There's less understeer (you can now occasionally get the tail to step out modestly), but the whole thing is kept safe by the ESP – unless you deactivate it, whereupon you discover that the car retains great natural stability. The small steering wheel and a quick rack make the car quick to manoeuvre, too.
We had no chance to try the car in the dry, but there's no doubt the Anniversary would be a fast and entertaining all-weather mount for track days, as the 0-62mph sprint time of 6.5sec shows. Still, a Ford Fiesta ST with the addition of the £650 Mountune performance pack has even more bite, even though you don't get larger brakes or a fancy differential for that money.
On the road, the 208 GTi 30th is more than just tolerable; it works really well. It feels firm, of course, but remains flat and composed, without the jitters over bitumen ripples you might expect.
There is some noticeable torque steer during big power applications on high-crown roads, but the car mainly tracks straight. As is the case with the standard 208 GTi, the long-throw gearchange seems rather an anomaly, but it is always accurate enough and easy to use. The brakes feel immensely capable, and the new seats feel great.
Should I buy one?
Certainly, if this is your kind of car. This is an improved iteration of a very decent hot hatch that is better in practically every way. However, you'd better get your skates on.
The UK market is getting only 100 of the 800 due to be built, and these have already been snapped up by dealers. The price premium of around £2000 over the standard 208 GTi pushes the price closer to the Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nürburgring than traditonal rivals from Ford and Renault, but this will surely become the classic 208 to own, with a residual value to match.
It helps a lot that the CO2 output falls from the standard car's 139g/km to just 125g/km, too, an output that until recently was only in the realm of economy cars.
After a pause, Peugeot is suddenly making life hard for Renault, whose latest Clio RS is a backward step. Peugeot, meanwhile, is moving decisively in the right direction.
Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary
Price £21,995; 0-62mph 6.5sec; Top speed 143mph; Economy 52.3mpg (combined); CO2 125g/km; Kerb weight 1185kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1598cc, turbo, petrol; Power 205bhp at 4400rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 6-speed automatic