Is the 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport good enough to remind us of Peugeot’s glory days? Hannah Gordon finds out
What is it? Finally a decent small hot hatch from Peugeot, after the highly forgettable 206 and 207 GTi versions Peugeot Sport have got hold of the 208 and given it a proper sport makeover.
Who is it aimed at? This is a car squarely aimed at the hot hatch market, it does have a slightly practical side but with all the tweeks and performance components this is a drivers car, for people who love a countryside B road burn up.
What about the Styling? Peugeot haven’t gone mad with the styling but the GTi by Peugeot Sport does get matt black door mirrors, a unique chequered flag front grille and matt black wheel arch extensions. Badges are added around the car so its easy to see this has a hidden dark side. A double chrome exhaust embellishes the rear and red front brake calipers indicate the need for decent stopping power. Peugeot Sport have also lowered this car by 10mm over the standard GTi and the front and rear track are 6mm wider to add a more aggressive stance, 18” alloys have been added and overall this a handsome little car.
Under the bonnet? One engine choice being the superb 1.6 THP turbo petrol, which has a not so shabby 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 143mph. A six speed gearbox is teamed up to the engine and the total output is 208 bhp, this may not seem a huge number but the power is more than enough for this little hot hatch.
What about inside? As soon as you climb into the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport you are instantly aware that the bucket seats aren’t just for decoration, they are extremely good at keeping you held in when doing some spirited driving. The bucket seats are branded with the Peugeot Sport badge and are trimmed with Alcantara and red stitching. A set of red floor mats and the customary tiny Peugeot steering wheel add another sporty dimension. There is a multimedia touchscreen which isn’t the greatest but does include DAB radio and bluetooth as standard. The seats offer great support and comfort, but whilst the steering wheel suits the sporty feel it can obstruct the dials.
On the road? Peugeot Sport have created one of the best handling hot hatches in the market, the engine responds best when being pushed hard and the suspension set up can seem harsh when driving normally but makes perfect sense when blitzing along some windy roads. The Torsen differential really comes into its own when cornering hard, the 208’s nose dips into a bend and the levels of grip are ludicrous. Going through the gears at speed is a pleasure as the 208 lets off a little ‘pop’ after each change, although the throw on the gear box could be a little shorter. Overall the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport is a superb drive and feels so well balanced.
And Safety? A maximum 5 star in its Euro NCAP will give you peace of mind, Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability programme come as standard as do six airbags. The GTi can come with Peugeot connect SOS and Assistance, this enables the car to make an emergency call if any of the airbags or pretensions have gone off, the vehicle can be located and help is requested.
What are my options? The press car came with a two tone paint scheme of red and black called Coupe Franche and this is a £945 extra, it certainly turned heads. Active City Brake is £250 and a reversing camera is £200 extra. For the Peugeot SOS and Satellite Navigation its £700 more and Apple Car Play is also available for an additional price.
Will it break the bank? If I was purchasing a car like this then the economy figures would be the last thing on my mind but for this 208 GTi the figures aren’t too painful. It emits 125g/km of CO2 meaning that a tax band of D and an annual spend of £110. Fuel consumption can vary, this car is developed for fun and to be driven hard, but should you want a sedate commute then a combined figure of 52.3 mpg can be achieved.
So the verdict? It feels like an eternity since we were graced with the presence of a decent small hot hatch from Peugeot but the boffins at Peugeot Sport have created a seriously good car. The 208 GTi is a great handling car that is fast, sounds the part but can also go around in a grown up manner. The space inside is enough for four large adults and the boot space is a decent size. It won’t cost you big bucks to run either, dare I say Peugeot are back with a bang or is this another flash in the pan…I hope not.
Why you’ll buy one? Driving dynamics, Spacious, Practical
Why you won’t? Rivals are cheaper
Ford Fiesta ST – prices start from £17,895
VW Polo GTi – prices start from £19,235
Peugeot 208 GTi By Peugeot Sport
Max speed: 143 mph
0-62 mph: 6.5 seconds
Emissions: 125 g/km
Model price range: from £21,995
No of Doors: 3
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 52.3 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 285 litres
Length: 3973 mm
Width: 2004 mm
Height: 1460 mm
Wheelbase: 2538 mm
29th November, 2016