Peugeot is set to launch a hot hatchback whose performance and handling are designed to recall the greatest days of the iconic Peugeot 205 GTI. Reversing its thinking of the past 20 years — and encouraged by the target-busting success of Citroën’s DS3 range — Peugeot has decided to fit its most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines to the all-new Peugeot 208 being launched next summer. Likely to be badged RC in France, the new GTI will appear just months after the mainstream three-door and five-door models are due next June. There are likely to be two power levels. Both versions will use the much-praised 1.6-litre twin-cam turbo engine that currently powers the Citroën DS3 and Mini Cooper and is built in a joint BMW-PSA (Peugeot-Citroën) factory in France.
A 154bhp version is likely to be used in the mainstream GTI, which will be priced from about £18,000. A hotter 204bhp unit will go into a rarer, more focused model, possibly called GTI Racing, starting close to £23,000.
The quickest Peugeot 208 is on course to offer sub-7.0sec 0-60mph acceleration and a top speed well over 140mph, thus providing decent opposition for Renault’s highly successful Clio Cup, until recently largely unchallenged in the UK.