Peugeot 308 R HYbrid mule emerges

A hyper-hybrid hatchback from Peugeot is officially in prototype testing phase following its reveal as a motor show concept, hinting at future production.

In an unusual move, Peugeot’s global managing directing Maxime Picat has used Twitter to post photos of his boss, Peugeot CEO Carlos Tavares, driving a partially camouflaged 308 R HYbrid.

“Looks like #Peugeot308RHYbrid is ready to move!” read the tweet from Picat. “Today our CEO Carlos Tavares enjoyed its radical performance!”

The two accompanying pictures posted by Picat show Tavares first approaching then driving off in the red prototype, which looks far less radical than concept car shown at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year.

Peugeot 308 R HYbrid

On the outside the prototype looks little different to the production 308 GT and 308 GTi, with a similar grille, basic front bumper and alloy wheels. Look closer, however, and bulging wheelarches and monster front brakes give clue to what lies within.

Peugeot widened the tracks of the 308 R HYbrid Concept by 80mm compared with regular 308 models, and it scored four-piston 380mm front/290mm rear disc brakes.

Peugeot 308 R HYbrid

The radical concept utilises an all-wheel drive system with two 85kW electric motors, one powering the front axle and one the rear, supported by a 201kW 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.Combined outputs are a staggering 373kW and 730Nm, good enough for a claimed 4.0-second 0-100km/h.

If those figures come close to what the production prototype has in store, then we’re sure the Peugeot CEO really did enjoy some radical performance.

A production Peugeot 308 HYbrid R will more realistically challenge the German hegemony of Volkswagen Golf R (206kW/380Nm), Audi RS3 (270kW/465Nm) and Mercedes-AMG A45 (as of this week 280kW/475Nm), as well as the Ford Focus RS (257kW/470Nm).

What is clear is that a future ultra-fast French hatchback is continuing in testing, and if the managing director’s excitement is anything to go by, this one won’t be let through to the keeper. Game on.

Pic credit: @MaximePicat

Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!