Peugeot is preparing to unleash a hot GTi version of its new 208 supermini – and the ingredients are right for it to be one of the most exciting Peugeots for years. We have all the details, and our illustrations show how the standard 208 will be transformed.
Peugeot introduced the 205 GTi in 1984, and has never really recreated the magic of that model (see panel, opposite). But the smaller, lighter and faster 208 GTi has all the hallmarks of becoming another performance classic.
Like the 205 GTi, which was offered with 105bhp 1.6-litre and 130bhp 1.9-litre engines, the 208 will come with a choice of power outputs. The tamer version will feature the same 181bhp 1.6-litre turbo engine as the MINI Cooper S, cover the 0-62mph sprint in less than seven seconds and still return almost 50mpg.
Waiting in the wings is a more powerful version, rumoured to be called 208 GTi Racing. It will use a tuned version of the same engine that delivers 204bhp, which would mean a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. On average, the new 208 weighs 110kg less than the 207 it replaces, and this should help the GTi’s handling.
Lowered, stiffer suspension will boost the car’s agility and bigger brakes will feature, too. The exhaust will be tuned to produce a throatier note, while a chunkier small-diameter steering wheel will be fitted.
Peugeot boss Vincent Rambaud has gone on record as saying “retro is not what we want to do”. So don’t expect any obvious nods towards the 205. The interior will get sports seats and GTi badges, while the exterior will feature bigger alloys, a pumped-up bodykit and larger foglights. At the back, a roof spoiler and twin exhausts finish off the makeover.
There will be plenty of rivals for Peugeot’s supermini. The Ford Fiesta ST is due before the end of the year, and there’s an all-new Renaultsport Clio arriving in early 2013. There’s no official release date for the 208 GTi, although we could see it as early as the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Expect the 181bhp version to go on sale a few months after the standard car hits showrooms this summer, costing from around £17,000. The 204bhp version will be significantly more – it’s likely to be priced closer to £22,000 when it arrives next year.
This page was updated with the full story on 8 February 2012