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Peugeot 208 GTi: French pocket rocket revealed

The highly anticipated Peugeot 208 GTi has been revealed ahead of its Paris motor show debut later this month, with the French manufacturer releasing the first official details and images of its upcoming city-sized hot-hatch.

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Just six months after Peugeot whet our appetites with the 208 GTi concept at the 2012 Geneva motor show, the all-new Peugeot 208 GTi claims to “regenerate the values of the iconic 205 GTi” and promises proper hot-hatch performance.

As expected, the 208 GTi features the familiar 147kW/275Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the Peugeot RCZ sports coupe, giving it an edge over the Audi A1 (136kW/250Nm), Clio RS200 (147kW/215Nm), Ford Fiesta ST (132kW/240Nm) and the Volkswagen Polo GTI (132kW/250Nm).

With a six-speed manual transmission sending drive to the front wheels, Peugeot says the 1160kg lightweight sprints from 0-100km/h in under 7.0 seconds.

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Compared with the standard Peugeot 208 hatch, the GTi scores a unique anti-roll bar, stiffer springs, recalibrated shock absorbers and enhanced sub-frame and rear cross member rigidity, along with firmer, more precise steering.

The GTi’s track is 10mm wider at the front and 20mm wider at the rear. It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in 205/45 tyres and house 302mm front disc brakes and 249mm rears.

Visually, the three-door-only 208 GTi features new halogen headlamps, gloss black mesh grille with chrome inserts, matching rear skirting with trapezoidal chrome dual exhausts, silver mirror caps and – in a nod to the 205 GTi – a chrome window sill strip.

Inside, the Peugeot 208 GTi sports a red and black colour scheme, with red-stitched black leather/cloth sports seats and upholstery, high-gloss red-painted door grabs and dashboard inserts, aluminium pedals and gear knob, and a red-lit instrument cluster with brushed aluminium background, white needles and a black chequered flag motif.

The Peugeot 208 GTi launches in the UK in the second quarter of next year, just under a year after the standard Peugeot 208 range was introduced in June of this year.

The basic 208 range launches in Australia this month, and will be joined by the GTi variant in June 2013. Peugeot Australia's Jaedene Hudson confirmed the GTi would be priced to compete with its German namesake, the Volkswagen Polo GTI, which costs $27,790 in three-door, dual-clutch DSG form.