Perhaps it was people who cannot stand a bit of sun on their scalps – and reserve al fresco driving strictly for February 29 – that prompted Peugeot to create the 206CC.
In the process, the French marque also coined the term “Coupe Cabriolet” or CC for short.
That car was later accompanied by a bigger one, called the 307CC, before it was replaced by the 207CC last year.
Later this month, the successor to the 307CC (our featured car) will be launched.
And Torque was the first to try it.
Even though the car is obviously related to the hatchback, it attracts a different kind of audience.
In the lingo of marketing people, the CC speaks to the “lifestyle market”.
Aesthetics are important to coupe buyers, and first impressions on the 308CC’s looks are promising.
After the bulbous proportions of the 307CC, mainly about its posterior, the new car still has a generous behind that seems to end 5cm after it should.
But, now, the design is more angular overall, with taut lines rising smartly towards the rear.
As it was with the 307CC, the 308CC has tail lamp clusters that are laden with light-emitting diodes that give a very high-tech and racy impression.
Less convincing are the two air diffuser-like bits creeping up from the rear bumper, even though they do a decent job of breaking up the visual bulk.
Elsewhere, there are neat chrome accents lining such areas as the base of the windows and the number plate surround.
While it can be a bit too stark a contrast on darker colours, they work well against the photo car’s pearl white.
Equipment level is very generous for its class.
Goodies like automatic wiper and HID headlamps that swivels to help see around corners come standard, as do the good-looking 17-inch alloys and subtle boot spoiler.
The dash is largely similar to the 308’s, which looks and feels rather good.
Unique to the 308CC are the seats. The front ones are generously bolstered and feature a fixed head restraint design.
More significantly, they each pack an innovative head airbag, said to be a world’s first.
They count among the car’s arsenal of six airbags, all to protect the occupants.
Accommodations at the back are obviously less generous than a similarly sized hatchback, but well up to par for a car in this class.
Despite the high boot line, rearward visibility from the driver’s seat is surprisingly good, with parking sensors helping to take away any guesswork when reversing.
The roof has been improved over the 307CC’s.
It takes a zippy 20 seconds to do its thing (5 seconds quicker than 307CC and 2 seconds ahead of the not-so-new Renault Megane CC).
For such important moments as sudden rainfall or just a dire need for attention, the system works at speeds of up to 12km/h, slightly quicker than the old car.
The single biggest change over its predecessor, though, is the engine.
The 308CC enjoys the service of the 1.6-litre engine jointly developed with BMW.
While it is of a smaller displacement than the 2-litre in the 307CC, it is turbocharged, so it makes as much horsepower.
But torque is up from the 307CC’s 203Nm to 240Nm, available at a very accessible 1400rpm.
Rather unfortunately, the 308CC engine is paired to the same 4-speed automatic gearbox like the rest of the Peugeots here (except the cheerful 107, that is).
The power and drivetrain are thus exactly like the premium 308 hatchback’s.
But because the 308CC is 185kg heavier, it is supposed to be 1.4 seconds slower to 100km/h.
Better aerodynamics or something like that gives the 308CC an extra 13km/h on top speed.
As Rubens Barrichello put it after his Germany race in July: “Blah, blah, blah.”
Such information should do nothing for the 308CC’s audience. In practice, the car never feels languid.
Off-the-line performance is strong, as is the in-gear acceleration.
Even with the roof in place to lend strength, the body feels less rigid than the hatchback.
But the suspension seems to cope better, giving a sorted ride (if not razor-sharp handling).
In any case, the 308CC is the last tool to go hunting for apexes to snip.
It changes direction neatly enough but the steering, which has a flat-bottom design and is clad in leather, hardly puts up any resistance when turned.
The brake pedal also does not give much feedback.
Taken together, the controls do not bolster the kind of confidence or sow urges to explore the chassis’ limits.
But instead of trying to feel the car’s limits in the dark, it is a much better idea to try one’s luck with the weather, take the roof down and give in to the elements.
If it should rain or the sun proves too much, the 308CC roof is just 20 seconds away.
2009 PEUGEOT 308CC 1.6 (A)
Type Inline-4, 16-valves, turbocharged
Bore x stroke 77mm x 85.5mm
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Max power 140bhp at 6000rpm
Max torque 240Nm at 1400rpm
Power to weight 91.9bhp per tonne
Type 4-speed automatic with manual select
Driven wheels Front
0-100km/h 11.6 seconds
Top speed 205km/h
Consumption 12.3km/L (combined)
Front MacPherson struts, coil springs
Rear Torsion beam, coil springs
Type Continental SportContact 3
Size 225/45 R17
Traction aids ABS, ESP
Kerb weight 1532kg
Turning circle 11.1m
Price incl. COE $128,900
Warranty 3 years/60,000km
+ Better looking than 307CC, generous equipment, cushy cruiser
– Not cheap, rear is still big, woolly steering