Hot 308 GTi is all go with plenty of show

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH -

NOW I know I have said this be­fore, but I con­tinue to be as­tounded at just how much power mod­ern au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neers man­age to squeeze from mod­est mo­tors.

Take this week’s test car – the bril­liant 2016 model year Peu­geot 308 GTi 270. De­spite only hav­ing a 1598cc petrol en­gine this mid-sized pocket rocket gen­er­ates 266bhp, can do 62mph in just six sec­onds and carry on to a high­ly­il­le­gal and elec­tron­i­cal­lylim­ited 155.

The turbo-power de­liv­ery on this front wheel drive hatch­back is pos­i­tively bru­tal and care is needed to avoid the front wheels scrab­bling for grip, al­though there is a torque-sens­ing dif­fer­en­tial to help out.

It has al­most 20 more horses than the very im­pres­sive 2-litre Fo­cus ST, is half a se­cond quicker in the 0-62 sprint and even beats it (just) on top speed. How­ever, the only area the ST does win over the GTi 270 is on price, be­ing over £5,000 cheaper for the base model – al­though this does not have the same level of equip­ment and there is a cheaper (£26,555) and slightly slower GTi 250 with 247bhp.

I got to give the Peu­geot a good work­out us­ing it for a trip with the supreme be­ing to see some good friends who have a de­light­ful hol­i­day home on the is­land of An­gle­sey.

It was a 250-mile round trip and the 308GTI had a long his­tory to live up to – most no­tably the 205 GTi of the late 1980s and early 1990s which, along with the Golf GTi, be­came the bench­marks for hot hatch­backs. Over 62,000 were sold in the UK.

The 308 GTi 207 scored straight away in the looks depart­ment hav­ing the stan­dard 270 19” ‘Car­bone’ al­loy wheels (each 2.3kg lighter than the 18” al­loys fit­ted to the slower 250) with Pi­lot Su­per Sport low pro­file tyres and a dra­matic op­tional ex­tra the ‘Coupe Franche’ (£1,300) paint job, which means the front two thirds of the car is metal­lic red and the back third metal­lic black.

There are also a pair of meaty ex­haust pipes which in sport mode, thanks to some clever au­dio as­sis­tance, sound great in­side the car plus red brake calipers, sports front and side skirts, a rear dif­fuser and low­ered ride height.

But the car is most cer­tainly not all show and no go. Peu­geot’s mul­ti­award and race-win­ning sport depart­ment have been hard at work on the stan­dard 308 to ar­rive at a car which has great grip, su­perb brakes and han­dling and, in sport mode, power de­liv­ery which is mon­u­men­tal right across the rev range. And in case you for­get, sport mode is en­gaged the whole dash­board lay­out switches from white to ‘I mean busi­ness’ red.

How­ever, on our jour­ney I was sur­prised how com­fort­able for a track-day in­flu­enced car the GTi is. Mo­tor­way cruis­ing was no prob­lem, al­though th­ese days peo­ple will ex­pect the cruise con­trol to be adap­tive. I also liked the very safety-con­scious dash­board bin­na­cle, which is above the steer­ing wheel mean­ing it is more in the driver’s line of sight.

It’s an easy car to live with ev­ery day as it rides more com­fort­ably than most ri­vals plus there is plenty of room for four adults and lug­gage. Build qual­ity is also good with qual­ity fin­ishes through­out the cabin and Peu­geot’s new ‘de­clut­tered’ dash­board lay­out, with more func­tions con­trolled through the large touch-screen in­clud­ing heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion.

There is a lot of good com­pe­ti­tion out there in the hot hatch sec­tor at the mo­ment but if you want one that is more civilised and so­phis­ti­cated the Peu­geot 308 GTI 270 is fast, fun and un­flap­pable.

More in­for­ma­tion at www.peu­geot.co.uk.

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