Icon still standing with fresh hot hatch
Peugeot wanted to give the media the chance to compare the new 308 GTi, which will go on sale in February, with the old, in this case the iconic 205 GTI which, as far as hot hatches go, holds a special place in the lexicon.
Unfortunately, automotive nature intervened and the 205 GTI suffered heat stress and was unable to be brought back to full fitness for the challenge.
It was left to a 208 GTi and 208 GTi 30th anniversary model to present the benchmark against which the new 308 GTi was to be measured.
On a couple of laps of the track the car remained well within limits of grip, while steering a steady course through quick and tight corners.
Steering is in complete harmony with the advanced technology of the powertrain, putting the car on the correct line for any turn.
They will be available in two specifications with two levels of tuning — the 184kW 308 GTi 250 will carry a recommended retail price of $44,990, while the 200kW 308 GTi 270 one of $49,990, both plus on-road cost.
The two variants each dance to a different tune — the 250 clearing the 100km/h barrier in 6.2 seconds from a standing start, the 270 stopping the same clock in a flat six seconds.
Sitting 11mm lower than the standard 308, with a wider track of 1570mm at the front and 1554mm at the rear, the 308 GTi has been engineered to offer exceptional grip.
The GTi 270 alone has a Torsen limited-slip differential incorporated into the transmission to improve cornering traction.
The power steering also takes its lead from the Torsen technology.
The front features full LED headlamps, flanking a new black radiator grille.
The air intake is surrounded by sequential LED indicators.
Below the bumper, two spoilers optimise aerodynamic performance.
Redesigned door sills hint at the car’s no-nonsense nature, while the sleek new rear features a gloss-black section incorporating twin exhaust pipes.
Hot hatches are not normally known for comfort, but the GTi 270, during limited track time, provided a welcoming environment for a driver.
Peugeot’s 308 GTi has a roguish undertone.