After much anticipation, Peugeot has finally brought the fight to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Renault Megane RS. Say hello to the Peugeot 308 GTi.
Having already spent a day out driving the new 308 GTi on public Portuguese roads, today is what we came here for: the track.
We’re here at the Braga circuit north of Porto in Portugal for the international launch of the Peugeot 308 GTi. We’ve only got a few of laps with the spiciest model in the range – the 270 – so let’s get out there and give it some beans.
Due to launch locally in early 2016, the Peugeot Sport-developed 308 GTi is available worldwide in two six-speed manual-only guises: a 184kW 250 and this 200kW 270.
With 330Nm on tap from 1900rpm, this latest French GTi claims 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds – that’s half a second quicker to 100km/h than ‘that’ German GTI.
Opt for this flagship 270, rather than the entry-level 250, and you get plenty of goodies. There are engine tweaks to the turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder, suspension and chassis changes, larger 19-inch wheels, stickier Michelin rubber and, most importantly, a Torsen limited-slip front differential.
And in these initial laps, it’s not just the diff that you can feel working but thing sits pretty flat. The steering is a little bit light but its’s very sharp and very responsive.
We’re in ‘Sport’ mode and the engine noise is pumped into the cabin but the engine sounds pretty good - it actually sounds reminiscent of the 2.0-litre turbo in the Renault Megane RS, but this little turbocharged 1.6-litre is significantly smaller, doesn’t mean it’s not punchy though.
You can feel the diff working as you get on the throttle coming out of the corners and the sticky Michelins doing more than their fair share.
The brakes are nice and progressive too. The pedal feels good, with plenty of stopping power there when you need it.
So let’s throw in a flying lap before we get the chequered flag.
The engine is super flexible. It’s very linear but it gives you good power all the way through. The turn in too is nice and sharp.
It’s angry. It’s angry, definitely.
It may a look a little tame from the outside, but there is no denying just how much work the people from Peugeot Sport have put into developing this car. The new Peugeot 308 GTi: It’s the real deal.