After the impressive job that it made of the RCZ R, Peugeot Sport’s attention was seconded from making Dakar Rally and European Rally Championship competition cars for this project. And its work started by updating the standard GTi’s 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo four-pot engine for greater potency to make it comply with Euro 6 emissions regulations.
Its makeover has done more for torque (up 18lb ft to 221lb ft) than power (up 7bhp to 205bhp), but it has also brought CO2 emissions down by 14g/km and two company car tax percentage points and boosted claimed combined fuel economy up beyond 50mpg.
As crazy at it sounds, you now have to descend through the 208’s petrol engine range all the way to the 81bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder version to find a more economical motor. That will probably be of more significance to buyers of the 2015-model-year regular 208 GTi (which is next in line for this engine) than for owners of the 30th anniversary special, but it’s a remarkable claim in any case.
Downstream of that engine, Peugeot Sport beefed up the GTi’s transmission by transplanting the six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox and Torsen limited-slip differential directly from the RCZ R. Standard 18in alloy wheels with half an inch of extra rim width contribute to an improvement in the claimed 0-62mph acceleration to 6.5sec from the standard GTi’s 6.8sec.
You’d expect an equally thorough chassis makeover and, sure enough, you get one. The 208 GTi 30th’s suspension has been completely recommissioned compared with the normal GTi’s. Firmer springs, uprated dampers and new anti-roll bars feature, as well as wider tracks front (an extra 22mm) and rear (16mm), a 10mm reduction in ride height and more negative wheel camber.
The front brake discs have been enlarged to 323mm and its electro-mechanical power steering, traction control and ESP systems have been recalibrated to derive maximum benefit from the mechanical locking diff.
Exterior styling changes are limited mainly to matt black alloy wheels and body trim additions, although the two-tone, diagonally split paint scheme is eye-catching. Peugeot calls it ‘Coupé Franche’. For those who’d prefer it, conventional Satin White or Rioja Red paint is available.