Peugeot 207 GTI: the lowdown
Could this be the hot hatch to restore the sheen on Peugeot’s GTI badge? On the experience of the French company’s past few efforts, probably not – but the 207 GTI looks set to improve on the lacklustre outgoing 206. Headline-grabbing highlights include the same 175bhp turbo 1.6 as the latest Mini Cooper S; although it’s down on power compared with punchy 190bhp+ rivals like the Renault Clio 197 and Vauxhall Corsa VXR, a brief overboost facility unleashes 195lb ft of twist for overtaking moves in the top three gears to narrow the gap. You’ll pass 62mph in 7.1sec, and the hot 207 tops out at 137mph.
Okay, so it’s pretty quick then. Does it look the part too?
We’re slightly underwhelmed by the look of this warmed-over 207, to be honest. It’s a world away from the brash in-yer-face attitude of the Corsa VXR, but we reckon most hot-hatch buyers will want a little more punch than the restrained 207 GTI delivers… Big chunky driving lights dominate the bottom of the cross-hatch grille at the front, while there’s the merest whiff of a front spoiler. At the back, twin exhausts are added and a discreet roof spoiler tops the rear screen. Oh, and the door mirrors have chrome accents, too. It seems that CAR Online's scoop of the 207 GTI was spot on - we published leaked photos a month ahead of its embargoed debut today.
The acid question: will the 207 GTI be any good to drive?
Peugeot has beefed up the suspension of the basic 207’s McPherson front struts and rear torsion beam; new spring and damper rates are designed to give the GTI more sporting poise and the wheels are upgraded to 17in nine-spokers, wearing Bridgestone Potenza 205/45 rubber for extra grip compared with cooking 207s. The electric power steering has been recalibrated, too, and chunkier 302mm vented front discs are added. The ESP stability control can be completely disabled, Peugeot promises, and a new Steering Stability Program applies small steering inputs automatically if the car skids under braking. We’ve not driven the 207 GTI yet, but we have tested the Cooper S, whose engine it shares. It’s a smooth operator, with less of the drama of the old supercharged 1.6 – this one is smooth and delivers a wide spread of torquey pull. It’s a state-of-the-art BMW-developed engine, boasting direct injection, twin-scroll turbo and continuously variable valve timing.
So what’s the 207 GTI like inside?
Peugeot has fitted chunky, and slightly over-the-top, bucket seats to the GTI. They’re trimmed in Alcantara and should hold passengers in place pretty snugly, judging by the huge wing supports. We haven’t seen the rest of the cabin, but it’ll be loaded with goodies. Topping the 207 range brings a raft of standard equipment: six airbags, rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic wipers and lights, a self-dipping rear-view mirror and tyre pressure sensors. Prices aren’t confirmed yet, but reckon on somewhere around £16,000 when sales start in early summer.