Peugeot is promising to “regenerate the legend” of the iconic 205 GTI with its all-new 208 GTI, seen here officially in production form for the first time ahead of its debut at the Paris motor show later this month.
The Peugeot 208 GTI is lower and wider than the standard three-door on which it is based. It is powered by a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine that, Peugeot says, will propel it from zero to 62mph in less than 7.0sec.
The 1.6 THP engine is familiar from other performance Peugeot and Citroën models, including the RCZ and DS3. In the 208 GTI, it produces 197bhp and 203lb ft of torque, outputs that match those of the most potent RCZ GT THP 200.It is mated to a six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox.
Peugeot has yet to confirm a top speed, but it is understood to be in excess of 140mph. Acceleration from 50mph to 75mph in fifth gear is put at less than 7.0sec. CO2 emissions are rated at 145g/km.Peugeot promises that the 208 GTI will make an “appealing sound”, thanks to a reworked exhaust system.
GTI chassis changes over a standard 208 include tracks that are 10mm wider at the front and 20mm wider at the rear. The MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear suspension has also been tuned for “an incisive driving experience”.
The 208 GTI will have sports springs, recalibrated dampers, revised anti-roll bars and enhanced front subframe and rear cross-member rigidity. The steering has been tuned to increase firmness.
Other additions include bespoke 17-inch ‘Diamond Carbon’ alloy wheels that are painted and finished in a matt varnish. The wheels are shod in 204/45 tyres and cover 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 249mm discs at the rear. The brakes are cooled by “dynamic air intakes”.
The 208 GTI’s dynamics manager, Marie Beaumont, described the standard three-door 208 as “an excellent base for developing a sports hatchback”. He added: “We have worked with particular attention on the steering response, the chassis dynamics and rigidity of the suspension.”
The light weight of the standard 208 has enabled a kerb weight of just 1160kg for the GTI. That’s 80kg lighter than the Renault Clio 200 and 165kg lighter than the 207 GTI, which was last on sale in the UK three years ago.
The 208 GTI is easily distinguished as the hot hatch in the 208 range thanks to a series of cosmetic changes, inside and out. Its body kit has flared wheel arches and wider side sills. New LED daytime running lights are fitted, as is a bespoke finish for the grille that’s designed to give a chequered flag effect.
Other exterior features include special red and chrome trim and a GTI logo on each C-pillar that pays homage to the 205 GTI.
Inside, the door handles, centre console, instrument panel and leather-wrapped steering wheel feature trim that matches the exterior colour. Aluminium pedals are also fitted, as are part-leather sports seats and an aluminium gearknob.
Deliveries of the 208 GTI are expected to start in spring 2013. Peugeot is tight-lipped on pricing, but a figure of about £21,000 is likely.