The long-awaited Peugeot 308 GTi has been revealed ahead of its world premiere at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next weekend.
Confirming what we reported last October, it will come in not one, but two, iterations with different power outputs, giving the French brand a range of hot hatch alternatives to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R.
Officially called the ‘Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport’ (PSA’s rally arm, which was involved in development), the tres chic pocket rocket comes with the same highly-strung 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine as the limited-run RCZ R.
As you'd expect, Peugeot Australia is now in negotiations to secure the model (either one or both) for Australia, where it would supplant the 308 GT petrol and diesel models as the range-topper, and join the smaller 208 GTi. We expect to know more about accurate local timing inside two months.
Opening the range is the 308 GTi 250 (pictured immediately above), with its 184 kW (250hp, hence the name) at 6000rpm and 330Nm at 1900rpm outputs. The 308 GTi 270 (pictured at top) has an uprated version with 200kW at 6000rpm and 330Nm at 1900rpm.
Both models send power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox only. There’s no automatic option to rival the Volkswagen DSG. The performance is impressive, down largely to the featherweight kerb mass (with full tanks) of 1205kg (both models).
This is more than 100kg less than the Golf, giving the 308 GTi the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. The 308 GTi 250 can apparently sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds, while the GTi 270 does the same in 6.0s dead.
By comparison, the 2.0-litre 162kW/350Nm Golf GTI does the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.5s, while the 169kW Golf GTI Performance does it in 6.4s. Only the 206kW/380Nm all-wheel-drive Golf R beats the Peugeot, with its 5.2s time thanks to its AWD traction off the line.
Interestingly, despite the 16kW power differential, both 308 GTi variants take the same time to dash from 80-120km/h in fifth gear — 5.7s. Both 308 GTi versions also have electronically limited top speeds of 250km/h, and maximum combined-cycle fuel economy claims of 6.0 litres per 100km.
Some of the other bits you get look good too. The top-spec versions get standard 235/35 Michelin Super Sport tyre (the same as those on the Holden Astra VXR, which we can vouch for) wrapped on 19-inch alloys. The GTi 250 gets 18-inch wheels shod with 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 3s.
The 308 GTi 270 flagship additionally gets a Torsen limited-slip diff to tame the front wheels on variable surfaces and maximise cornering speed, as well as whopping 380mm front discs with red Peugeot Sport calipers on the front wheels (268mm at the rear).
Peugeot Sport has had a play underneath. The rear wishbone has been stiffened from 110 to 1800 daN/mm. The springs all-round are stiffer, and the shocks likewise. The ESP stability control has also been tweaked to give more latitude, in tandem with the Torsen diff. On track, the system can be switched off entirely.
Stylistically, the 308 GTi comes available with the same hero dual-tone black and red colour scheme as the 208 GTi 30th anniversary we drove recently (there are ‘normal’ colours too, such as red, blue, black, grey and white). It also sits 11mm lower than the regular version and sports a bespoke front and rear design.
At the front are full LED headlights flanking a black radiator grille and a tweaked air intake. There are two front spoilers below the bumper, beefy flanks giving way to powerful rear haunches, and at the rear is a gloss-black extractor incorporating two exhaust outlets.
Inside the cabin is new red stitching, Peugeot Sport and GTi badges and aluminium highlights are scattered about. The GTi 270 gets Peugeot Sport bucket seats in leather and alcantara. That signature small steering wheel (351mm x 329mm) remains, but it gets a red centring mark.
Click the Photos tab for more images of the 2016 Peugeot 308 GTi.