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by Tim Beissmann

Peugeot has released the first official images and details of the new 2011 Peugeot 308 range ahead of its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1.

The new range brings with it styling inspired by the Peugeot SR1 Concept, while maintaining the emotion of the original 308.

Although Peugeot is yet to reveal the full details of the 308 updates, from the images we can see the refreshed range scores LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, as well as tinted headlights and a redesigned front grille.

Expect subtle changes at the rear, as well as new alloy wheel designs and fresh interior surfaces, like the piano black detailing revealed in these photos.

Peugeot Australia’s Kirin Tipping said she was hopeful there would be at least one new 308 model at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne in July.

She said the 308 would definitely be launched in the second half of the year, but the exact timing was still to be locked in.

Ms Tipping said she expected the Australian line-up to follow the European lead and offer LED daytime running lights standard across the range.

As always, European customers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to engines and derivatives.

Included in the range will be four petrol engines – 72kW 1.4-litre VTi, 88kW 1.6-litre VTi, 115kW 1.6-litre THP, and a 147kW 1.6-litre THP – and four diesels – 68kW 1.6-litre HDi, 82kW 1.6-litre e-HDi, 110kW 2.0-litre HDI, and a 120kW 2.0-litre HDi.

Australia’s current range includes the two middle output engines from both the petrol and diesel range, and this is expected to be carried over into the mid-year update.

Peugeot says the 82kW 1.6-litre e-HDi micro-hybrid with Stop & Start technology will emit just 98g/km CO2, making it one of the most clean and frugal vehicles on the market.

The 147kW 1.6-litre THP is the same engine from the most powerful RCZ, and will be fitted to the range topping GT variant, available as both a hatchback and CC.

Ms Tipping said Peugeot Australia had not made a definitive decision on introducing the GT model, but said it was certainly discussing its potential to be a halo car at the top of the local 308 range.

The range will continue to offer four different transmissions: five- and six-speed manuals, six-speed electronically controlled manual (EGC), and a six-speed automatic.

All engines have been refined and weight is down 25kg on average across the range. Low rolling resistance tyres will also be fitted to some models to further improve their efficiency.

Peugeot says the 308 will go on sale in the UK in May with an enhanced standard features list. On-road pricing will start from £15,245 ($24,250).




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