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 just under two years’ time, 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 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.
This 308 hot hatch would come under the firm’s new Peugeot Sport Engineered (PSE) sub-brand, whose badge is set to appear first on a range-topping performance version of the 508 in the autumn. Should the 508 PSE be a success, Peugeot boss Jean-Philippe 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.