As expected, the next-generation 308's styling appears to mark a radical departure from that of the current car, to bring it into line with the new 208, 2008 and 508, plus the facelifted 3008 and 5008.
Heavy camouflage means it's unclear at this stage how exactly that will be achieved, but it looks like the 308 will swap its protruding lower bumper for a rounded front end that incorporates Peugeot's new frameless grille and narrow headlights, while the brand's vertical daytime running lights are likely to feature in some form.
The roofline also appears to curve more steeply towards the rear, which makes the hatchback appear longer and lower, while details including new wing mirrors, a subtle rear spoiler and a sharkfin-style aerial will round off the transformation.
Peugeot boss Jean-Philippe Imparato has previously hinted that the 308 will build on the bold look of all other recent Peugeots: “We put the design first,” he said when describing why the brand's comeback has been so successful. “On top of all the investment choices, I protected the design. Then the brand image recovers.”
When it was launched in 2014, the current 308 kick-started the transformation of the entire Peugeot range with a more confident design approach. The successful, more daringly styled 3008 followed, along with the 5008, 208 and 2008.
The next 308 is set to play that role again by laying the groundwork for a new era of Peugeots when it goes on sale in 2022, most likely after a public debut towards the end of 2021.
It will be built on an updated version of the EMP2 platform that underpins more than a dozen PSA Group models and was originally introduced on today’s 308.
PSA’s strategy so far has been for EMP2 models to be offered with plug-in hybrid technology and for smaller CMP models to come with dedicated electric versions, both offered alongside existing petrol and diesel variants.
The 308 is set to get a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, mixing a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to drive the front wheels in a mainstream variant. However, it’s a proposed second plug-in hybrid model that will interest enthusiasts.
This model, developed by the brand’s new PSE performance arm, would gain an additional electric motor on the rear axle – a set-up already used on the 3008 PHEV – to give the 308 four-wheel drive and create a new 300bhp-plus hot hatch version that would also receive a host of sporty chassis and styling upgrades to challenge the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R.
The PSE badge is set to appear first on a range-topping performance version of the 508. Should the 508 PSE be a success, Imparato told Autocar the PSE formula could be applied “on the 3008 and other cars”, a comment that alludes to the desire to extend it to the 308.