Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Back to the Future; While Uprating Its 208 Supermini, Peugeot Has Taken the Opportunity to Also Uprate Its 208 GTi Hot Hatch. Jonathan Crouch Reports

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Back to the Future; While Uprating Its 208 Supermini, Peugeot Has Taken the Opportunity to Also Uprate Its 208 GTi Hot Hatch. Jonathan Crouch Reports

Article excerpt

PEUGEOT used to be the go-to crew if you wanted the very finest hot hatchbacks but that was a long time ago. In the intervening years, the company has been shoved down the pecking order but today's 208 GTi has fired them right back into contention.

The French brand has slightly uprated power and torque in this latest version, making it an even more credible rival to cars like the Renaultsport Clio and the Ford Fiesta ST.

If you want a manual gearbox and you do longer mileages, it could be the right choice to make in this segment.

Pop the bonnet and you'll find a 1.6-litre THP petrol engine coupled to a manual gearbox with six, close-ratio gears.

With maximum torque up to 300Nm and peak power up to 208bhp, the 208 GTi polishes off the sprint to 62mph in 6.5 seconds. In-gear re-acceleration is equally impressive, with the 208 GTi accelerating from 50 to 75mph in less than 7.0 seconds in fifth, highlighting its torque advantage over the Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo.

Stiffer springs have been fitted and the ride height dropped by 8mm but Peugeot hatches have always ridden well and this 208 is no exception. Body control is well-judged, the steering is quick-ish with that characteristic low, small wheel and there's not much in the way of torque steer. The chassis also feels pleasantly responsive midcorner.

There's no limited slip differential fitted, so if you really work the front tyres hard out of a bend, you will see precious motive power disappearing in tyre smoke from the inside front corner before the ESP stability control system decides enough is quite enough.

Traction is otherwise more than adequate and the 208 GTi has that pleasant ability of flowing down a road quickly and without undue drama but can still play the hooligan if you choose to rough-house it along. It's an impressive showing. …

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