Peugeot’s 208 might just be upstaged by the sleek GTI
black mesh grille with chrome accents.
The accents are echoed at the rear with a black skirt and chrome trapezoid twin tips from a reworked exhaust system that Peugeot says will give an ‘‘ appealing sound’’. A chrome window sill strip and GTi logo tab on each roof pillar salute the 205 GTi that started Peugeot’s hot-hatch reputation — and which the maker promises will be regenerated with the latest iteration.
The cabin sports red saddlestitching setting off the black leather and cloth upholstery, flat-bottomed steering wheel, gloss red door grabs and dash accents and red-lit instruments. Emphasising its performance intentions, it features sports seats, drilled aluminium pedals and aluminium gear knob.
The production GTi sits on a wider track than the standard 208 with 17-inch alloys in the flared wheel arches sporting 302mm front and 249mm rear discs cooled by dynamic air intakes. The MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear suspension has also been tuned, the steering tweaked and the suspension revised with recalibrated shock absorbers, stiffer springs and upgraded cross members.
As Carsguide reported in April, the Peugeot 208 GTi will be powered by the 147kW/ 275Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the RCZ sports coupe (and Citroen DS3) mated to a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission driving the front wheels.
With just 1160kg to flick around, Peugeot says the 208 GTi will hit 100km/h in less than 7.0 seconds but has not yet confirmed a top speed. Peugeot hasn’t released a fuel economy figure but the official CO emission of 145g/km signals somewhere about 6.0L/100km, and you can guess that’s using premium petrol.
The Volkswagen Polo GTi is the first obvious rival but the Peugeot will also face off against the Renault Sport Clio RS200 and Ford Fiesta ST. It trumps that trio on power and torque. As far as handling goes we’ll probably have to wait about 10 months until it gets here to find out.
‘‘ The 208 GTi is still a fair way out for us, we’re saying some time around June next year,’’ says Peugeot Australia spokeswoman Jaedene Hudson, adding that it’s too early to estimate the number of cars to arrive.
‘‘ We’re just about to launch the 208 and we’ll have to gauge the response to that before we gauge what we’ll need for the 208 GTi.’’
There’s no indication yet of pricing but we can probably expect it to be competitive against the $27,790 three-door VWPolo GTi as Peugeot works hard to gain traction in the Australian market.
Entrance: The GTi logo tab is on each roof pillar