★★★★★ | Peugeot 308GTi
What Have We Got
Hot hatches use to roam the land, hunting their prey. Then, they just disappeared, killed off by ever increasing insurance premiums. But, thankfully, now they’re back with a vengeance. This is Peugeot’s 308GTi. It’s Peugeot new wild child and has a lot to live up to. Peugeot has a strong hot hatch heritage, often credited with starting the hot hatch genre in the first place. It’s priced from £28,950 but with the few extras, there are (pretty much anything you can think of is standard equipment) ours was more like £31,500.
The 308 packs 272hp and 330nm torque into a beautifully understated package.
It’s a true dark horse. There’s a close ratio 6 speed, manual gearbox, no flappy paddles or automatic option on the GTi, just a pleasantly analogue driving experience. This thing is wild. In normal mode, it’s just your average, fast, elegant hot hatch. Press the sports button and the 308GTi goes into beast mode. The steering and throttle response sharpens, the engine noise is amplified in the cockpit and the dash glows red. All you need to do then is hang on.
Once you’ve settled into the supportive, Alcantara and leather bucket seats, the Peugeot won’t take you 20 minutes to change settings and program in your preferences before you can start your journey, just jump in and go. As you would expect from a modern car, there are a host of electronic safety aides to help you and keep you safe. Features include automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, speed limit recognition, smartbeam LED headlights, reversing camera, city park/ self-park, Lane keep technology, driver attention alert and loads more. It’s very well put together.
Living with it
The 308GTi is really fast. On a damp road, accelerating hard, Peugeot’s wild child struggled for grip, spinning its huge 19” wheels through the first 3 gears, clawing at the tarmac, trying to find grip for the 235/35/19 tyres.
The close ratio, 6 speed, manual gearbox is strong with perfectly spaced gears. Clip the rev limiter, throw in another gear and you’re right on boost, accelerating hard again. I saw 150mph, still accelerating before we ran out of road. Peugeot says 0-62mph in 6 seconds but I’ll eat my hat if it’s not faster than that.
It’s really fast, the handling is another level, the brakes are outrageously good and the interior is sporty and classy. It’s a great package all around. The 308GTi isn’t gaudy or obvious like a Ford Focus RS or Honda Civic type R, it’s a fast hot hatch for grown-ups. What I particularly like was the simplicity of it. Lots of modern cars have adjustable everything and take 20 mins just to set up all the electronics before you start. With the 308GTi you just slide into the leather and Alcantara sports seat and drive.
Fake engine noise through the speakers in sport mode
Stealth looks. Is it too subtle?
Giving It back to Peugeot
Car – Peugeot 308GTi
Price – Starting £29.050. Ours was £31,500.
MPG – 47.1 mpg (combined)
0-62 – 6 seconds
Power – 272hp and 330nm torque
Top Speed – 154.7 mph
Co2 – 139 (g/km)