GT steers and goes like a hot hatch should
1.6-litre turbo engine also used by new Mini Cooper S
Few external clues mark this out as the GT
GT 150 marks a return to the proper Peugeot hot hatch
What is it? The new hot Peugeot 207, fitted with the same turbocharged engine used in the new Mini Cooper S, here tuned to 150bhp. What's it like? Shout this from the rooftops: Peugeot is building involving hot hatchbacks again. Having whetted the appetite of Europe's keen drivers a decade ago with fast and brilliant 205s, it lost us completely through the 206 years. So when the 207 appeared earlier this year, we were anxious. The fastest launch model going, the 110bhp diesel-powered GT HDi was a bit too nose-heavy and flaccid in the suspension department to really deliver the goods, but we knew quicker cars were coming. Now the 150bhp GT Turbo has arrived, solidly priced at £14,345. It's the first of two fast, direct-injection petrol 207s powered by the new joint 1.6-litre BMW-PSA four-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbo, and it does recall the promise of the old days, despite huge increases in weight and size. And this isn't even the quickest version: there will also be a 175bhp GTi, which shares its engine with the new Mini Cooper S. But both engines have a peak torque output of 177lb ft, and the GT achieves its maximum lower in the rev range than the GTi. Think of the GT as a quick cruiser, and it comes alive. The engine is smooth and extremely torquey from low revs. It's not keen to rev much beyond 5500rpm, where it gets rather boomy, but the six-speed gearbox makes chasing the red line unnecessary. Acceleration feels strong (0-62mph in 8.1sec) and the GT just beats 130mph flat out. The best news, however, is that this highly capable engine is well supported by a sporty chassis. The car feels low and wide-tracked, and its sweetly balanced electric power steering seems instantly accurate and ideally weighted. The 207 turns in neatly, grips beautifully, rides bumps with a kind of controlled suppleness, and will even throttle-steer pretty well, though there's no hint of the instant oversteer of the old days. Should I buy one? Possibly. The new GT is well equipped, although a little pricier than rivals like Ford's Fiesta ST, which has similar power but is more spartan. As ever, for a definitive verdict we must wait to drive it on Britain's peculiarly evil road surfaces and in right-hand-drive but the omens so far are promising.