This is a quicker, more capable and more exciting 208 GTi than the one that first emerged a couple of years ago. Its improvements are bullishly obvious.

Which is appropriate, because to get the best out of them, you must continually and unmercifully examine its limits. So it’s apparent just how much of a committed enthusiast you’d have to be to live with this 208 in the long term.

Fast and appropriately furious but, in truth, the 208 is only the best of the rest

Its faults notwithstanding, we were modestly fond of the standard car’s bed-ruffled way of doing things, and it’s inevitably that easy-going edge which has had to go.

Making the 208 GTi ostensibly better hasn’t necessarily made it any more likeable. This 30th birthday version has become a better hot hatch than its competition from Renaultsport, sure – but we’ll take a more communicative hot hatch over a brutish one most of the time.

That explains the Fiesta ST’s monopoly of the hot supermini top spot, and the 30th’s distance from it.


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