At present, Peugeot’s 308 hatchback has no high-performance offering to rival the likes of the new Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R but that may change in the future, as indicated by the French automaker’s series of 308 R concept cars. The original 308 R was fitted with Peugeot’s punchy 1.6-liter turbo four, which alone develops upwards of 270 horsepower. The latest, revealed ahead of its debut at next week’s 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, almost doubles that figure thanks to the addition of a high-performance hybrid system first previewed in Peugeot’s Quartz crossover concept.

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The hybrid system was developed by the automaker’s Peugeot Sport motorsport department and combines the aforementioned 1.6-liter turbo four with a pair of electric motors. One motor is integrated with the vehicle’s six-speed automatic transmission and either helps the engine drive the front wheels or charges up the onboard 3-kWh lithium-ion battery (via engine power or wasted brake energy). The second motor drives the rear wheels, creating a ‘through-the-road’ hybrid all-wheel-drive setup.

The engine delivers a peak 270 hp while each of the motors is rated at 115 hp, creating a combined 500-hp output. Four driving modes are on offer: “ZEV” (electric only), “Road” (hybrid with limited power and only one motor working), “Track” (hybrid with limited power and both motors working) and “Hot Lap” (hybrid with all power units at their maximum potential). Clearly the 308 R Hybrid will be quickest in the Hot Lap mode. Peugeot quotes a 0-62 mph time of just 4.0 seconds and a governed top speed of 155 mph in this mode.

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Compared to the standard 308, which was awarded the European Car of the Year title in 2014, the 308 R Hybrid benefits from an 80-millimeter wider track as well as lightweight 19-inch wheels shod with 235/35 size tires. For the interior, the designers installed four individual bucket seats lined in leather. The compact steering wheel is also lined in leather and bears a “308 R Hybrid” logo. A head-up display provides all relevant driving information, and two buttons on the center console allow the driver to keep a check on the mechanics: the first activates the powerful powertrain, while the second gives access to four driving modes.

Peugeot doesn’t state that the 308 R Hybrid is destined for production but says it “gives a glimpse” of the potential for future sports models from the brand. Unfortunately, none of these models will be sold in the U.S. since Peugeot doesn’t operate here, though that could change.

To see what else is debuting at next week's Shanghai Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.


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