Peugeot 308 GTI (2015): the French go Golf-bashing

Published: 18 June 2015

► New 2015 Peugeot 308 GTI is here
► Choose from 247 or 267bhp 
► Priced from £26,555  

Can Peugeot possibly recapture some of the old-school 306 hot hatch magic with 2015's new 308 GTI? Unveiled today, the French are hoping to capitalise on the success of recent high-performance models with a model that looks set to out-power a Golf GTI and close in on fast Renaultsport territory.

Sporting 247bhp or 266bhp, the new hot Peugeot is aimed at the faster end of the hot hatch market. Which may explain why it'll make its world debut next weekend at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed from 25-28 June, as revealed by CAR magazine.

New Peugeot 308 GTI: the spec

At the heart of the new fast hatch is the familiar 1.6 THP turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine. As in the RCZ R (see our long-term test review here), it's breathed on by Peugeot Sport which gives us great hope; recent products such as the 208 GTI and RCZ Coupe, have been huge improvements after the wilderness years of tepid Peugeot sports offerings.

It's telling that they're offering two outputs. Pick the more powerful 266bhp GTI and it comes with the same Torsen mechanical differential you'll find in the RCZ R - tugging you tighter into apexes, rather than scrubbing wide in a flurry of expensive Michelin-produced smoke.

The raw figures are these:

  • Engine 1.6 petrol turbo 4cyl, start-stop
  • Power 247bhp or higher-boost 267bhp
  • Torque 243lb ft @ 1900rpm
  • Acceleration 6.0sec 0-62mph (267bhp), 6.2sec (247bhp)
  • Top speed 155mph limited (both models)
  • CO2 emissions 139g/km
  • Economy 47.1mpg combined

Choose your strength of Peugeot 308 GTI

Will the new 308 hot hatch be good to drive?

We'll know soon when we drive it, but the omens are good. Peugeot Sport know a thing or two about tuning fun chassis, and here they've dropped the chassis by 11mm, widened the track front and rear and fitted 235/35 19-inch tyres to the more powerful version. Those rims are big enough to house 380mm front discs and four-piston callipers for improved stopping performance.

To make sure you stand out from repmobile 308s, there are LED headlamps, blacked-out radiator grille and red piping below the bumper. It's all very 1980s. We're still not sure about the £1300 Coupe Franche two-tone paintwork though. Surely a gimmick for the press photos.

Prices

The new 308 GTI will cost from £26,555 for the lower-powered model; the higher-powered one £28,155. 

Can they relive the 205 GTI glory days? Times have moved on, kerbweights have ballooned and pocket rockets are a different proposition nowadays. But we can't help getting all misty-eyed for the razor-sharp 306 GTIs and Rallye specials.

Don't forget: Peugeot has sold 800,000 sporting derivatives since the 1980s, it says. Let's hope the 308 GTI will join the greats.

Inside the 308 GTI's cabin

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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