The Peugeot 205 GTi first appeared, in 1.6-litre form, in 1984
It quickly became a desirable and much-revered car
Initially the car's 1.6-litre engine produced 105bhp, later it was tweaked to 115bhp.
1.9-litre versions of the GTi packed a 130bhp punch
The 1.9-litre GTi was reputedly capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in 7.8sec, when new
The GTi's interior offered just the bare essentials, helping it to a relatively low kerb weight of less than 900kg
It was moderately practical too, thanks to four seats and - comparitively - a decently sized boot
The interior was absolutely spot on; good visibility improved confidence on twisty roads
Oil pressure gauge helped drivers keep an eye on the four-cylinder engine's health
Red detailing is a GTi hallmark
Five-speed transmission sends drive to the front wheels
The 205 GTi sits alongside other hot hatch icons like the VW Golf GTI and Renault Clio Williams
Both 1.6- and 1.9-litre variants offer huge amounts of involvement; if you're considering a GTi don't discount the 1.6
The 205 GTI remained in production until 1994
Some still treat it as a benchmark hot hatch
Its responsive handling and low weight made it a hit with enthusiasts
Many would argue that the 205 GTi was the best hot hatch ever made
The 205 GTi arrived as a 1.6 in 1984, the 1.9 towards the end of 1986
The '1.9' badges and different wheels mark out the 130bhp GTi
Prices for good examples are spiralling upwards, but you can still find usable 205 GTis for upwards of £1000
Just be wary of cars with excessive corrosion; the mechanicals are easy to fix, bodywork less so
Virtually all 205 GTis are eligible for classic insurance, helping keep running costs down
The standard 205 won What Car?'s car of the year award in 1983
The 205's success in both motorsport and on the road made it a hard car to follow up
The 205 had great success in motorsport, particularly in rallying
Peugeot's 205 T16 was the most successful Group B car
200 road-going T16s were built by Heuliez, a French company specialising in short production runs
A 205 competed in the 1000 Lakes Rally in 1986 with Stig Blomqvist at the wheel
The "Evolution" models of the T16 featured more prominent ductwork and spoilers
Ari Vatenen gets his 205 T16 suitably sideways during the 1985 Sweden Rally
Road-legal versions of the 205 T16 produced around 200bhp; the rally cars reputedly produced up to and over 500bhp
Peugeot reportedly made a loss on every 205 T16 sold
The T16 had three differentials; 66 per cent of the torque was sent to the rear wheels
Rivals for the T16 included the Audi UR-Quattro and Ford RS200
Entry-level 205s featured a four-cylinder 954cc petrol engine
The 205 was offered with a naturally aspirated diesel engine in its early life; performance was lacking
Myriad special editions were launched, including this 1993 diesel-engined "Sceptre"
The convertible 205 CJ featured Peugeot's peppy 1.4-litre petrol engine
Those wanting GTi performance in a convertible were offered just that with the launch of the soft-top CTi
It was initially launched with the 1.6-litre engine out of the GTi
Peugeot has attempted to repeat the successes of the 205 with the likes of the 208
For those seeking something more individual, Peugeot offered factory-fitted Dimma bodykits and interior retrims
The 102bhp "Rallye" benefitted from a sub-800kg kerb weight
Peugeot's 205 GTi has proven a popular car in many other motorsport series as well, especially entry-level ones
It's undisputedly an all-time great
Peugeot is celebrating 30 years since the launch of the iconic 205 GTi with a special 205bhp version of its 208 GTi. As that car seeks to evoke the spirit of the storming original, we look back at the history of what has become one of the world's greatest hot hatchbacks.
Life for the Peugeot 205 began in 1983 when it was launched as the successor to the Peugeot 104. Created to fill the gap between that 104 supermini and the 305, the 205 was penned in-house by Gerard Welter with interior touches done by Paul Bracq.
In its debut year, the Peugeot 205 finished runner-up in the European Car of the Year but was rightfully awarded the 1983 Car of the Year by What Car?.
The French manufacturer quickly realised the model’s sporting potential and a year later, in April 1984, released the Peugeot 205 GTi. Powered by a 105bhp 1.6-litre engine and tipping the scales at less than 900kg, it could shoot from 0-62mph in 8.7sec and had a top speed of 116mph.
The faster GTi 1.9 was launched at the end of 1986, boasting 130bhp. It was capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in 7.8sec and boasted a top speed of 127mph. During 1986 the 1.6-litre version was also upgraded, with peak power now quoted at 115bhp.
To this day, opinion is still divided among motoring journalists as to which variant provides the better GTi experience, with some preferring the peaky power delivery of the 1.6-litre derivative and others favouring the increased torque of the 1.9. However, the Peugeot 205 GTi in either form is still comfortably regarded as one of the greatest hot hatchbacks of all time.
In 1984 Peugeot Talbot Sport - led at the time by current FIA President Jean Todt - unleashed the 205 T16 on the World Rally Championship. There were also 200 road-going examples built for homologation purposes.
Despite adopting four-wheel drive and a transverse mid-engined layout, the production T16s shared little in common with the WRC cars, and initially had less than half the power at around 200bhp. However, the 205 T16 Evo 2 changed that, coming with 450bhp and a reputed 0-60mph time of 3.3sec.
In 1985, Peugeot exploited the skill of Pininfarina to design the 205 cabriolet and a ‘CTi’ version was released partnering the same sportier styling as the GTi, but without its roof, and the 1.6-litre and later, 1.9-litre powerplants.
Other potent Peugeot 205s which gained brownie points among petrolheads included the underrated 205 XS built from 1986 to 1992 and the rare ultra-lightweight 205 Rallye.
With almost all luxury items and soundproofing stripped and only the bare essential electrics left, the Rallye’s kerb weight was down to 795kg, with a 1.4-litre 75bhp engine propelling the car to 60mph in 11.3sec.
In 1992, Peugeot UK revealed a special limited edition of the 205 GTi - badged the 1FM - to celebrate BBC Radio 1’s 25th birthday. Only available in black with bespoke ‘Radio1FM’ badging and decals, grey alloy wheels and individual brass-plate numbering marking the build number, only 25 examples were made.
When production finally ground to a halt, Peugeot had sold 5.2 million examples of the 205.
To celebrate 30 years since the car's launch, Peugeot this year unveiled a limited-edition version of the 208 GTi at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer.
With just 100 examples coming to the UK, the 208 GTi 30th anniversary special features a 1.6-litre THP petrol engine producing 205bhp and 221lb ft. It also features a Torsen differential taken from the RCZ R, as well as lowered suspension, larger 18-inch alloys and a widened front and rear track.