The iconic Peugeot 205 GTI holds a stunning place in the automotive lexicon. After a decade of stellar performance, the little French machine called the ‘best hot hatchback of all time’ ended its production run in February 1994.
The French automobile maker thought it time to revisit those halcyon days and has come up with the 308 1.6THP GTi. The car is available in two specifications with two levels of tuning – the 184kW 308 GTi 250 carries a recommended retail price of $44,990, while the 200kW 308 GTi 270 one of $49,990, both plus on-road cost.
The two variants accelerate similarly – the 250 clearing the 100 km/h hurdle in 6.2 seconds from a standing start, the 270 stopping the clock in a flat six seconds.
Peugeot Sport is responsible for the two-level tuning of the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, with a supercharged air-intercooled system specially developed and installed below the front bumper. Both of the hotshots develop peak torque of 330Nm at just 1900rpm and feature six-speed manual transmissions.
The GTi 250 we tested was fitted with a Sports Pack which monitors G-forces, recalibrates the throttle map, amplifies the exhaust note and presents a power / boost / torque readout.
Sitting 11 mm lower than the standard 308, with a wider track of 1570 mm at the front and 1554 mm at the rear and rolling on Michelin Pilot Sport tyres the 308 GTi has been engineered to offer exceptional grip.
The front features full LED headlamps with integrated daytime running lights, flanking a new black radiator grille. The air intake is surrounded by sequential LED indicators, while below the bumper two spoilers optimise aerodynamics.
Redesigned door sills hint at the car’s no-nonsense nature. The sleek new rear features a gloss-black section incorporating twin exhaust pipes. The GTi signature is writ large on the front wings and tailgate.
The Peugeot i-Cockpit cabin reflects the sporting nature of the car. Seats – sports style up front – are in dark Alcantara / TEP with red contrast stitching; the leather bound steering wheel features the GTi logo at the bottom and red centring mark at the top.
Drilled aluminium pedals reinforce the hatchback’s sporting nature; dark tinted privacy glass adds a touch of mystery to occupants’ identity while travelling at speed.
If the Peugeot 308 GTi is a hot hatch, the infotainment set-up is, in modern terms, ‘cool’. Front and centre is a 9.7-inch colour touchscreen with access to most vehicle systems via icons on the perimeter of the screen.
Audio, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite navigation, even dual- zone climate control, are operated through this, leaving the centre stack relatively free of clutter. The screen is flanked by air-con outlets.
An information display behind the steering wheel directly in front of the driver is dominated by twin dials, on the left speedo and to the right tachometer. This is where things become really different. The speedo needle moves in the traditional clockwise direction, while the tachometer sweeps in an anticlockwise movement – a touch of French humour, perhaps. A programmable digital readout splits the two dials.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
At the heart of both variants is Peugeot’s high-output 1.6-litre THP petrol engine, with two power outputs depending on the model. With 184 kW in the GTi 250 and 200 kW in the GTi 270. That’s 250 horsepower and 270 horsepower in high-performance car terms.
The transmission, previously used in the RCZ-R by Peugeot Sport, has been enhanced to absorb torque of up to 330 Nm. The engine runs on 95 RON or 98 RON fuel and injection pressure is 200 bar.
As well as a full 308’s worth of airbags and a large suite of active safety features, including switchable electronic stability control, the Peugeot 308 GTi includes rear-view camera and front parking sensors.
On laps of the track at the Sydney Motorsports Park earlier in the year, with weight distributed 63:37 front to rear, the car remained well within limits of grip, while steering a steady course through quick and tight corners.
Likewise recently on the public road, steering was in complete harmony with the advanced technology of the powertrain, putting the car on the correct line for any turn in the road.
However, the brakes had to be treated gently. They worked confidently pulling the car up from speed, but tended to grab at slow speeds, making the going uncomfortable in stop-start traffic
The instrument layout and positioning of controls are clear and simple, the short-throw gearshift close at hand, seats offer good support without restriction of movement.
Pressing the Sport button on the centre console brings to life the standard Sport Pack, which switches the instrument display from white to red, shows additional information on the central read-out (power, torque, boost, lateral and longitudinal acceleration), enhances the engine’s throaty growl and changes accelerator pedal mapping for a more inclusive driving experience.
Fuel consumption on test worked out at 10+ litres per 100 kilometres around town, and five litres on motorway runs.
There would not be a more comfortable hot hatch on the market at the moment, Peugeot 308 GTi has an excellent combination of style, performance and ease of driving.
AT A GLANCE
Peugeot GTi 250 1.6-litre turbo-petrol five-door hatch: $44,990 (manual)
Peugeot GTi 270 1.6-litre turbo-petrol five-door hatch: $49,990 (manual)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Peugeot dealer for drive-away prices.
Peugeot Sport-tuned suspension with 11mm drop in ride height, with bespoke suspension geometry
330mm brake discs front and 268mm at the rear
18in Diamant alloy wheels
Unique GTi front and rear bumpers, with equaliser grille and red highlights (chrome highlight on Ultimate Red and Coupe Franche)
Dual circular chrome exhaust
GTi badges (rear, sides, steering wheel and door sills)
Red stitching highlights on dashboard, door panels, gear leaver gaiter, and seats
GTi head-up instrument display, with colour LCD screen
9.7-inch touchscreen with ‘Redline’ red-and-black theme
Rear-view camera with front parking sensors
Sport seats in TEP and Alcantara with contrasting red stitching
Open & Go keyless entry and push-button start
Alloy pedals and GTi emblazoned door sills and GTi floor mats with red stitching LED headlights with integrated Daytime Running Lights
Driver Sport Pack (via button on the centre console)
Amplified, sportier engine note
Red illuminated instrument display
Readouts for power and torque delivery, turbo boost, and longitudinal and transverse acceleration
Firmer and more responsive power steering
More responsive electronic accelerator pedal mapping
SPECIFICATIONS (Peugeot 308 1.6THP GTi 250 petrol manual)
Capacity: 1.598 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line, turbocharged, fuel injected
Maximum Power: 184 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 330 Nm @ 1900-4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 95 RON or higher
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 139 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed manual
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4253 mm
Wheelbase: 2620 mm
Width: 1804 mm
Height: 1447 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1205 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 53 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Three years / 100,000 km