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Peugeot 208 GTi goes back in time

Back to the future: Thirty examples of the 208 GTi will echo the pricing of its iconic forebear, the 205 GTi.

Special edition of Peugeot’s 208 GTi priced the same as 1980s 205 GTi

Peugeot logo24 Aug 2015

By TIM ROBSON

PEUGEOT is offering 30 examples of the 208 GTi at the same price at which it sold its 205 GTi in the 1980s $29,500, plus on-road costs.

While the company’s maths is a little off – the 205 GTi debuted in Australia in 1987, some two years after its European debut – it provides an interesting snapshot of the automotive market then and now.

“Since it launched 30 years ago, the Peugeot 205 GTi has always been viewed as an icon, one of the greats of the hot hatch segment and we thought it fitting to recognise its status with its spiritual successor the 208 GTi,” said Peugeot Australia managing director John Startari.

“While we can’t travel back in time, it’s amazing to think just how far vehicles have come in 30 years – particularly the humble hatchback.”

The original 1.9-litre four-potter in the 205 GTi made 75kW and 142Nm, a detune of almost 25kW for the Australian market. It was also sold without the option of power steering, as Peugeot engineers reportedly could not include it, and air-conditioning in right-hand-drive spec.

A five-speed manual gearbox, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 14-inch alloys, a four-speaker cassette stereo system and central locking were standard fitment.

It weighed 880kg, and could do the dash to 100km/h in 9.5 seconds.

The price of the 2015 208 GTi, meanwhile, has been reduced by just $500 to meet the 1987 mark, and it retains the same spec as before, including a turbocharged 1.6 litre petrol engine developing 147kW and 275Nm, backed by a six-speed manual.

In comparison, it gains more sophisticated traction and stability control systems, six airbags and a 7.0-inch screen-based infotainment system, along with 17-inch rims, LED daytime running lamps and more.

While it weighs in 280kg heavier than the 205, the almost twice as powerful 208 GTi does the 0-100km/h dash in 6.8s.

“The 208 GTi is one of the first cars of our product renaissance, and remains one of our best sellers,” said Peugeot Australia communications manager Tyson Bowen. “It put the GTi badge back on the radar, and gave the 208 range a boost, as well.”

He acknowledged that the lack of automatic gearbox availability stymies the ultimate growth of the car in the local market. “It’s not available with an automatic anywhere in the world,” he said.

The GTi is not the only small performance hatch that doesn’t offer an auto option Kia’s $29,990 Pro_cee’d GT and Ford’s $25,990 Fiesta ST are in similar straits. Volkswagen’s $27,490 Polo GTI, however, is available with a DSG dual-clutch gearbox as an option. All prices are before on-road costs.

Peugeot has sold 540 208 GTis since it went on sale in 2013.

The final 30 examples of the GTi will make way for the updated 208 range which is due to land in the fourth quarter of 2015. While mechanical changes to the GTi are not mooted, the addition of Peugeot’s 97kW 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo engine to the range is expected.

The $29,500 (plus on-roads) offer ends on October 21 a date made famous by the science fiction comedy movie Back to the Future II.

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