Car reviews - Peugeot - 208 - GTi 30th
Palpable fun-factor improvements across the board, tech tweaks to satisfy the car-geek
Room for improvement
We didn’t have the opportunity to see if ride quality was compromised on road
28 Aug 2015
AFTER three laps of the short, technical Amaroo circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park in a standard Peugeot 208 GTi, it was time to do the same in one of the 26 30th Anniversary editions that made it to Australia.
As we approached the car, its sporting intent was clear to see from the visibly wider tracks barely contained by the wheel-arch spats and the chunky 18-inch matte-black alloys sitting at a noticeable race car-like camber.
This vehicle has what some automotive circles would call ‘stance’.
It was also finished in the optional $4000 hand-painted two-tone Coupe Franche paintwork, which initially looks like a matte finish at the front but is more like the crackle effect paint often seen on exotic engines. The transition to gloss red at the rear is sharp and precise – and so it should be considering the painstaking 17-hour paint application process.
After gingerly lowering ourselves into the heavily sculpted Peugeot Sport bucket seats we had the immediate ‘ahh’ feeling of being both in perfect comfort and securely bolstered. They are some of the best seats we have had the pleasure of sitting in.
The usual love it/hate it Peugeot combination of tiny, low steering wheel and high-set instruments worked well for us and lent the GTi an even more go-kart like character.
Heading out onto the track, acceleration up the hill as we exited the pit lane felt immediately more assertive, the extra 25Nm over the standard car working to great effect. The exhaust note had slightly more bass than the standard GTi under acceleration too.
It didn’t take long to notice the heavier, quicker steering either and we were able to confidently carry higher speeds into corners due to palpable extra grip and stability, which combined with the TorSen limited-slip diff meant we could get on the power earlier too.
Heavy handed power inputs did elicit occasional torque steer but it was brief, easily controllable and the steering itself was impressively communicative at all times.
Brake pedal feel and travel was positive and confidence-inspiring and we delighted in the exhaust’s enthusiastic burbles on the overrun.
The standard GTi felt fun and nimble but even in the all-too-short time we had, the 30th Anniversary was obviously superior and special in almost every way.
Without time to drive it on the road, we were unable to tell if its extra capability makes it harder to access the fun-factor at legal speeds or whether the suspension tweaks have marred the ride quality.
But buyers who love driving are unlikely to be disappointed with this car in their garage.
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