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Geneva show: Peugeot primes 208 GTi hot hatch

Hot hatched: Redesigned 208 will spawn a three-door hot hatch to replace the 207 GTi.

Peugeot reveals hot GTi and luxurious XY versions of its 207 successor, the 208

19 Feb 2012

PEUGEOT has effectively committed to producing GTi sports and XY luxury derivatives of its all-new 208 hatchback by revealing two thinly disguised concept versions before their Geneva motor show debut next month.

Peugeot’s redesigned light car – which replaces the 207 – will hit Australian showrooms following its local premiere at the Sydney motor show in October after European sales commence mid-year.

Details and images of the new 208 hatch in both three- and five-door body styles were initially revealed in November.

Now, Peugeot has all but confirmed the 208 range will be crowned by a GTi hot hatch and a premium version, in the same vein as the model on which it is based, the C3-derived DS3 from French sister brand Citroen.

Naturally, both the ‘GTi Concept’ and ‘XY Concept’ are based on the sportier three-door version of the 208, and both image-leading models are expected to follow their mainstream stablemates on sale globally by the end of this year.

Designed to revive the halcyon days of Peugeot’s original 205 GTi hot hatch of the 1980s, the 208 GTi Concept is powered by the same circa-147kW turbocharged 1.6-litre twin-cam four-cylinder petrol engine seen in the RCZ coupe, matched with a six-speed manual transmission.

That will represent a significant step up in performance over the next most powerful 208 variant, which is fitted with a 115kW version of the same 1.6-litre THP turbo-petrol engine.

Combined with the standard 208’s smaller and lighter new body, it will also make the new GTi more convincing than Peugeot’s last hot hatch – the discontinued 207 GTi, which offered a 128kW 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four when it arrived here in August 2007 priced from $33,490.

23 center imageLeft: Peugeot 208 GTi Concept. Below: Peugeot 208 XY Concept.As we’ve reported, the new 208 is some 70mm shorter and 10mm lower than the 207, yet is claimed to offer 5mm more rear knee room and 15 litres more cargo space.

The company says the 208 is also more slippery, with an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.29Cd, and claims weight savings of up to 173kg with an average reduction of 110kg across the range, which starts at just 975kg.

Therefore expect Peugeot’s answer to the DS3, Volkswagen Polo GTI, Renault Clio RS200, Abarth 500 Esseesse, this week’s new Suzuki Swift Sport and Ford’s upcoming Fiesta ST to sprint to 100km/h in less than seven seconds on its way to a 225km/h top speed.

If the concept is any guide, the production 208 GTi will also feature 36mm wider front (1506mm) and rear (1503mm) wheel tracks, red 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with 215/40-section Bridgestone Potenza tyres, and beefier brakes comprising larger (302mm front, 249mm rear) discs with red callipers.

Cosmetically, the GTi concept features more aggressive front and rear bumpers, a rear roof spoiler, sportier side skirts, twin chromed exhaust outlets with red innards, chequered flag motifs in the metal grille mesh and, in a tribute to its iconic 205 namesake, ‘GTi’ badges on the C-pillars and grille.

In a nod to its two largest expected markets, the lower grille bar will also wear either the French ‘Tricolour’ or British Union Jack flag.

The red theme continues into the driver-focussed cabin of the GTi concept. Like the luxury-oriented XY and all 208 variants, it features a huge central colour touch-screen infotainment system that includes internet connectivity.

In keeping with its sports theme, there is LED backlighting and brushed aluminium dial faces for the high-mounted instrument panel, a small flat-bottomed GTi-badged red leather-clad steering wheel with matching part-leather gear shifter, and an Alcantara-trimmed dashboard fascia with grey stitching.

Aluminium pedals, aluminium door bars with a chequered flag theme, red air-vent surrounds, all-black headlining and double-stitched Nappa leather and tartan cloth seat trim continue the hot-hatch positioning.

Purple replaces red – both inside and out – in the premium XY concept, which promises big-car luxury in a small car package, just like the closely related DS3, which retails in Australia from just $26,990 following a recent $6000 price cut, but still carries a hefty premium over the C3 five-door launched here in November 2010.

Draped in distinctive ‘Pulsion’ purple paint and clear lacquer – 16 coats of which were applied to make it appear to change colour from different angles - Peugeot says the 208 XY is aimed at “city dwellers that love distinction and refinement”.

Premium additions include full-LED headlights surrounded by the indicators to appear like the pupil of an eye, 18-inch alloys, flared wheelarches and wider side sills from the GTi and a chrome-trimmed panoramic glass sunroof, lower window line and grille.

The XY concept is powered by the same 115kW THP turbo-petrol four as ‘lesser’ 208s.

Its cabin features crimson stitched leather on the dashboard, steering wheel rings, gearshift boot, armrests and stripes on the floor mats, and grey leather pleated seats, plus white ambiance lighting and ‘gunmetal’ trim on the doors, steering wheel and air-vent surrounds.

Both 208 flag-bearers should top the mainstream 208 hatch range that goes on sale here in October, following the release of the facelifted 308 small car last year, the facelifted 207 CC convertible in January, the Mitsubishi ASX-based 4008 city SUV in the second quarter and diesel-electric Hybrid4 versions of the 3008 small crossover and 508 mid-size sedan around mid-2012.

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