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Driven: Peugeot 308 powers up with GT

Grand designs: The GT variant is in Peugeot showrooms now and is the new 308 range-topper.

Three four-cylinder turbo variants warm up Peugeot’s 308 range

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Peugeot logo24 Feb 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

PEUGEOT has taken the next step in its recovery phase with the launch of more generously equipped and higher-powered additions to the 308 range this week, including the warmed-over GT that now sits at the top of the tree.

Available now from $32,790, plus on-road costs, in 110kW THP Allure and Allure Premium hatch and Touring wagon guises, as well as from $41,990 in 151kW THP GT hatch-only variations, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines supplement the lauded 96kW e-THP 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol unit powering the continuing Active, Access and Allure hatchbacks.

In terms of turbo-diesels, a second GT hatch with an uprated 133kW BlueHDi version of the Allure and Allure Premium hatch and Touring models’ 110kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine joins the 308 stable, kicking off from $42,990.

However, Peugeot Australia has also snuck in a couple of price rises in the process, to the tune of $1000 on the volume-selling Active 96kW e-THP auto (it now starts from $28,340) and $500 on both existing 110kW BlueHDi versions.

Additionally, the up-spec Allure 96kW e-THP hatch has been dropped to make room for the 110kW models.

While stressing that the GTs are ‘warm’ rather than ‘hot’ hatches, Peugeot Australia general manager John Startari said they appeal to a large cross-section of the upper small-car market, combining driving enjoyment with luxury refinement.

“It is a huge opportunity for customers who have owned a performance Peugeot in the past to re-engage with the brand,” he told Australian journalists at the extended 308 range media launch in Albury.

“While the GT is not a hot hatch, it is a massive return to form for us.” Expected to account for at least five per cent of total 308 volume – a conservative but sustainable number, according to one company spokesman, the GT brings an array of performance, chassis and visual modifications in line with Peugeot’s ‘grand touring’ aspirations for it.

The GT 151kW e-TH uses the BMW/PSA joint-venture 1.6-litre Prince direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine with idle-stop technology to deliver 151kW of power at 5000rpm and 285Nm of torque between 1750rpm and 4500rpm.

Driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox only, the 1200kg GT hits 100km/h from standstill in 7.5 seconds, on the way to a 235km/h top speed – a figure aided by a slippery coefficient of drag of 0.28Cd.

Its combined average fuel consumption figure is 5.6 litres per 100km, emitting 130 grams/km of carbon dioxide pollution.

The 133kW GT’s 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel is a development of the long-lived common-rail unit shared with Ford, but has been thoroughly overhauled, losing 7kg – although the oiler adds 120kg to the 308’s total mass.

Matched to a revised six-speed automatic transmission with faster changes than in the 110kW version, its performance and fuel figures are 133kW at 3750rpm, 400Nm at 2000rpm, 8.4 seconds to 100km/h, 220km/h V-max, and 4.0L/100km for just 103g/km of CO2 exhaust. No manual diesel alternative is available.

To help cope with the extra performance, the GT variants’ ride height drops by 7mm in the front and 10mm at the rear, as part of chassis upgrades that also includes stiffened spring rates for the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear altered by 10 to 20 per cent (petrol/diesel respectively), along with unique dampers, hydraulic bump stops and retuned (sharper, firmer) electric rack and pinion steering.

The throttle mapping is more responsive, and the brakes have been beefed up to 330mm x 30mm vented discs in the front axle and 268mm x 18mm solid discs behind. The Electronic Stability Control system is also fully switchable.

On the visual front, besides sitting lower than regular 308s, the GT features all-LED headlights, directional LED indicators moved down into the bumper, a unique grille (with Peugeot lion moving to its centre from the trailing edge of the bonnet) and bumper treatment, deeper front air scoops, subtle side body sill kit, heavier window tint, black mirror caps, a gloss-black rear diffuser sporting twin exhaust pipes, GT badging, and 18-inch Diamond alloys shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 225/40R14 tyres.

The standard kit rollcall rises, with Peugeot’s Driver Sport Pack bringing an artificially amplified engine sound, instruments with red display, additional power, torque, turbo pressure and G-forces, paddle shifters on the diesel auto, red stitching, sports seats, anthracite trim, and aluminium detailing.

Helping justify the increased entry price, radar-guided cruise control, Emergency Collision Alert System, Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring and Park Assist are also standard in the GT.

This is on top of the 9.7-inch touchscreen, 6.9GB multimedia storage, satellite navigation, reverse camera, front and rear parking radar, massaging and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, Bluetooth audio streaming, interior mood lighting and auto headlights and wipers. Leather adds $2500 and metallic paint costs $990 – and the latter applies to all bar one colour.

Most of this kit will also be standard on the Allure Premium, while its engine is the same 1.6-litre as found in the GT, but developing 110kW at 5000rpm and 240Nm from 1400rpm to 4400rpm.

A six-speed auto-only offering (using an Aisin-developed gearbox), it reaches 100km/h in 8.5 seconds (wagon: 8.8s), 211km/h V-max (wagon: 210km/h), 6.5L/100km and 150g/km of CO2.

As with all 308s, the newcomers use Peugeot’s new EMP2 architecture also underpinning the Citroen C4 Picasso twins. The architecture is the result of a four-and-a-half-year, four million kilometres-plus development that saw a weight decrease of 140kg with strength and longevity aspects improved markedly over the old PF2 platform.

All 308s come with a five-year capped-price servicing plan in 12 month or 15,000km servicing intervals, and the warranty period remains at three years or 100,000km.

Peugeot 308 pricing*
Hatchback
Access e-THP $21,990
Access e-THP (a) $23,990
Active e-THP (a) $28,340 (+$1000)
Allure THP (a) $32,790 (NEW)
Allure BlueHDi (a) $35,290 (+$500)
Allure Premium THP (a) $36,440
Allure Premium BlueHDi (a) $38,940 (NEW)
GT e-THP $41,990 (NEW)
GT BlueHDi (a) $42,990 (NEW)
Touring Wagon
Allure THP (a) $35,490 (NEW)
Allure BlueHDi (a) $37,990 (+$500)
Allure Premium THP (a) $39,140 (NEW)
Allure Premium BlueHDi (a) $41,640
*Excludes on-road costs.

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