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by Tim Beissmann

The famous GTi nameplate appears set to make a comeback in Peugeot’s all-new light car range, with the Peugeot 208 GTi expected to make its world premiere at next month’s Geneva motor show.

Peugeot released the image of the car’s sporty chrome/red dual exhaust outlet on its Facebook page accompanied by the suggestive teaser: “Is the myth coming back?”

Peugeot Australia is excited about the prospect of the sporty hot hatch, with spokeswoman Jaedene Hudson confirming the local arm will definitely consider the 208 GTi if it is approved for production.

“The hot hatch market is very popular and if a GTi were to become available then it is definitely something we would be interested in adding to the 208 range,” Hudson said.

At this stage, it’s unclear whether the car at Geneva will be the production version of the 208 GTi or a concept.

Under the bonnet of the new 208 GTi is believed to be the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine currently found in the Mini Cooper S, producing 135kW of power and 240Nm of torque and propelling the hot hatch from 0-100km/h in under seven seconds.

Reports suggest a hotter variant – rumoured to be called the 208 GTi Racing – could bump up power beyond 150kW.

Along with its go-fast exterior styling, the Peugeot 208 GTi will likely benefit from the usual hot hatch enhancements, including lowered suspension, bigger brakes and an angrier exhaust note.

The all-new Peugeot 208 range will make its international debut at Geneva on March 6, and the three- and five-door hatchback models will go on sale in Australia shortly after their local unveiling at the 2012 Sydney motor show in October. The GTi won’t be part of the launch range, however, as Peugeot Australia is already close to finalising its initial offering, suggesting we will have to wait until at least 2013 to jump behind the wheel down under.

The new 208 is shorter, lower and as much as 173kg lighter than the outgoing 207. The French manufacturer says its new city car has an extra 15 litres of boot space and 5cm more knee room for rear-seat passengers.




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