You don’t get to build seven generations of a single model without building something quite special. Peugeot’s “2-Series” is that kind of car.
Anyone who is lucky enough to have driven or owned a Peugeot GTi (205, 206 or 207) will know exactly what I mean, when I say that Peugeot created something greater than the sum of it’s parts when they built the iconic 205 GTi.
To some extent, they repeated that success with the 206 GTi and current 207 GTi, both outstanding drivers’ cars with brilliant handling and economy to boot.
It all started back in 1930 with the first Peugeot 201 saloon, which was a beautifully styled ride for it’s day and in fact, the first mass-produced car in the world to be fitted with independent front suspension.
Peugeot followed up with the ‘202’ in 1938, but success of that car was stifled with the outbreak of World War II.
Success continued at the 1948 Paris Motor Show with the unveiling of the ‘203’ that continued Peugeot’s trend with the fitment of a range of advanced technology not normally found in this class segment. For example, engine efficiency was high already high on the company agenda, which saw the use of a hemispherical combustion chamber and inclined valves with a centre mounted spark plug for maximum fuel efficiency, which is a key feature of any model in the Peugeot’s current line-up.
The ‘203’ was also an important milestone for the company, as the first Peugeot to be built using a single shell body or monocoque style, rather than a separate chassis design.
The 2-Series proved immensely popular with drivers too and became the first car to exceed sales of 500,000 units, with total sales of 700,000 between 1948-1960.
The release of the Peugeot 204 in 1965, took the French car company to new heights as the first of their cars to gain four wheel independent suspension and front wheel drive. It was a sure fire hit with drivers, and notched up sales of over 1,604,000 units.
1983 saw the release of the massively popular Peugeot 205, which became a truly authentic automotive icon, with a little help from the revered 205 GTi.
Here was a car that re-wrote the book on the hot hatch segment and whose image helped generate more than 5 million 2-series sales.
Success followed again with the 206, which stands today as the best selling Peugeot of all time with more than 6.8 million cars sold to date although, sales of this model continue in various markets around the globe.
It also happens to be the first mass-produced car to employ a folding metal roof and use multiplexed electrical systems for greater reliability.
The Peugeot 207 continues the tradition of this series today with 26 models in the range and class leading efficiency in both petrol and diesel versions of the car.