Over the past number of years, I have had the opportunity to drive my fair share of hot hatch’s. I suppose you can look at it as one of the perks of this job. The number of hot hatch’s available is a reflection of how each brand is striving to outdo each-other in the battle to provide the most sought after hot hatch. Peugeot Sport, a division devoted exclusively to developing Peugeot’s most high-performance models have been let loose on the 308 and the result, the 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport is quite impressive.Peugeot have long had a history in producing pocket rockets. The 205 GTi was one of the most sought after hot hatchbacks of its time. In recent years Peugeot have reignited their desire for the title once held by the 205 GTi and have brought us the 208 GTi and the RCZ R, both of which are impressive in their own right. So they’ve covered the sports car and the mini hot hatch, so now is the chance of the 308 GTi to shine.
Looking at new 308 GTi 270bhp version, it holds a muscular appearance and hunkers down sitting 11 millimetres lower on 19 inch Carbone alloys with Michelin Super Sport tyres on each alloy offering outstanding grip. Full LED headlamps flank an exclusive black radiator grille with a horizontal chequered pattern and gloss-black finishing, while two ample exhaust pipes are found housed at the rear. The GTi signature is clearly visible on the front wings and the tailgate. Stopping power is provided by 380mm ventilated carbon discs in the front which are mounted on aluminium hubs featuring four pistons in a fixed brake calliper. The rear brake discs, on appearance alone were a slight let down. They just appeared inadequate in comparison to the front. Obviously they aren’t but given the impressive set-up in the front end they could have just pushed the envelope a little bit more. Obviously the weight gain this would have caused must not have been worth it.
Sitting inside the new 308 GTi you are greeted by the Peugeot Sport bucket seats, upholstered in leather and Alcantara which also offer a massage function to the driver and front seat passenger. Support from these seats is quite impressive and they are wide enough to accommodate drivers and passengers of all sizes. Peugeot have continued with the small sized steering wheel, granted that in the 308 GTi it is finished in leather and red stitching. The interior is completely minimalist. 4 dials along with a small digital screen are located on the dash including the anti-clockwise rev counter which is in keeping with the standard 308. A new large touchscreen has now replaced almost every other button. From this you can control your climate control, radio, sat-nav, driving information, telephone and Peugeot Connect apps.
The materials used throughout the interior carry the appearance and feel of quality, durable finishes which will survive the test of time. Space from a driver and front seat passenger perspective is impressive however it is slightly reduced for the rear seat passengers. Headroom is adequate throughout the cabin and this is also complimented and slightly extended when the cover is opened on the panoramic roof.
Upon collecting the 308 GTi I was reminded that it still delivers as a family car. Sitting into it and driving away I thought to myself, it is quite practical as a family car. It looks respectable, doesn’t have a loud exhaust burble, has reasonable interior space and can achieve respectable fuel consumption when driven conservatively.
That all changes however when you press down on the “Sport” button. Immediately the dials illuminate red, the exhaust becomes alive and throttle weight appears to change. Where your digital speedo and driving information once where are now replaced by rpm, torque and boost pressure readings. Maximum torque is delivered between 1,900 – 5,000rpm and it never failed to deliver. Exclusive to the GTi 270, a Torsen limited-slip differential has been incorporated into the transmission to improve cornering grip. This system channels the torque to the wheel with the most amount of grip and so ensures for much better cornering. The 308 GTi delivered time and time again as it was tested along varying country roads. Whilst the suspension may appear somewhat stiff when you encounter some of the countries rougher roads, it comes into its own when it is put to the test and leaves the driver in no doubt that it is perfectly capable even in the wettest of conditions. The Peugeot Sport bucket seats also offer excellent support at all of the right times, just when you need it.
The Peugeot 308 GTi 270 enters a market where competition is stiff. Given its ability and levels of fun it will definitely put it up to its competition. In essence it is a practical family hatchback which also provides buckets of fun and promises to be a common sight on Irish roads.
Engine Size – 1.6
Fuel Type – Petrol
Power – 270hp
Torque – 330 Nm
Acceleration (0 – 100 km/h) – 6 seconds
Top Speed – 250 km/hour (limited)
Consumption (Combined) – 6 litres/ 100 kilometres
CO2 emissions – 139g / km
Road Tax – €280
Base Price – €36,990 (250 bhp model)
Price as per model tested – €39,990