Peugeot first previewed a concept version of their 208 GTI earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, and even though it looked like it had just rolled off the factory production line the GTI was never confirmed as a production certainty. Well, good news, as it has just been announced that the Peugeot 208 GTI will be built and it will be available as early as Spring 2013!
The 208 GTI has been born amidst troubled times at Peugeot, with job cuts and hostile unions combining with slow sales to produce a perfect storm for the French automaker. Fortunately the 208 has got off to a promising start with over 9,000 models sold since its launch in June. The hope is that the 208 GTI will give the range an even bigger boost.
What’s Different About The 208 GTI?
The 208 GTI will be available as a three-door model and receives a few visual enhancements to mark it out as the go-faster 208 – extended sills, larger rear wing, a set of 17-inch wheels, chrome-plated trapezoidal exhaust and a gloss black and chrome front grille. The rest of the 208’s handsome shape remains largely untouched, although the stance is improved with the track increased by 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear.
Look to the quarter panels and you’ll find the GTI logo, highlighted in red, as is the GTI badge on the boot and the Peugeot badge on the front grille. The red theme is carried across to the brake calipers and beading around the front grille, and continues on the inside.
Open the 208 GTI’s door and you’ll find a dark cabin with red highlights. The 208’s distinctive seating position is retained, where the steering wheel almost rests in your lap and you look over the top to see the instruments. In the case of the GTI you’ll be sitting on partial Nappa leather-clad sports seats with red stitching.
Red highlights abound on the dashboard and door panels, with a strip of red LED lighting around the instrument cluster. The speedometer and rev counter use brushed aluminium for their background and flank the full colour screen that acts as the trip computer.
Is It Quick Then?
The 208 GTI is going to be a serious contender in the hot supermini sector. Using Peugeot’s turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, the GTI will have 200bhp and 180lb/ft at its disposal. This is the same engine that is used to great effect in Peugeot’s RCZ (which I drove recently) and will be able to propel the 1,160kg GTI to 60mph in under 7 seconds. Peugeot are also quoting an in-gear time of 7.0 seconds to accelerate from 50mph to 70mph in fith gear, suggesting the GTI has good mid-range pull to call upon.
That weight figure is worthy of note. If you compare it to the short-lived 207 GTI it sees a reduction of 165kg, a huge amount to shave off a supermini. Even the Renaultsport Clio, a car praised for its lithe form, tips the scales at 1,240kg. That means the 208 GTI has the same power as the class-leading Clio 200 but weighs 80kg less.
As I discovered on its launch the 208 is a very capable supermini and represents a great starting point for a GTI. Peugeot are promising more responsive steering, and have thoroughly revised the chassis setup for the GTI. Springs, shcks, and chassis rigidity have all been looked at, and the brakes upgraded to 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 249mm at the rear, with extra air intakes to assist cooling.
Of course, no modern hot hatch would be complete without a reduction in CO2 emissions. The 208 GTI has been rated at 145g/km, placing it in tax band F and setting it up for a bill of £130 in the first year and £125 each year after that.
How Much Will It Cost?
There are no prices just yet and the only details on availability are ‘Spring 2013’. It’s not clear if that’s when you can start ordering the 208 GTI or when cars will start arriving for delivery. Either way, the 208 GTI sounds like it could be worth the wait and could give the likes of the Polo GTI and upcoming Fiesta ST something to worry about.