So Peugeot is to abandon not only the GTI badge, but the concept behind it. Put another way, and if Peugeot is to be believed, it has designed its last hot hatch.
My emotions on the subject are mixed. On the one hand I can get all misty eyed about 205 and 306 GTIs and observe that we’ll never see their like again. On the other, that’s been true for some time and Peugeot’s more recent past has produced an unbroken line of such hot hatch mediocrity that I wonder if anyone’s really going to miss them at all.
What interests me is the thought process that led Peugeot to conclude its future lies in expensive coupes like the forthcoming RCZ. If I understand the thinking properly, such cars will help build the Peugeot brand more quickly and effectively that souped up versions of extant product and are potentially more profitable per unit. Fair enough.
But history is littered with cases of car manufacturers with ideas for their brands loftier than they are able to support and by putting these coupes at the forefront of its brand building aspiration, Peugeot is declining comparisons with Vauxhall, Renault and Citroen and instead inviting them from Audi, BMW and Alfa Romeo.