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Peugeot set to debut 308 GTi at Goodwood

Sacre blue: Peugeot will use the Goodwood Festival of Speed to debut the 308 GTi, as well as the 308 R Hybrid concept from the Shanghai Show (left).

Release indicates Peugeot 308 GTi will launch at UK car festival

Peugeot logo2 Jun 2015

By TIM ROBSON

PEUGEOT has dropped its largest hint yet that it will soon unveil the long-awaited 308 GTi hot hatch, which is set to do battle with the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI and Ford’s Focus ST.

According to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the French car-maker will display a new “performance model” at this year's automotive extravaganza on June 25, with a release cheekily suggesting to “insert your calculated guesses here,” all but confirming the mystery model as the 308 GTi.

It will be displayed at the English motoring festival alongside the European debut of the show-stopping 308 R Hybrid that was revealed at April's Shanghai motor show.

While Peugeot Australia had received no word from head office about the Goodwood event, PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen said that the company would welcome the addition.

“We have had no advice from PSA at this point, but we would love to see it,” Mr Bowen told GoAuto. “It would fit well here, and we would like to have the car here.” Peugeot has not produced a GTi variant of its B-segment hatch since the 306 ceased production in 1999.

While the 299kW R Hybrid is unlikely to share any of its three-engine technology with the new GTi, another Peugeot sportscar – the $68,990 RCZ R – could hold the key to the 308’s potential powertrain spec.

Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces a healthy 199kW and 330Nm, the RCZ R’s driveline is the most logical motivator for the new hatch.

The RCZ R and the company’s smaller 208 GTi are available only in manual, and the 308 is unlikely to inherit any form of self-shifter.

It’s unlikely, too, that Peugeot will have developed an alternate chassis layout for the hot 308, which should retain the strut front/torsion beam rear layout long favoured by the French car-maker.

Expect revised springs and dampers, as well as stiffer anti-roll bars and larger brakes, while the vehicle’s chassis control systems could also get a retune.

Given that the base 308 weighs 1090kg in 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol manual guise, up to 1200kg for the 151kW 1.6-litre GT petrol, the GTi is set to be a sharp performer.

Peugeot 308 sales stand at 581 for the year to the end of April, a massive 221 per cent lift from the same time last year. A strong April figure of 186 sales ensured the 308 outsold the likes of the Renault Megane (138) and Alfa Romeo Giulietta (114).

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