AGTDOUBLE ACT

NZ Autocar - - New Arrival -

Not one but two new flash Har­riet 308 GT mod­els have dot­ted down from Peu­geot, round­ing out its compact line rather swiftly. There’s a 308 GTi tot­ing the RCZ-R’s hyped up 1.6-litre tur­bocharged en­gine, and a GT, the lat­ter be­ing a 2.0-litre sport diesel which is a bit novel. Both are C-sec­tor five-door hot hatches.

Hamp­ton Downs was the venue for the launch so we can­not re­port how they go on-road, but we’d ex­pect rather nicely, given how well each per­formed dur­ing a few flat-tack laps of the cir­cuit.

The Downs, by the by, is well on its way to Stage Two com­ple­tion un­der Tony Quinn’s ste­ward­ship and the full cir­cuit should be ready for use by Oc­to­ber. Read more on page 84.

Mean­time, we got to grips with the GT and GTi on the ex­ist­ing half cir­cuit, it­self a de­cent test of dy­nam­ics, and un­der­took a slalom test in the GTi. Some drag rac­ing in the GT on the front straight com­plete with the Christ­mas tree didn’t re­veal any­thing other than the ex­pected turbo lag; hit the gas when the middle yel­low light goes out and you’re away on time when the green light ex­tin­guishes!

To take any­thing diesel to a race­track says some­thing of Peu­geot NZ’s con­fi­dence in the GT and in­deed it didn’t dis­grace it­self. Up­shift­ing around 4500rpm you’re al­ways left won­der­ing where the rest of the revs went af­ter driv­ing the manic petrol GTi but there’s good punch when you hook the next gear, the ex­haust noise is sur­pris­ingly low pitched, and dare we sug­gest al­most sporty. It’s im­pres­sive for a tur­bod­iesel. The GT alone is avail­able with an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, the Aisin-de­vel­oped unit a sixspeeder. The GTi is man­ual only, which is a bit typ­i­cal of Euro-cen­tric car mak­ers. For the few re­main­ing man­ual fans, how­ever, the GTi has a six speeder on of­fer; we found the space be­tween the al­loy ped­als lim­ited, and duffed a few shifts, hit­ting fourth in­stead of se­cond a few times. That said, the GTi brims with midrange grunt, feel­ing su­per­hero strong for a 1.6. There’s 330Nm avail­able from 1900-5000rpm, and with over 200kW on tap at 6000rpm, top speed is lim­ited to 250km/h. Sportier sus­pen­sion and ESP make for fun laps on track.

The GT was not al­ways a fore­gone con­clu­sion for the Kiwi mar­ket, but got the green light once it had been sam­pled on lo­cal roads. The diesel gen­er­ates 400Nm at 2000rpm, and is an en­gag­ing

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