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Peugeot 208 (2012) spied - is this the 208 GTI?

By Tim Pollard

Spy shots

27 January 2012 16:31

Peugeot is testing what looks like it could be a 208 GTI hot hatch version of the new 208 supermini in the snows of northern Europe.

What makes you think this is the Peugeot 208 GTI?

See those twin exhaust pipes at the rear of this test car? They've not been seen yet on the regular or cooking 208 models that have so far been seen.

The stance of this 208 makes us think it could be a hot hatch version, too; it's sitting very low on its suspension, hinting at a lower ride height and reprogrammed spring and damper rates.

It's likely that the French engineers might have dropped the bodykit on this 208. The simple act of removing a rear spoiler is often enough to make a car drop off the radar.

So what will power the 208 GTI?

We'd expect the go-faster 208 to use the familiar 1.6-litre four-cylinder already seen in earlier 207s and also over the road in BMW's Mini division.

In turbocharged guise as a John Cooper Works, it can liberate up to 210bhp, although a Peugeot GTI would be more likely to sport a lower output somewhere between 160bhp and 200bhp. It all comes down to how much they want to revive the memory of the 205 GTI.

That's the comparison everyone will surely make. One source suggested that Peugeot may be planning a two-pronged approach: a modest, warm hatch like this car here, with a more focused GTI-R style model with nearer 200 ponies to follow.

Perhaps we'll know more after the 208's formal debut at the 2012 Geneva motor show.