Peugeot have a strong tradition of consistently producing some of the most exciting and exhilarating sports hatches around. None more so than the original all-conquering 205 GTi, the car that squeezed an insane amount of fun in to such a small package, setting the tone for sports hatches for years to come. It is incredible to think that the 205 GTi was blowing minds over 25 years ago but for those of us suddenly coming over all sentimental Peugeot have lined up something a little bit special for next year. All stand for the Peugeot 208 GTi.
Peugeot want to take the same values that made the 205 GTi so successful and transplant them in to the 208, launched in June 2012, so for starters they have given the hatchback an extra injection of power. The new steed is capable of managing 0 to 62mph in less than 7 seconds thanks to its punchy 200bhp 1.6 litre THP petrol engine. This little powerhouse delivers a pounding 203 lb ft of torque, funnelled through a reworked exhaust system which promises to offer some top quality ear candy. The GTi features several other enhancements over and above the standard model including a close-ratio six speed gearbox, firmer steering settings, new springs and shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar. The suspension and wheels are also specific to this latest GTi but it is not just the inner workings that have been overhauled by Peugeot’s performance gurus.
Less noticeable is the slightly wider body, 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear, and the extended sills and wings, however it is the 3D chequered flag-style mesh on the gloss black grille that really jumps out at you and screams GTi. The gloss black theme continues with the rear skirt just above the chrome double exhaust, whilst another chrome strip gracefully slopes down the lower edge of the rear window.
The interior is dominated by red, black and more chrome with red GTi stitching throughout, whilst the instrument panel glitters in chrome, encircled by red LEDs. The vents, touchscreen, dashboard, steering wheel and seat belts all blend in with the same interior scheme.
Proudly bearing the GTi logo, in yet more sparkling chrome with red highlights, the 208 GTi, due for release in spring 2013, clearly thinks that it can talk the talk and walk the walk. It better be right, because somewhere in that great used car dealership in the sky a certain other Peugeot GTi is watching intently, waiting for its legacy to be upheld. No pressure then Peugeot….