Prior to the actual event for Peugeot owners, media representatives were invited to kickstart the event, going through the various exercises to sharpen their responses behind the wheel of an able Peugeot variant. A total of 3 variants from Nasim’s range of Peugeot cars were used for the various exercises which included a slalom/autocross circuit, lane change circuit and arguably the highlight of the event, the oversteer and understeer circuit that simulated actual scenarios when even a Peugeot might be caught off guard (and that too with the ESP module unplugged to completely disable the car’s stability electronics). the journos were also guided on the better way to set their seating positions and given a demonstration on how best to steer the car.
2014 Peugeot Driving Performance redefines Defensive Driving and Advanced Driving courses
Mohamed Yasser Awan, Nasim’s General Manager of Marketing and Product Management, quipped that the Peugeot Driving Performance event formed part of the organization’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program, aimed at training its customers on how to drive safely and how to take advantage of Peugeot’s advanced electronic stability controls to maneuver their cars out of harm’s way, especially so due to the upcoming Raya festivities happening at the end of July, where it is the norm for the citizens to make their way back to their hometowns for the long break. Unfortunately, due to limited capacity, only 60 slots were made available for Peugeot owners, which were promptly snapped up in less than two weeks when the campaign was announced mostly via social media. COO of Nasim Dato’ Samson Anand George enthusiastically mentioned that the Peugeot Driving Performance might become an annual affair. Our Senior Writer could only keep his fingers crossed.
In the first round of exercises, our writer was ushered along with a group of journos to the slalom area. The track was setup with the tightest of turns and slaloms which only the quick and nimble Peugeot 208 would be able to complete. The 208’s tight handling and well-balanced chassis made the exercise seem easier than it looked! The responsive steering of the 208 allowed the writer to easily switch directions of the car as he powered through the tight bends without skipping a beat. Although he had reviewed both 208 Allure and GTI last time out, putting the former through the paces on this circuit gave renewed enthusiasm and reminded him just how solid and zippy this little hot hatch was.
Next up, how would a D-segment 508 Turbo S handle swift lane changes? That was what the writer intended to find out in the second round of exercises, at the lane change circuit. Here, the reps were told to effect an immediate lane change at a predetermined distance, first without braking, subsequently to brake and maneuver.
Each exercise was designed to acquaint Pug owners with the various safety features on board the 508 which includes ABS+EBD, Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) among others. Naturally, the 508 with its longer wheelbase, wasn’t as nimble as the 208, but our writer managed to complete the circuit with a bit of practice. You wouldn’t expect a large D-segment sedan to be able to steer out of harm’s way as easily as a jackrabbit 208 would, but it wasn’t too far off. And in the 508’s defense, it had a lot more metal to move from one lane to the next in a split second which a lesser sedan would’ve failed. And he has driven his fair share of D-segment sedans to vouch for the 508’s agility.
Finally, the highlight of the day came in the third round, starring the all-rounder 408 Turbo. 163PS in a C-segment chassis meant that the 408 Turbo was the fastest “family”-oriented variant in the Lion marque’s stables. The writer reckoned that the 408 Turbo certainly gave some perspectives on tail and spinouts during hard cornering. In this respect, it took a lot of “tweaking” the track to make the finely-tuned chassis of the 408 lose its tail, with an appropriate section of the track laced with a deadly concoction of detergent and oil, and lots of it too. First, the instructor told us to create an understeer situation where the car would no longer track in the direction of the steering but instead follow its own path out of the apex. Next, an understeer situation was created by effecting hard braking while taking a fast corner. In both situations, with the ESP completely neutered, the car went out of the intended line, with the help of that slimy gunk deliberately thrown in the path.
Understandably, we wouldn’t find residues (gunk) like this strewn on the road in reality, but suffice to say that oil slicks are a real threat to safe driving, be it due to an overturned trailer or desperate attempts to
create business (hint: tow truck operators). Regardless, we were presented with scenarios that could remodel our beloved rides and our faces. The Driving Performance exercise provided the writer an opportunity to discover that it would take quite a bit to throw a Peugeot car, or more precisely, a Peugeot 408 Turbo, out of its intended line. Reinstating the ESP then, made the car almost spin-proof, for lack of a better term.
Kudos to Nasim, whose top and middle management showed up in full force to lend their support and enthusiasm to this inaugural event, and if there’s anything that the writer’d like to see in the future, is greater frequency of such events which would help make our roads a lot safer.