Peugeot has unveiled the 308 GTI, a fast but frugal 268bhp five-door hot hatch, intended to rival a raft of competitors including the Seat Leon Cupra and the Ford Focus ST, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
As expected, the new model uses the same 1.6-litre THP petrol engine as the RCZ-R, albeit tweaked for Euro6 compliance. Its CO2 emissions of 139g/km are class-leading, and backed by a 6.0 sec 0-62mph time.
Alongside the 268bhp headliner, Peugeot will offer a 247bhp version of the same engine. Torque output for both is 243lb ft, driving the front wheels exclusively via a standard manual six-speed gearbox.
The chief difference between the two is the fitment of a mechanical Torsen limited slip differential to the more powerful variant. This too is a carryover from the RCZ-R and the 208 GTI 30th edition.
Like those models, the GTI is the work of Peugeot Sport, the brand’s performance division. In development for around a year, the new 308 boasts a suitably enhanced chassis to go with its performance boost.
Even when compared to the recent warmed-up GT, the GTI sits fully 11mm closer to the ground on dramatically firmer springs - Peugeot insisting the rear torsion beam is 100 per cent stiffer than previously.
The dampers have also been recalibrated, as have the hydraulic bump stops. The camber on the standard 19-inch wheels (18-inch for the 247bhp version) is increased, and the tracks widened front and rear.
Predictably, the 308’s electric steering has also been revised, the engineer’s admitting that managing torque steer and the interaction of the new differential have been among their hardest challenges.
The decision to allow the ESP to be completely switched out by the driver will have hopefully come easier, as will the inclusion of yet bigger brakes - the front discs now measuring 380mm.
Certainly the styling garnish has been kept to the modest end of the scale. An exclusive black grille, additional spoilers and intakes, sill extenders, a gloss black diffuser and twin exhausts have been added.
None are outrageous, though. Extroverts will be steered instead to the paint options where the Coupe Franche version - a black and red split livery - is an additional £1300 option for the 268bhp edition.
Following a September launch, expect that car to go on sale in the UK at around £28,250. Expect the entry-level version to cost about £2k less.
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