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Future models - Peugeot - 208 - 30th Anniversary

Paris show: 30th Anniversary 208 GTi bound for Oz

Happy birthday: After initially knocking back the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary edition, Peugeot's local distributor has back-flipped and the hot hatch will be here in January.

More power, sharper chassis for Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary due in early 2015

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Peugeot logo8 Oct 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in PARIS

PEUGEOT’S nimble 208 GTi will gain a 30th Anniversary special edition early next year offering more power, better economy and the added traction of a Torsen differential with accompanying steering and suspension mods to go with it.

Released at the Paris Motor Show last week, the newcomer marks the 1985 release of the 205 GTi – the first truly successful challenger to the early Volkswagen Golf GTI’s hot-hatch crown back in the day.

Pricing and Australian allotment numbers are still a hotly guarded secret, but it is believed that up to 50 GTi 30s will head to our shores at a premium of about $8000 over the existing $29,990, plus on-roads variant.

The biggest departure over the existing year-old hot hatch will be the first availability in Australia of the model-specific two-tone paintwork bisecting the rear half of the vehicle.

According to Peugeot Automobiles Australia marketing manager, Dimitri Andreatidis, the GTi 30 was briefly rejected for Australia before its potential as an image booster became clear.

“We originally said no to this car,” he admitted to GoAuto at Peugeot’s Sochaux headquarters in Alsace, France. “However, due to customer demand, we are now bringing the car in, including the two-tone colour treatment (textured black up front and lacquered red in the rear).”

More than just a styling package, the GTi 30th gains a host of revisions designed to justify its desire as the king of the B-segment hot hatches.

Key changes – by Peugeot Sport – include the newly Euro-6 emissions rated version of the RCZ coupe’s Prince 1.6-litre THP four-cylinder petrol engine.

Power edges up 6kW to 153kW (a symbolic 208 brake horsepower) while torque jumps 25Nm to 300Nm resulting in a 0.3 second decrease in the 0-100km/h sprint (to 6.5s).

The six-speed manual gearbox cops different gear ratios, tracks have increased front and back by 22mm and 16mm respectively, the car sits some 10mm lower to the ground, the exhaust sounds meaner and crisper, smaller anti-roll bars are fitted, and there has been a recalibration of the electronic stability and traction control systems, which are said to be less intrusive than before to better allow the Torsen gear to operate.

Additionally, revised suspension geometry, more linear steering characteristics, Michelin Pilot Super Sport 205/40 ZR 18 tyres on new-look 18-inch black alloys, and beefier brakes (323mm diameter and 28mm thick discs at the front and Brembo fixed four-piston calipers) complete the chassis upgrades.

“Our ambition was to focus on behaviour on the road, by further increasing its effectiveness,” project manager Pierre Budar said.

“For this we have developed the traction and a potential for more grip, mainly on the front axle. The benefits are essentially in passing speeds, driving sensations and feedback.”

Chrome is replaced by matt black for the front indicator surrounds, grille, fog-lights and door-mirror shells, while the latter material also finishes the new side skirts and wheel-arch extensions.

Along with the available bi-colour paint treatment, the GTi 30 can also be had with two 205 GTi historical hues – pearl white and ruby red.

Lacquered black also finds its way on the interior trim, while combinations of red and/or black for the seats, floor mats and seatbelts pay further homage to the old warhorse.

More Australian-specific details will be unveiled closer to the GTi 30’s January launch.

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