Peugeot 208 GTi revealed

7 Mar, 2012 11:00am Luke Madden

The new Peugeot 208 GTi has made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show

Peugeot has been saving the GTi badge for something special since the underwhelming 207 GTi was discontinued in the UK market in 2009.

Finally, the company reckons it has produced a car worthy of the badge in the shape of this 208 GTi Concept, which has just been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

There’s no doubt where the inspiration for the hot 208 has come from. The GTi badge is proudly displayed on the rear quarter panels – just as it was on the legendary 205 GTi hot hatch back in the eighties.

But the retrospective nods to one of Peugeot’s best-loved models end there. A very modern look, with beefy wheelarches, an aggressive front grille and a large rear spoiler is the order of the day. The grille looks like a chequered flag and there’s a pair of chrome exhaust pipes.

The 208 GTi’s engine has already been seen in the RCZ coupe. The 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol will be mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. No performance figures have been released, but expect a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds.

A special exhaust system gives this engine a burbling note in the RCZ, and a similar set-up will likely be seen in the GTi. Sharp and agile handling should also be expected, as the 208 weighs around 110kg less than the 207.

To improve the GTi’s cornering ability even further, the front and rear tracks have been widened by 36mm and the suspension will be specially modified. The larger-diameter brakes used on the 154bhp 208 1.6 THP model will also fitted to the GTi.

Peugeot has also worked hard to ensure the GTi Concept feels special from behind the wheel. The standard car’s small steering wheel is now trimmed in leather and incorporates a GTi badge plus contrasting red stitching.

The red theme continues in the dial surrounds, the dash inserts and the centre console. The dashboard itself is finished in Alcantara, while the black rooflining and aluminium pedals also add to the classy feel.

For the moment, Peugeot is still calling the 208 GTi a concept car, but we’ve already spotted prototype models being tested on the road. That means you can expect to see the hot 208 on sale by the end of this year.

By that time, it will have plenty of new and established hot-hatch rivals to contend with - from the new Ford Fiesta ST to the MINI Cooper S – all coming close to the 208’s expected £18,000 list price.

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If Peugeot keeps the production version looking exactly like this 'concept' it has to be onto a winner. I love the 205 styling hints around the three-quarters, and the chequered flag grille is pretty cool too.

With the weight-saving design and a decently engineered chassis this should be a damn good little drive. Renault will need to pull out all the stops with the next Clio if it wants to compete.

The 308 and this GTi seems to have more than a hint of DS3 about it. Will it be any good though? I am with many here that Peugeot has lost it's way a little with the dumpy 308 the rather old 107 and far too expensive hybrid 3008. Key to success will be making it light and nimble and maybe adding a bit of 205 DNA as that is what seems to have been lost since the demise of the 306. The last really fun to drive Pug........

light, nimble, good looking well proportioned hatch, with a gorgeous punchy engine, i think my name may just be going on the order book.. please release it as it is Peugeot.

I've owned two 205 GTi's in their heyday - a 1.6GTi and the even faster 1.9GTi. Both fabulous. But never had a pug since. Lots of fast Fords (XR2, STs), Golfs (VR6, GTis) and latterly BMWs (6 cylinder models, coupes etc). But I've always liked small, fast, compact, brawny cars ... and this looks like it could bring a huge smile back to my face. If Peugeot have improved their reliability and electrics - this could be something special.

i think the car looks great. I wasn't much of a fan of the standard car... Esp in 5 door. But the mods on the gti are smart. If the production version drives as good as this looks, it could well be peugeots long awaited return to hot hatch greatness

You had both a 1.6 & a 1.9 205 GTi?! That is just greedy! As a teenager I lusted after a 1.9 GTi in red, I thought it was the coolest car ever. Although they are a rare sight now my heart still jumps when I see one! Was the 1.6 really better then the 1.9 as magazines said back in the day?
Although it'll never be as great as the 205 I really hope this one is good, so maybe I can live the dream!

18K for a Focus ST? Hello?

What's that Union Flag doing on the grill - are they making these at Ryton again?? If so, I'll have one - the last Ryton cars were the last reliable Pugs. I'll wait to see how many times others have to call the AA before considering one of these. (As you can probably tell I bought a 307 having loved my 306. In the four years I had it from new there was NEVER a time when EVERYTHING actually worked).

The original 205 was a pretty little car, that gained a more masculine, but still-stylish edge in GTi form. This 208 looks like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel from the Simpsons. That gurning front end is neither elegant nor sporty.

My first company car too - bought nearly new from a solicitor. Lovely, buzzy, and with an instantaneous eager throttle - it made you feel you had to drive it quickly all the time - even if you just went down to the shops to buy a pint of milk! However, a staff member left and I had to have their car instead. A few years later I bought my own dark metallic green 1.9GTi with special trim. It was faster, brawnier - but didn't have that eager feel the 1.6 had. Both were terrific fun and I'd have another one except for one thing - the bodywork was like a flexy egg shell - not good if in an accident. But this new one ... it looks very promising - some are saying 6.0 secs for the 0-60 and 40mpg +