Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120: Je T’aime

The history behind Peugeot is both long and fascinating. Rather surprisingly, the company itself began back in 1810 and yet it wasn’t until 1889 when, as a result of a collaboration with the steam specialist Léon Serpollet, Armand Peugeot created the Serpollet-Peugeot – a steam-powered three-wheeler.

Clearly this was always going to end up in somewhat of a blind alley and so Armand abandoned steam in favour of petrol and before long, Peugeot’s first four wheeled, petrol driven vehicle, the Type 2 quadricycle was born. It’s power from an engine provided by Daimler. The first of many such engine collaborations that were to follow.

Fast forward a few more years and we come to the car that defined many people’s experiences of their first car and also brought about consumer loyalty for the brand, the ubiquitous 205 of 1983. Then in 1984 we had the much loved 205 GTi, a stunning car, especially with that amazing 1.9L engine. 

Peugeot themselves state that, the arrival of the 205 marked the start of Peugeot’s success story in the small car market, and the rally version, the 205 Turbo 16, won two World Rally Championship titles in 1985 and 1986. Over 5 million Peugeot 205s were built before being superseded in 1998 by the Peugeot 206, which broke this record with over 6.5 million models built. Then the Peugeot 207, launched in 2006, went on to become the most sold car in Europe. 

Peugeot then, it seems to MotorMartin, are riding the crest of a wave at the moment, after all, it wasn’t that long ago that the products arriving from across the channel were being labelled by a well known “Top” motoring TV show as being rather dull and uninspiring. And yet Peugeot continue to appeal to a broad section of the public, with the SMMT’s 2015 figures showing sales of 104,249, a market share of 3.96% and an increase of 0.7% over 2014. Impressive, especially when you consider that Peugeot is present in 160 countries with approximately 10,000 franchised dealers and yet, fortunately for us, the UK is their third largest market.

Now MotorMartin has had the pleasure of driving both the 208 GTi and the 308 GTi quite recently at Millbrook, of which you’ll be able to read about in the next few weeks, but what I can say at the moment, is that they are both cars very worthy of that iconic GTi badge on both of their boots. So when the extremely pretty Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120 arrived in the car park of MotorMartin Towers a few short weeks ago, there was a palpable crackle of excitement in the air.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this latest addition to the 308 range is an extremely good looking motorcar. The SW initials, as used by Peugeot, denote an estate for us Brits, with all of the extra load capacity and practicality that this longer bodystyle gives. All of which definitely makes this a car that should fit nicely with MotorMartin’s ‘real life’ motoring philosophy.

Peugeot have shared with MotorMartin that the GT Line has been introduced in both hatchback and SW body style, which offers the consumer the sportiness of the 308 GT matched with one of five possible power train options. The GT Line sits between the Allure and the GT, building on the Allure’s strong standard specification whilst still giving that sporting look and dynamics.

Helping the 308 SW GT Line’s rather striking silhouette are the standard 18″ Diamant alloy wheels, twin exhaust with black lacquered rear diffusor, tinted rear and side windows and additional GT Line badging. Inside, it’s more of the same with sporting additions such as half alcantara trim sports seats with red stitching, GT Style leather steering wheel with red stitching, GT Style carpet mats and aluminium style pedals and door sills. Improving the front end straight away, Peugeot have moved their Lion branding from the front of the bonnet to the grill itself and it really transforms the look of the car. 

The additional chrome surrounds of the fog lights and front grill create an aggressive new look that catches your attention straight away, whilst the modern headlights are styled in such a way as to draw your eye towards and along the strong, rising waistline of the 308 SW. The attention to detail is really what makes this car look so special, MotorMartin particularly likes the strips of LEDs that make up the daytime running lights along the top of the headlights and the stunning new indicators. Yes, you read that correctly. The indicators work with a dynamic sequential operation, moving from the inside to the outside and placed above the new fog lights. In operation they look fantastic and help to give the GT Line that extra special something that MotorMartin looks for in a car. 

Peugeot’s distinctive claw rear lights add a dynamic look and feel to the rear of the car, whilst the twin exhaust and rear defuser generate that wow factor that the 308 SW GT Line definitely deserves.

Now this particular Peugeot was loaded with the following from the generous options list: Metallic Paint, an amazing Panoramic Glass Roof, Peugeot’s superb City Park System, the incredibly useful Peugeot Open & Go, the Driver Assistance Pack and Load Restraint, all of which added a not inconsiderable £2,440 to the starting £24,015. In MotorMartin’s opinion though, the options as fitted all added to the practicality and enjoyment of this Peugeot and, if it were my money, they’d be added to MotorMartin’s 308 GT Line already parked in the fantasy garage underneath MotorMartin Towers. 

The Magnetic Blue paint is deep enough to get lost in whilst the Panoramic Glass Roof looks superb and brings additional light into the cabin which helps to create the illusion of so much space as to make it an essential feature. City Park? Click here (soon) to watch the YouTube Video that accompanies this review and watch Peugeot’s City Park in action, it’s just incredible and will be covered in more detail a little later on. The Open & Go system becomes such a habit as to make not having it a real bind. With the 308’s key in your pocket you step up to the locked car, run your finger along the sensor on the drivers doorhandle and the Peugeot magically unlocks itself, then all you need to do is put your foot on the brake and press the classy starter button across to your left and it’s job done. Simple to use and adds a further touch of class to the already impressive GT Line. 

Checkout part 2 later on when MotorMartin gives this Peugeot 308 SW GT Line BlueHDi 120 a thorough test on the roads of North Wales and Anglesey during a week away with the MotorMartin family. How will the Peugeot perform, will the SW swallow a weeks worth of luggage and will it show the resilience and build quality necessary to set it apart from its competitors. I’m certainly looking forward to find out.

Where will you go?

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