2007 Peugeot 207 GTi Review
Test Model: 2007 Peugeot 207 GTi with five-speed manual (no auto in the GTi)
Options Fitted: None – standard spec is choc-a-block full of goodies. I suppose I’d have to consider the panoramic glass roof with sunblind for only $1000.
Recommended Retail Price: $33,490 – a hot hatch bargain.
Where it sits: Just $2000 on the GT price of $31,490 and top shelf in the 207 model range. Do yourself a favour and go straight to the GTi. Honestly, I’m not sure why the GT exists at all.
Peugeot’s big time hit was the 205 GTi, first released in 1984 as a 1.6-litre and later, as a 1.9-litre unit. It was unquestionably the best styled and best performing hot hatch of the day, with superior on-road manners to any of the competition at the time.
Not only did the 205 GTi hit the spot with the punters, but on the world rally scene, the car achieved God-like status with the Finnish driver Ari Vatanen, behind the wheel of the phenomenally fast 205 T16 (watch it take out a Porsche 911 rally car as though it was standing still) Vatanen and Peugeot won a string of victories in the World Rally Championship in the mid eighties.
They called it wrong. Competitive sales in the category actually increased, so Peugeot got to work and released the 206 in 1998.
The warmed up 206 GTi with 2.0-litre power, was added to the range in 1999 and was good for 210km/h but it was only marginally quicker than the 205 GTi. The petrol heads within Peugeot were not entirely happy, so in 2003, they came up with a tuned version, called the GTi 180 (for hp). This car ran the 0-100km/h dash in a respectable 7.4 seconds and topped out at 220km/h.
Personally, I thought the 206 GTi fell short of the 205 GTi with regards to sports styling and if anything, lacked aggression.
Not so with the 207 GTi, Peugeot have built a cracker. It does everything you ask of it, and then some.
Here’s what I mean; auto headlights on function, rain sensing wipers, headlight delay security, directional headlights, cruise control and speed limiter, electronic park assistance (rear only), one-touch electric windows with anti-pinch function, auto dipping rear view mirror, electric and folding heated door mirrors, tinted glass, a heat reflective windscreen, dual-zone air and a front loading five disc CD autochanger, to name BUT some of the what this car has to offer in addition to its on-road performance - which I’ll get to shortly.
You see, all 240Nm are on tap at just 1600rpm and remain so, until you hit 4500rpm! But I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s an over boost facility, which is activated in third, fourth and fifth gear, which ups the torque output to 260 wonderful Newton Metres.
Straight line speed and acceleration will surprise you, as will the ease of gear shifts with the exception of first to second, which tends to be a little notchy, for my liking. You only get five gear ratios to play with (the norm in this class of car) and frankly with all that torque available, a sixth cog would be superfluous.
But you wouldn’t take the GTi to the drag strip; you’d take it anywhere where there are bends, lots and lots of bends. The 207 GTi does corners like Paris Hilton does bell boys. Pure talent.
The C30 T5 is a favourite of mine too, but through this bendy section, the Dynamic Stability and Traction Control was going nuts on the Volvo but aboard the GTi – it was rare for the ESP to go active.
It’s not just how quick you can push this car from corner to corner either, it’s the ride quality that impresses me equally. The suspension is firm, but at the same time compliant, over most surfaces.
There is one problem we found though. At high speed, on poor road surfaces (that’s very poor), things can get a little bouncy through the body. Australian racing legend and tuning guru, Kevin Bartlett says it could be that the shocks and springs have not been tuned to those particular conditions. That certainly sounds plausible although, I’ll ask for a more thorough explanation from Peugeot Australia.
Steering is electric power assisted and precise and accurate, while driver feedback allows for rapid directional changes. This car goes where you point it and it does so with supreme confidence.
Peugeot is never short on safety in its cars, but here’s something you may not have heard about.
Working in concert with the Electronic Stability Control (ESP), the GTi employs some new technology called Steering Stability Program. The system applies a level of torque to the steering column, which induces opposite lock when traction is lost in certain situations and can effectively reduce stopping distances by up to 10%.
I feel I’ve written enough on this car but I’m just not finished liking it yet!
Within the ESP and SSP systems, the GTi is fitted with the full compliment of active safety features including; ABS, EBFD, EBA, ASR and CDS, which pre-detects any understeer or oversteer.
Airbags total six, but safety is built into the 207 platform with impact absorption padding inside the doors along with high levels of impact force distribution borrowed from the larger 407-model range.
This is one safe hot hatch.
The European New Car Assessment program (Euro NCAP) awarded the 207 GTi, five-out-of-five stars for adult occupant protection, four stars for child occupant protection and three stars for pedestrian protection.
Performance at any level usually has a trade offs. Poor fuel economy is usually number one on that list. Not so with the 207 GTi. This car is a miser by any standard. We drove this French beauty hard all week, and were gob smacked at just how frugal it was. 7.2l/100km combined cycle sounds about right.
Note to Peugeot.
Please produce a road going version of the 207 Super 2000 and drop a few off down here in Australia. Let me know when you want the deposit!