There have been a few Peugeot hard-top convertibles on the South African market in recent years but none as sexy as the new 308 coupe/cabriolet - CC for short - just launched here.

There will be one model only for now, with a 1.6-litre turbo engine and a six-speed manual gearbox, based on the current 308 hatchback which, Peugeot says, is the company's most advanced compact car yet.

The CC, Peugeot says, "has four proper seats, ample luggage space and comprehensive standard specification". It will be in the company's showrooms across South Africa by the middle of July 2009 stickered at R336 500, including a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a three-year or 100 000km full maintenance plan.

The metal roof has electric power and is fully auto in operation at the touch of a button. The routine takes 20 seconds.

Peugeot produced its first contemporary coupe/cabrio with a folding roof at the 1998 Geneva auto show and called it the 20Coeur but the first folding roof models were the 401, 601 and 403 Eclipses assembled way back in the 1930's.

The 20Coeur concept spawned the 206 CC and its successor the 207 CC. A 307 CC was unveiled in 2003 and the three together have sold 650 000 units worldwide. Now we have the all-new 308 CC,

Jean-François Bacos, managing director of Peugeot SA, said this week: "We are very pleased to offer South Africans the opportunity to own our latest Coupé Cabriolet which model epitomises everything that is Peugeot in the 21st Century: smart design, strong dynamic appeal, high comfort levels, peerless safety and an efficient, eco-friendly drive train.

"Most of all, the 308 CC is a car to be enjoyed, rain or shine, winter or summer. It's a truly glamorous two-door that is hugely satisfying and fun to drive."

It goes, too... the four-cylinder engine might displace only 1.6-litres but turbocharging has taken its power to 110kW at 5800rpm and torque to 240Nm from 1400rpm. The result is a top speed of 215km/h, 0-100km/h in 10.4sec and a claimed general fuel consumption of 7.5 litres/100km, dropping to a claimed 5.6 litres/100km/h with modest driving on the open road.

There's no doubt about the car's modern, sculpted good looks and it rides on 18" alloy rims.

Leather upholstery is standard and reflects in the black-lacquered surface of the centre console. Also standard are a thick-rimmed sports steering wheel, top-end sound and fully automatic aircon, cruise control with a speed limiter, a trip data computer, steering column controls for the audio system, and remote-controlled central locking.

Peugeot says the "sculpted rear bench seat easily accommodates two adults" and that the car comes with a reinforced windscreen frame and pyrotechnic pop-up rear roll bars, crash bags front, side and in the head restraints, and anti-lock brakes.