It may officially be a ‘concept’ but barring a few cosmetic details this is our first glimpse of the Peugeot 208 GTI. Peugeot will be showing off their new junior hot hatch at the Geneva Motor Show, placing it on their stand beside the all-new 208.
If recent history is anything to go by a new GTI from Peugeot is not something to be terribly excited about. From their heyday in the ’80s Peugeot seemed to have lost their way when it comes to supple, agile, communicative cars, with the 207 GTI having adequate levels of performance but lacking any sort of wow factor.
But wait, what’s this? The 208 GTI has been placed on a crash diet and now tips the scales at close to 100kg less than the 207 GTI. With that much weight loss the 208 GTI is bound to feel a lot more lively, particularly when it also receives the 200bhp version of Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbo.
What that weight loss could also do is transform the handling of the 208 GTI. By shedding a few kilos it stands a good chance of regaining some of the finesse that’s been lost through the years. Peugeot have shown signs recently that they’re interested in improving chassis dynamics with cars such as the stylish RCZ coupé. Could the 208 GTI continue this trend?
As this is a concept Peugeot have added a few lavish details. There’s plenty of chrome on the outside, including a GTI logo on the rear quarter panel that harks back to the iconic 205 GTI. On the inside is Nappa leather and Alcantara, with LED lighting around the new instruments.
How much of this carries over to the production model remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t expect the finalised 208 GTI to look much different.
If Peugeot are serious about rejuvenating the GTI badge they’re going to need to attract the attention of younger buyers, so expect more bold colours like the one on this concept car. Of course, younger buyers often struggle to insure hot hatches but if Peugeot can dig deep and offer some attractive finance deals we might be seeing more of the 208 GTI than we did the 207.