Peugeot puts punch into its prizefighter
POWERING into showrooms to top the Peugeot 208 range comes a new 143 mph GTi with the chest-beating boast of a perky prizefighter.
It has clear ambitions to match the iconic status of the old 205 GTi dating from the mid-1980s, a standing never reached in the present century by GTi versions of the 206 and 207. How realistic are its hopes?
The engine of the 208 GTi is smaller than the 205’s – 1.6 litres against 1.9 – but vastly more powerful, 200 bhp against 130. It’s much quicker off the mark, reaching 60 in 6.7 seconds against 7.8, and with a potential for 143 mph against the 205’s top speed of 123.
But the lightweight 208 GTi rates far greater economy, with an official combined mpg figure of 47.9 against its ancestor’s thirsty 28.1.
And while CO2 figures were not quoted for the 205 in its day, the latest GTi plummets down to 139 g/km compared to 171g puffed out by the 207 of six years ago and a sooty 204g from the exhaust of the earlier 206 version.
Pretty cool-looking at the time, the old slab-sided 205 GTi paraded by Peugeot at the launch of the 208 GTi understandably shows its age. The newcomer is all subtle curves, slanting headlights, streamlined profile and fancy wheels. The only common feature is the re-emergence of a GTi badge on the rear quarter panel.
Exterior features exclusive to the new GTi include a black and chrome chequered-flag type grille above a thin red “chin” line, a sports rear spoiler, wheel arch extensions, a chromed double-exhaust and front indicators in the unusual form of a thin LED amber edging to the headlamp units.
Whatever the body colour, from a choice of five, red is a recurring theme for brake callipers, badging, sports-s eat panels, stitching, instrument lighting, facia outlines and even edging to the seatbelts. Amidst all this, the one jarring note is the chrome of the big electric door mirrors, which don’t quite gel.
Aimed at the driving