This is the Peugeot GTi Concept, and it's a near-200bhp hot hatch that Peugeot will unveil at the Geneva motor show in March 2012. Unveiled alongside it will be the Peugeot 208 XY Concept.
The Peugeot 208 GTi Concept is technically still a concept, but the hottest Peugeot 208 already runs a THP 156 engine, so the mule our spies spotted cold weather testing is thought to be an early prototype for a production version of the GTi. We'd guess at seeing a production version of the Peugeot 208 GTi at the 2012 Paris motor show this autumn.
If it turns out to be anything like sister company Citroen's DS3 Racing, it should be a very good car indeed.
Right, important details! Is the Peugeot 208 GTi Concept a proper hot hatch?
The ingredients are very promising. The engine is the same turbocharged THP 200 1.6-litre four-cylinder that you’ll find in the top-spec RCZ. Which means 197bhp at 5500rpm, plus 188lb ft at 1700rpm (or 203lb ft with an overboost facility). Peugeot hasn’t made any acceleration claims, but reckon on high-sixes or low-sevens to 62mph from a standstill.
Chassis-wise the 208 GTi has a 36mm wider track, at both the front and the rear, while 302mm (front) and 249mm (rear) discs take care of the stopping.
How is the Peugeot 208 GTi Concept visually different from the standard 208?
There’s a very subtle bodykit, with neatly integrated wheelarch extensions, a discreet rear spoiler, and a small black ‘diffuser’ with two chromed tailpipes. And in a nod to the original spit-you-through-a-hedge-backwards-if-you-lift-mid-corner 205 GTi, there are brushed aluminium GTi logos on the rear quarter panels aft of the back windows.
The front grille is supposed to be in the style of a chequered flag, and before your patriotic blood is riled by the French tricolour flag across the white bumper insert, the very last photo depicts the 208 GTi Concept with a Union Jack across its snout.
What about inside?
The sports seats are trimmed in Nappa leather and cloth, while the flat-bottomed (no Peugeot, no!) steering wheel is all leather but with contrasting red stitching. Alcantara covers the dash, the roof lining is black, and the pedals are aluminium.
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