for the top of the range test car we had, it's not cheap but it feels well built and solid and worth the money.