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Peugeot finally confirms 308 GTi

Merci beaucoup: Peugeot has finally announced its 308 GTi, almost two years after showing a concept at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.

Long-anticipated Peugeot 308 GTi officially announced, coming in two states of tune

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Peugeot logo18 Jun 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

PEUGEOT has unveiled its long-anticipated 308 GTi hot hatch, revealing a two-tiered model range that packs a punch as hard as 200kW and will take on the big hitters in the compact performance-car set, chiefly the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Set to make its world premiere at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in rural England next weekend, the new GTi has a 1.6-litre ‘THP S&S’ turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine at its core but has been developed with two levels of performance.

As the 270 and 250 model variants indicate, the Peugeot Sport-tuned GTi offers 200kW (270hp) at 6000rpm and 184kW (250hp) at the same maximum revs, while both offer peak torque of 330Nm at 1900rpm.

For the flagship 270, this is enough to propel it from 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds, and on to 1000m in 25.3s. The 250 is not far behind, reaching 100 clicks in 6.2s and 1km in 25.6s.

Both tip the scales at 1205kg and have an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h, along with identical in-gear acceleration figures – 5.7s from 80-120km/h before hitting top gear with the six-speed manual transmission, or 6.7s in top gear.

Both variants also have automatic engine idle-stop onboard, and return combined-cycle fuel economy of 6.0 litres per 100km.

No automatic transmission is available, but the 270 does come fitted exclusively with a Torsen limited-slip differential to improve its dynamic ability.

The 308 GTi’s key competitors include the 162kW/350Nm Volkswagen Golf GTI, the just-launched 184kW/360Nm Ford Focus ST, Subaru’s 197kW/350Nm WRX and the 195kW/360Nm Renault Sport Megane Cup.

Other offerings include Holden’s three-door Astra VXR pumping out 206kW/400Nm, while Honda’s forthcoming Civic Type R offers up 228kW/400Nm.

Peugeot’s Australian distributor Sime Darby Motors Group is not ready to confirm the hot hatch just yet, saying only that it is “in negotiations to secure (the) model for Australia”, but the GTi is all but certain to be offered here and will sit above the ‘warm’ $41,990 308 GT petrol (151kW/285Nm).

Expect a starting price for the new bona fide hot hatch of around $50,000.

It is unclear at this stage whether Peugeot Automobiles Australia will offer both versions of the French performance hero.

The latest iteration marks a return of the GTi badge to a Peugeot C-segment offering after a nearly 15-year absence, with the previous model to carry the iconic lettering being the 1997-2001 306 GTi.

The brand also offers a GTi version of its smaller 208 light hatch, priced from $30,990.

Peugeot Sport project manager Pierre Budar described the 308 as a great donor car, but said the GTi takes it to new heights.

“The Peugeot 308 provided an excellent base from which to develop a hot hatch, and our work mainly lay in optimising the original design to achieve flawless performance,” he said.

“But you have to get the 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport on the road or circuit to really taste its true potential.” The performance division has widened the track to 1570mm at the front and 1554mm at the rear, and tweaked the suspension set-up specifically for this new model.

The front wheel camber has been increased, the springs are significantly stiffer than standard 308s and the bushings are firmer at the rear. These measures are said to aid dynamic performance, but the company says calibration of the shock absorbers also helps reduce noise.

In 270 guise, the GTi features the striking ‘Coupe Franche’ separation line in Ultimate Red and Perla Nera Black, first seen on the 308 R concept from the 2013 Frankfurt motor show.

The new GTi sits 11mm lower to the ground than a regular 308, and carries more aggressive styling flourishes to differentiate it from its more sedate donor car, such as a black grille with a horizontal chequered pattern and gloss-black finish, which is also featured on the lower air intakes.

Two front spoilers sit below the bumper to improve aerodynamic performance, according to Peugeot, while at the rear there is a pair of fat exhaust pipes housed in a gloss-black extractor.

Both variants get 19-inch ‘Carbone 19’ wheels shod with 235/35-section Michelin Super Sport tyres, although the specification sheet does point to an 18-inch wheel and tyre option for the GTi 250.

Braking performance is also well covered, with 380mm ventilated carbon discs at the front – gripped by red four-piston callipers – and 269mm rotors at the rear.

Inside, the GTi features red stitching across the cabin on areas including the dashboard, door panels, upholstery, gearlever and floor mats, while the aluminium door sill has Peugeot Sport and GTi signature. The pedals, footrest and gear knob are aluminium as well.

The 270 adds Peugeot Sport bucket seats with leather and Alcantara, while the small steering wheel now familiar to Peugeots is finished in full-grain leather.

Being a 308, the cabin carries the same ‘i-cockpit’ as the regular car, as well as a head-up display and large touchscreen.

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