Following the successful launch of the new 208 in June 2012, Peugeot has rejuvenated the diverse Supermini car segment. This new model revolutionises customer choice with its elegance, style, compactness, occupant space and equipment. The 208 has been an instant success and the 208 GTi will deliver even stronger desirability with exhilaration, performance and panache.
Intended for demanding individuals, 208 GTi owners will benefit from sophisticated choices of the materials and colours employed. The car’s dynamism is expressed first of all by its external identity, specific and immediately recognisable, due to its characteristic posture. Defined on a widened track by 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear, these three-door models are specially identified by bodywork components which enhance the overall effect, with wheels that hug the arches and with body sills and wing extensions that enhance its visual appearance.
Particularly eye catching and visible both by day and night, the light signature of the front face is refined by new halogen headlamps, equipped with a latest generation light guide. These carefully designed lamps with a rectangular internal structure use LED technology for the directional indicators and daytime lighting. Tightly enclosing the main beam headlamps, the floating trim of which calls to mind a cat’s pupil, they give the expression of an iris.
These lamps frame a special 208 grille and on the GTi the mesh contributes to the dynamism, making the lamps stand out. The gloss black grille draws the eye with bright chrome inserts, which reinvent the sport chequered flag effect but in 3D. The end result is a front appearance which is technological and endearing while being sophisticated.
Attention to detail has also taken precedence in the design of the passenger compartment, to create a most pleasant environment. This applies even when stationary as it becomes evident at first glance when the door is opened, revealing the aluminium sill stamped with the Peugeot name. Dark colour schemes exist throughout the upper section and the 208 GTi offers a unique ambiance themed with red highlights.
The dashboard houses a high-mounted instrument panel with an innovative and distinctive light signature. Echoing the LED functions of the headlamps, the dials are surrounded with satin chrome beads backlit by LEDs, whereas the needles move on a brushed aluminium background.
The passenger compartment is also punctuated with carefully designed components. So, the vents, the side decorations of the touch screen, the dashboard decoration, the steering wheel insert, the seat belts, the front and rear door crossbars all blend with the same interior ambiance. The aluminium pedal bracket and footrest provide the final touch to this technological and refined interior.
Peugeot has made its mark in the history of motor sport. Whether through its models, its success in competition or its infamy through advertising and promotions, the Marque’s DNA has the best genes for creating the modern performance GTi. The expectation was simple: to create a playful and chic sports car, a contemporary interpretation of the legend that is a Peugeot GTi.
At first glance, the eyes are impressed initially by presence, with a vehicle which affirms its identity: sporty and refined. There can be no doubting the sportiness of this new 208 derivative. Crossing the gloss black rear skirt, the exhaust emerges with a trapezoid chromed double tailpipe, an innovative design emphasising the uniqueness of this model. The chromed trim strip decorates the window lower edge culminating in a signature accent that pays tribute to the illustrious 205 GTi.
Furthermore, the quarter panel trim proudly bears the GTi logo, in bright chrome accentuated in red highlights. Regardless of the exterior colour chosen, this red punctuates throughout the vehicle: on brake callipers, grille lower bead, Peugeot lettering on the tailgate and on the grille. In addition, the mesh of the grille has a 3D chequered motif, with chromed inserts in the gloss black grille. The whole is subtly enhanced by the touches of bright chrome on the fog lamp trim surrounds, the grille upper trim and the door mirrors.
Opening the doors reveals a passenger compartment that reflects the paintwork. From the sill, embossed with the name Peugeot, the passenger compartment is notably sporty. With a colour scheme combining red, black and satin chrome and red GTi overstitching throughout, the interior is striking, down to the smallest detail.
Resolutely sporty, the seat combines full grain Club Nappa leather and Caro Weave cloth, made more dynamic by a red line detail. The dashboard with red overstitching has a decoration of red graduating to black, matching the door crossbars. The vehicle performance information is provided via the high-mounted instrument panel. Technological, it is equipped with a colour matrix, surrounded by dials with a chromed bead back-lit in red by LEDs. On their brushed aluminium background, decorated with a gloss black chequered motif, the white needles rise through to the red zone.
The driver is well supported in the cossetting seat structure, harnessed in black seat belts (with red edging) allowing an excellent driving position that is clear and comfortable. The feet naturally find the aluminium pedals and footrest, the heels in contact with the unique 208 GTi floor mats with black surround and again, overstitched in red. Intuitively, the hands rest on the small black full grain perforated leather steering wheel with red overstitching. The left hand easily and naturally finds the aluminium gear lever knob, with red side insert and the overstitched leather handbrake lever.
“The 208 was an excellent base for developing a sports hatchback. We have worked with particular attention on the steering response, the chassis dynamics and the rigidity of the suspension. The 208 GTi successfully combines performance, safety and driving pleasure.” Marie Beaumont, 208 GTi Dynamics Manager
The 208 GTi delights its driver with an incisive driving experience due to the involving chassis dynamics, providing superb driving sensations. Springs, calibration of the shock absorbers, anti-roll bar, enhanced front subframe and rear crossmember rigidity, plus that the suspension and wheels are specific to this latest Peugeot GTi.
Agile and reactive, the 208 GTi balances from one turn to the next with complete precision. Controlled by the steering, the settings of which have been revised to increase firmness, the front suspension returns the information perfectly and responsively. The rear suspension is also well tuned for safe and involved driving. Fitted with 205/45 tyres, the 17″ diamond Carbon wheels, with Storm paint and matt varnish, house 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 249mm at the rear. Cooled by dynamic air intakes, they provide controlled and incisive braking.
The 1.6-litre THP 200bhp petrol engine expresses itself through a reworked exhaust system. As soon as the ignition is switched on, it emits an appealing sound that delights the ears, at all engine speeds. Coupled with a manual gearbox with six, close-ratio gears, the engine draws the full potential from this chassis. With its maximum torque of 275Nm and its maximum power of 147kW (200bhp), the 208 GTi has the potential of acceleration to the highest level. 0 to 62mph is reached in less than 7.0 seconds. In-gear re-acceleration is equally impressive, with the 208 GTi accelerating from 50 to 75mph in less than 7.0 seconds in 5th gear. This performance benefits from the improvement achieved from lightening the weight of the vehicle.
Light in weight, at 1160kg, the 208 GTi achieves a real feat by emitting CO2 at just 145g/km. A playful sports car, powerful and safe, with an enchanting sound, which is also a practical hatchback, the 208 GTi will delight its drivers every day, the (fully disengage able) ESP watching over them.
Words & Photos: Graham Curry