The heat is on

A truly Pug­na­cious 208 is en route

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

pro­duc­tion at the Paris mo­tor show in Septem­ber and go on sale in Europe shortly af­ter.

With Peu­geot Australia get­ting cars about six months af­ter the over­seas launch, that would put its ar­rival here at about this time next year.

‘‘ Given the pop­u­lar­ity of hot hatches in Australia, the GTI ver­sion of the 208 is some­thing that we would want in our port­fo­lio,’’ spokes­woman Jae­dene Hud­son says.

It would not only give a flag­ship model to the 208 range but also build on the iconic GTI— which started life in the form of a 205— while play­ing a part in re-es­tab­lish­ing Peu­geot’s per­for­mance pres­ence in Australia.

And the man re­spon­si­ble for the 208 GTI con­cept un­veiled at Geneva mo­tor show last month, Peu­geot de­sign di­rec­tor Pierre Authier, says there is noth­ing he would change or that needs to be changed to put the car on sale.

‘‘ Ev­ery­thing you see here on the con­cept is fea­si­ble (for pro­duc­tion),’’ Authier says. ‘‘ We do this job on a real 208, we just put the de­sign and ev­ery­thing is very re­al­is­tic in­side also. So if they said we can go, it will be very quick. If we have a yes, it takes only some months.’’

The only thing that could change is the size of the al­loy wheels, tipped to shrink from 18-inch to 17-inch but re­tain their gun­metal spokes with one picked out in a red ac­cent.

Also stay­ing are the sporty cabin fit-out scat­tered with red ac­cents and the GTI badg­ing on the chrome body tab.

The driv­e­train of 147kw/ 275Nm 1.6-litre turbo four­cylin­der (shared with the strik­ing RCZ coupe) and sixspeed man­ual in the front-drive show car is also stay­ing, although it may be de­tuned slightly – pos­si­bly sav­ing the full out­puts for a spe­cial sport edi­tion.

The Volk­swa­gen Polo GTI is the first ri­val peo­ple will picture against the Peu­geot, but it will also face off against the Re­naults­port Clio and Ford Fi­esta ST.

‘‘ If we want to make the leg­end we have to be dif­fer­ent and have to em­body the new kind of sportiv­ity, but with­out be­ing deriva­tive of some of those cars,’’ Authier says.

‘‘ It will be sportive with­out ag­gres­sive­ness, much more agility, much more plea­sure.’’

Hot hatch lovers will be hop­ing the 208 GTI can re­store the mojo of the leg­endary 205 GTI that ap­peared in 1984 and be­came a bench­mark in the class— much as the over­all 205 range also did, gath­er­ing a swag of awards that in­cluded CAR mag­a­zine’s Car of the Decade in 1990.

‘‘ When we pre­sented the 208, a lot of peo­ple talk to us about the 205 but we re­ally don’t want to make a new 205,’’ Authier says.

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