Peu­geot puts punch into its prize­fighter

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST - Keith Ward

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

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