The new Peugeot 308 GTi THP 270 has been causing quite a stir of late, combining as it does, a phenomenal engine worthy of the GTi moniker and all of the practicality and style that a thoroughly modern five door hatchback has to offer. If ever there were a car that does it all, whilst creating an emotional attachment that the head, not just the heart, can fully justify, then this surely is up at the top of the list.
Styling is of course in the eye of the beholder but to my mind, the Peugeot does a great job of looking aggressive enough to satisfy the youthful vote with various creases and intakes whilst also projecting a rather more mature sense of style that us (ahem) slightly older gentlemen now desire. The large air intake underneath the signature ‘GTi’ grille with it’s chequered flag design, has a stunning red highlight along the base and sides which contrasts beautifully with the optional pearlescent paint of this test model, whilst the Sports front bumper and side skirts, added to the lowered ride height of 11mm over the standard model and twin rear exhausts, reiterate to the uninitiated the intent upon which the 308 GTi exudes and does so quite menacingly.
And combine the superb bodywork with those gorgeous 19″ ‘Carbone’ alloy wheels and you have created a silhouette that is really quite breathtaking in this day and age, indeed classical comes to mind. And let’s not forget that those particular alloys are not just there because they look so damn good but are also, rather incredibly, 2.3kg lighter per wheel than the 18″ ‘Diamont’ wheels of the GT-Line and are fitted with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Low Profile tyres offering quite incredible grip and adding confidence when pushing the 308 through the bends. In short, I love it.
Sitting inside and the GTi simply doesn’t disappoint either as the subtle styling tweaks continue with the addition of a panoramic glass roof which creates a fantastic airy feel to the cabin and yet the most noticeable change has got to be the GTi bucket seats in leather effect and half alcantara with red stitching and Peugeot Sport branding which are remarkably comfortable and keep you firmly in position when pressing on. Indeed, the interior of this 308 is full of subtle touches, the additional red stitching all around, the beautifully finished metal gearshift that sits superbly in the hand and allows you a physical connection with this most dynamic car. The rear seats will comfortably seat children or adults alike whilst entertainment is derived from the simple to use combined SAT NAV, Bluetooth and DAB touchscreen system, in fact anyone with experience of the latest range of Peugeot will feel instantly at home in using this intuitive 9.7″ multifunction colour touchscreen.
With dual zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, electric handbrake, automatic headlights & windscreen wipers, electrochrome auto dimming rear view mirror, reversing camera, front & rear parking sensors, SAT NAV, USB & aux in, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and a trip computer, this is not the compromise choice of car either but one that includes features that genuinely improve the ownership and driving experience of this Peugeot GTi.
And then there’s the Mistral Nappa GTi style leather compact steering wheel measuring just 351mm x 329mm, which provides natural grip and flawless precision and leaves a clear view of the clever head-up instrument cluster, whilst allowing you to experience the exact amount of feel necessary to place this nimble Peugeot where you want through the corners to make maximum progress.
The engine though, is what this Peugeot 308 GTi THP 270 is all about. With a capacity of 1598cc matched to an exquisite turbocharger, this Peugeot Sport engine delivers an incredible 272hp at 6000 revs whilst still having an eye on efficiency including, as it does, start stop technology. Incredible. In fact over a week of mixed driving and around 600 miles, the 308 GTi was still hovering around 40mpg meaning that, with far more restraint being shown, a figure much nearer the claimed combined figure of 47.1mpg should easily be achievable and this with CO2 emissions of just 139g/km as well.
This is a car that can be easily driven sensibly, changing up nice and early, being gentle with the throttle and braking, in fact, driven normally, the weekly shopping trip to the supermarket or dropping the children off at school, you’d be hard pressed to notice the raging torrent of power that this engine makes available as it can be so incredibly civilised.
But by pressing the all important sport button, the GTi changes from a do anything family hatchback into a supremely fast racer for the road. With a 0-62mph time of just 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, this is a very fast car, be in no doubt about that, a sensation and feeling that depressing the sport button intensifies ten fold. Peugeot themselves state that: Pressing the SPORT button on the centre console switches the display colour from white to red, shows additional information on the central display (power, torque, boost, lateral and longitudinal acceleration), amplifies engine sound (via the audio system) and changes the accelerator pedal mapping, enhancing the experience even further. And I’m certainly not going to argue with that.
The feel that the GTi gives through it’s direct steering and supreme suspension components allows you to judge exactly what the front wheels are doing and how much grip they have to give as you place the Peugeot exactly where you want it to be. Braking is taken care of by ventilated front brake discs with a diameter of 380mm on this THP 270 model, mounted on aluminium hubs, and squeezed by four pistons (38mm and 41mm in diameter) in a vibrant red fixed calliper at the front with the PEUGEOT SPORT signature. Whilst the rear discs have a diameter of 268mm. Together, these components deliver endurance and remarkably consistent performance in the most demanding circumstances, in essence, you want to slow down, you do. Very quickly and safely.
Summing up is really quite simple as what you have here is a well specified, family five door hatchback with folding rear seats and a fantastic boot that combines efficiency with economy and yet, at the touch of a button, we have a car that kicks you in the back and throws you up the road and through the bends at a quite astonishing rate.
It’s akin to being at a dinner party with both Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde in that no matter how much time you spend in the company of the affable Doctor, you just know that sooner or later Mister Hyde is going to appear and you know what? You can’t wait.
It handles, it goes, it stops, in comfort and I want one so bad.
I’ll leave the final words to Peugeot themselves who state that: In order to meet the exacting standards of sports car enthusiasts, PEUGEOT SPORT’s expert engineers, who share the same passion for performance, were tasked with the development of a GTi version of 308…. The end result…. PEUGEOT 308 GTi by PEUGEOT SPORT…. The ultimate in compact sports cars. And in MotorMartin’s opinion, they’ve got it just right.
Where will you go?