‘In these modern times where comfort and convenience are becoming more important than ultimate performance, the Peugeot 308 GT THP 200 ticks all the boxes,’ says the worrying press release. So did Peugeot itself once again choose not to affix the i after G and T? Or did the i refuse to get involved point blank once it had seen the brief?
It’s a worrying state of affairs when the chance to drive a fast Peugeot provokes this kind of response. But the glory days of the 205/309/106/306 GTIs have since long passed.Does the Peugeot 308 GT overcome our scepticism and prove to be a satisfying driver’s car? Read on for our test of the Peugeot 308 GT to find out…
Where does the Peugeot 308 GT fit in the enthusiast hatchback market?
At £21,995, it’s nearly £3k cheaper than the Golf GTI and comes with 18in alloys, part-leather seats, Bluetooth, cruise control and parking sensors, none of which are standard on the Volkswagen. Or, looking at it another way, it’s 40bhp gruntier than the warm Golf GT with which it is more closely aligned in terms of price and spirit.
How about the engine?
308 GT owners get Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbocharged THP 200 engine. It’s based on the same PSA/BMW four-cylinder engine found in the Mini Cooper S, Citroen DS3, and Peugeot’s own RCZ. The 197bhp promises reasonable performance for the 308 GT and it also returns 41mpg and emits just 159g/km of CO2. Engine-wise, the signs are encouraging.
Driving the Peugeot 308 GT
Peugeot fans cringing at another negative press review will be delighted to know the 308 GT acquitted itself well in our testing. The steering is impressively sensitive on-centre and, providing the needle on the rev counter is past high noon, the 197bhp turbocharged 1.6 delivers useful thrust and a satisfying howl. But 7.9sec to 62mph is poor for a 200bhp hatch. The 308 is a tad too large and weighty for the 1.6 engine to motivate with proper hot-hatch vigour.
Any other downsides?
The 308 GT is a visual let-down, offering little differentiation from the regular 308. That it comes only in five-door form isn’t really an issue; most Golf GTIs are ordered with back doors too. But even the big rims and 308CC’s rear diffuser don’t lend the GT much in the way of hot hatch presence. We know, it’s a GT not a GTI, but the standard 308 is hardly a looker and it’s a shame Peugeot didn’t make a bigger effort with this enthusiast version.
While the cabin is a quality affair and features the de-rigeur flat-bottomed steering wheel, the pedal positions make it feel more like operating a foot-powered Victorian sewing machine than driving a car. It’s the sort of thing that a more rousing overall performance might have relegated to a nit-picking flaw, but the 308 GT can’t charm its way out of the criticism.
Sporty? Luxurious? The 308 GT falls between two stools but manages not to be one itself. It’s a decent car, surprisingly fun in fact, but we can see certainly see why the i sat this one out.
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