All of the Peugeot 308 models offer a fantastic value proposition, but the one that catches the most attention from petrolheads is the GTi variant. This is understandable after all this is a thrilling hot hatch that gives you sports performance without sacrificing too much practicality. Let’s take a closer look at the lightweight front wheel drive pocket rocket to see what it has to offer.
Some First Impressions
Peugeot has a long and illustrious history with the hot hatch concept going right back to the 80s and the venerable 205 GTi. So, the new Peugeot 308 GTi has a lot to live up to, and in a competitive market, it needs to deliver. Essentially, this is a light front wheel drive hatch with a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that generates 200 kW of power and 330 Nm of torque. A manual six-speed transmission gives the driver plenty of genuine feedback, and this updated model arrived here at the tail end of last year.
What’s so Special About the 308 GTI?
The engine is nice and powerful for a small light hatch, but it’s the power to weight ratio of 170 kW/tonne that makes the real difference. The relatively light kerb weight paired with this engine and gearbox is a match made in heaven for those that like a hotter hatch experience. Unlike the hot hatches of old, the 308 GTi is almost understated in the looks department. It has a smart and boxy contemporary feel, and the five doors give it an almost regular hatch appearance. The 19” alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres almost give the game away, but this is a hot hatch designed to go under the radar. A twin exhaust gives a nice throaty rumble when starting up, and despite having no rear spoiler, the 308 GTi still looks a little sportier.
Taking a Look Inside
The 308 GTi interior is very smart with Alcantara seats and Peugeot Sport branding. The driver’s seat is comfortable, but it’s not a “sport seat,” it will offer better support when cornering or on longer drives and it has a massage option which is unique in the hot hatch segment. There is plenty of tech onboard, such as a 9.7” touchscreen with satellite navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, a CD player, keyless entry with push button starting, cruise control with lane keep assist, speed limit recognition, blind spot monitoring, auto parking, and a reversing camera.
What’s it Like to Drive?
The 308 GTi feels nice and light despite all the onboard tech and it’s 300 kg lighter than the Hyundai i30N! It’s a real pleasure to put this car through a car, and the exhaust emits a nice throaty response when you press the accelerator. There is a lot of low down torque to give you plenty of punch off the line, and the handling is superb. The steering is sharp and responsive so new hot hatch drivers will find the 308 GTi easier to handle than some of the competition. All in all this car is a credit to Peugeot, it honours the legacy of the past, gives us a great hot hatch to drive now and it can make us excited about the future.