Peugeot released the all-new 308 last year to much accolade, it even won car of the year. Now, Peugeot have come back with the GT model, keeping up the hype before a full blown GTi reaches us.
The line up consists of a Petrol 1.6 THP engine producing 202 BHP and 285 Nm of torque; and a 2.0 litre Diesel making 178 BHP and a huge 400 Nm of torque – mated to the catchily named EAT 6 automatic gearbox.
Both versions can be had in either hatch or estate form and are priced from £24,095 for the petrol and £24, 945 for the diesel hatchback.
For these GT models Peugeot have made some subtle styling changes to help set them apart.
Up front you find the Peugeot lion has moved from the bonnet to the nose of the car, it is shouldered by full LED headlights as standard. Newly designed indicators that propagate outwards when on sit above freshly cut air ducts.
At the back the 308 is finished off with fake twin exit exhaust pipes and a gloss black rear diffuser.
This 308 also grows in width slightly thanks to some protruding side skirts.
GT badging is naturally scattered on the front grille, boot lid and front arches, to finish off the look the 308 GT sits on 18-inch ‘Diamant’ wheels, shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 rubber.
Although the exterior differences are minor they definitely smarten up the 308.
Unfortunately Peugeot have gone the same way as BMW, Audi and Volvo in the fact that they have adopted a sporty trim level that is an exact carbon copy of the higher echelon products – GT Line.
So now your brand spanking new 308 GT can look exactly like a 1.2 THP, great!
We were mainly interested in the Petrol THP version; it has a quoted 0-62 of 7.5 seconds – not bad for a warm hatch.
Off the line it genuinely feels nippy, in gear power is also nicely on tap. You can easily resist changing down for a lazy overtake and let the power build. When you knock it down a cog or two it can feel a little on the slow side depending on your speed, this is where the Diesel steps in nicely.
Due to its 400 Nm of torque it has more than enough push to dispatch a motorway overtake with ease; whereas the THP has to be worked just a little bit more.
With this being a GT not a GTi the setup is softer than a fully blown hot hatch version. Ride height has been lowered by 7mm up front, 10mm at the rear. Springs have been stiffened by up to 20% depending on the model you choose.
It’s a great halfway house between everyday usability and performance. Chucking it into a corner there really isn’t much body movement, it does however have a tendency to push wide, this is made worse in the diesel by the added heft up front.
Unlike the RCZ which has a rubber membrane between the engine and the cabin – to help transfer that sporty sound inside – Peugeot have gone the route of many other marques with the 308 GT, in so far as they have added a synthesized engine sound across the stereo to convey a more sporting feel.
This is activated once you press the ‘Sport’ button near the gearstick, unfortunately it cannot be switched off…the THP200 sounds fine without this fake nonsense. The exhaust has the same rasp on let off as the 208 GTi, for many petrol heads it will just feel rather gimmicky.
Pressing the Sport button for a few seconds sharpens the throttle response and quickens the steering, without Sport mode the wheel can feel somewhat limp, taking what seems like an age to begin to turn in. In Sport mode it’s transformed, turn in is instant and direct, there is still little feel about it but at least you get a response straight away.
The 308 GT also sports floating calipers up front, and discs measuring 330mm, whilst the rears make do with 268mm on the hatch and 290 on the estate.
Braking is well catered for, and whilst on a spirited drive through the Portuguese mountain roads they never let go.
You can have a lot of fun in the 308 GT, it covers ground at a decent pace but never quite feels genuinely rapid, but its not meant to be savage – this is a GT car after all.
Inside the 308 you still get that smart, Germanic inspired minimal look, however now it’s finished off rather smartly with red stitching and splashes of stainless steel trim.
We particularly liked the standard part Alcantara seats, they look really smart and modern, holding you just enough in the corners without being rock solid.
Mounted in the central tunnel is the ‘Start’ button – thank Christ keyless entry is standard, the 208 GTi doesn’t even get that luxury! Next to it, rather awkwardly placed you find the Sport button, because of the deeply bolstered seats you have to contort your arm to get to it because it is behind the gearstick, in front would have been better.
The infotainment system also gets a rebrand with a chequered flag background, a GT welcome message and a new red and black theme throughout.
Apart from that it’s standard 308 inside.
There are some things we really don’t like with the 308 GT, the fake exhaust trim being the first. Do it properly or don’t do it at all. Secondly the synthetic exhaust piped through the stereo, it’s not needed and should at least come with the option to fully disable it. Lastly the awkwardly placed Sport button, it’s just a pain!
But after those minor foibles, Peugeot have actually made a damn good comfy cruiser with the 308 GT.
Opt for the Diesel and you get more pulling power at speed, but work the THP -keeping the revs above halfway and you find a fun car that will be superb for the occasional B road blast on the way home from work.
Peugeot 308 GT – Beefy looks, fast enough to be fun, lose the fake exhaust sound!
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter