Recently Peugeot released its latest hot hatch the 208 GTi, as always they hark back and relate it to the 205 GTi. Instantly this sets them up for a fall as the 205 GTi was THE car of that era, perfect for that exact space in time.
It won’t ever be reborn or recaptured no matter how much Peugeot push it.
So forget all that nonsense right now.
£18,895 gets you a bog standard GTi with a 1.6 litre THP (Turbo High Pressure) engine, kicking out 200 BHP and 275 Nm of torque. This shifts the 1,160 KG 208 to 62 in 6.8 seconds, damn quick for a hatchback!
Our model came with Metallic Shark Grey paint at £495, park assist and cornering fog lights £280, and sat nav at £400. All making it smidge over £20k.
We already like the 208’s exterior, it’s modern, fresh and compact.
The GTi adds wheel arch extensions, lower side skirts, a deep rear spoiler, unique alloys, chrome mirror caps and a squared off dual exhaust. It also has a GTi badge on each side, in a nod to the 205.
Peugeot have also increased the front and rear track to give it a wider stance.
It’s all very smart, and helps the 208 look a little more butch than the standard model. However…it’s all a little bit subtle, in the time we had it barely anyone noticed the car at all.
If you buy a GTi you buy it because it’s something a bit special, something that people will admire and notice. But the 208 GTi doesn’t have that kind of look.
Onto the drive…well after driving the 155 THP 208 earlier in the year we thought that was quick. Wow, this thing flies!
It is a very quick car, plant your foot to the floor, at any speed, in any gear and the torque springs into life, the rear of the car hunkers down as the front wheels grip and pull you onward.
Ride is very comfortable, firm but not overly. You can still use this car daily without being shaken to pieces.
Having such a comfortable ride you would think cornering would be awful…it isn’t!
Throw the GTi round a tight corner, or straight line a roundabout and it stays pretty damn flat. We noticed a big difference over the THP 155.
With 200 HP being fed through the front wheels, in a car weighing little over a ton the wheel spin is surprisingly little.
With the ESP on you can accelerate round corners without spinning up a wheel, you don’t even notice anything is happening.
Turn the ESP off though, and then accelerate round a corner you will start to hear a tyre losing grip.
Pushed enough the 208 will also cock a back wheel, its got a very tight setup.
Rev the GTi and you get a nice burble to start with, it fades a little during the higher revs but still has a mildly sporty tone to it. Check out the video below.
Over 200 miles in the GTi we only managed 30 MPG, Peugeot state 34.4 as an Urban figure; but we can vouch for only getting 27 MPG when you put your foot to the floor!
Once inside you find some nice little touches, GTi logos adorn the backrest of the front seats, and one can also be found on the bottom of the steering wheel.
Gloss red and black dash trim follows on the sporty theme, with aluminium pedals and gear knob to finish the look.
At night the dial surrounds have a nice red illumination around them, this can be turned up or down depending on how bright you want them.
The only real criticisms about the GTi’s interior is the roof lighting, its blue…Red would have been more fitting! Oh and the seats, whilst the seats are very supportive and nice, with their 205esque part cloth middles, they just aren’t sporty enough.
The 207 GTi had completely custom bucket seats (the same that can be found in the DS3 racing), something like that would be far more appropriate.
Rear head and leg room is a little pinched with it being a 3 door, but you don’t buy a GTi to carry more than 1 passenger really…
Sound in the 208 is a bit of a let-down, again Peugeot have really flat, lifeless bass on the standard stereo. DAB was good, and the stereo is clear enough at louder volumes.
Peugeot have really stepped up to the mark with the 208 GTi, it’s worlds apart from the bloated weighty 207 GTi it replaces. Having seen quite a few on the road they seem to be selling well already!
For us though it’s a little understated in the looks department compared to the competition. But would we still have one? Yes. It’s the best hot hatch from Peugeot in a very long time!
Peugeot 208 GTi – Very fast, understated, great all round handling, nice interior details.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter