It has been 30 years since the first Peugeot 205 GTi was unleashed on our roads. A truly definitive hot-hatch in its day, under either 1.6 or 1.9 litre power, each subsequent incumbent of the Peugeot GTi throne has been dedicated to the very same pure, unadulterated driving thrills on a hot-hatch budget that characterised the unforgettable original. Competition has of course been pretty stiff over the years, with so many rival hot-hatches, the Fiesta ST, Clio Renaultsport and Polo GTI to name but a few, leaving a lasting impression in our hearts and childish grin on our faces.
Maybe this latest very special Peugeot GTi will have the same effect. Unveiled to celebrate this big milestone, the 208 GTi 30th is a limited edition optimised version of the popular 208 GTi which took to the road at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The headline grabber of the anniversary addition is undoubtedly the new 1.6-litre THP petrol engine which channels 221lb/ft of torque to the wheels and steps up the overall power to a symbolic 208bhp. The GTi 30th’s six-speed manual gearbox and Torsen diff are both borrowed from the sport-tuned RCZ R in order to squeeze out every last drop of performance possible from this more radical 208.
Other technical variations to the existing 208 GTi setup make this special edition a true driver’s hot-hatch. For example, traction control has been recalibrated and anti-roll reduced, whilst the GTi 30th also features a wider track and wheels, lower suspension and a new set of Brembo brakes. The end result is that this car hands control back to you. Your every input, reaction, and mistake are designed to be rewarded and punished in equal measure as automatic driving aid systems are dumbed down and replaced by pure pilot instincts. When 0-62mph is vanquished in just 6.5 seconds though, you will have no trouble in appreciating the stripped back and simplified Peugeot Sport engineering.
The 208 GTi 30th will be instantly recognisable sporting its two-tone livery, matt black at the front end contrasting sharply with the rear, finished in a glossy red. A similar design was first glimpsed on the Onyx Supercar Concept, but the GTi 30th is the first Peugeot production car to don this outfit. The same scheme is also available in pearl white and ruby red.
The matt treatment is also applied to the grille surround, door mirror shells, side skirts, wheel arch extensions and 18″ rims. At the rear, the rounded twin chrome exhausts are a nice upgrade over the standard GTi.