Peugeot wants to build on the impressive RCZ with a GTI version of the 207 replacement that could become the French company’s finest hot hatchback in more than a decade.
The hot version of the new car (likely to be called 208) is being produced for the British and German markets — the only countries where hot hatches are bought in significant quantities — although it will also be offered in France.
The plan to develop a more competitive GTI stems from the fresh focus Peugeot placed on its traditional product strengths in January. According to Jean-Marc Gales, director of both the Peugeot and Citroën brands, future Peugeots will be known for their “precision, allure, style, driver control and excellence”.
The firm is keen to reinvigorate the reputation it once had for handling and roadholding.
The 208 GTI will almost certainly feature the 197bhp 1.6 THP petrol engine that has just made its debut in the RCZ, featuring variable valve lift, a twin-scroll turbo and variable cam timing. Marketing boss Xavier Peugeot says the 208 will be lighter than the 207, as part of Peugeot’s policy of shedding weight from each new-generation model.
Lesser variants will get three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and stop-start tech. But even the GTI will feature some fuel-saving and CO2-reducing technologies, Peugeot says.
The 208 will be launched in 2012, and will be the first Peugeot to be entirely developed using the new design language first seen on the SR1 sports concept.