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A release date of January 2014 is expected, but Auto Express was given a guided tour of the new hatchback in Paris by Peugeot’s design chief Gilles Vidal - ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Key to the new car’s appeal is its quality, with a clean, sculpted look inside and out. “We worked hard on the proportions to give a high level of true and perceived quality,” says Vidal.
“We’ve reduced what we call the ‘sideways overhang’ between the windows and the wheelarch edge, and have worked on the width and muscle of the car, too.”
There’s also what Vidal calls a “hi-tech light signature”, with three claw-like LEDs at the back, LED running lights and full LED headlamps on top-spec models.
Peugeot 308 dimensions
Like the Peugeot 208 supermini, the new 308 is slightly smaller than the car it replaces – 2cm shorter and 4cm lower – yet with more passenger room and a boot that, at 470 litres, is nearly 25 per cent bigger than the VW’s.
It’s light, too – up to 140kg less than the previous model. That’s mostly due to using the clever EMP2 modular platform that’ll underpin a range of Peugeots and Citroens, including the new C4 Picasso.
It means there’ll be a version emitting less than 85g/km of CO2 and returning more than 80mpg, while a diesel hybrid model will also feature.
The interior really takes the challenge to the Golf and Audi A3 when it comes to quality. “A big part of the project has been an extra investment in quality materials,” says Vidal.
“And we’ve worked hard with sound engineers to make sure the sound of the doors shutting adds to the car’s quality feel.”
The simple dash is dominated by a 9.7-inch touchscreen that houses all the infotainment and climate control functions, with the exception of an exquisitely designed volume knob.
The 308 also gets the head-up instrument binnacle and small steering wheel that’s been less than well received in the 208 – albeit differently positioned. The very latest luxury and safety equipment will also be offered.
This hatchback won’t be the only 308 we’ll see. An estate version will follow, while a GTi model is also expected to arrive by 2015.
Peugeot 308 price
There's no word on 308 prices yet. We'd expect the cars to be well-equipped and not to carry a significant premium over the the price of the current 308, which starts at just over £13,000.
Peugeot 308 pictures
The all-new Peugeot 308 has been spotted undergoing cold-weather testing in Scandinavia.
The new 308 will feature Peugeot’s latest styling direction, established by cars like the 208 supermini and 2008 crossover.
The 308 will be the first Peugeot to use the new PSA EMP2 platform. It will be debut with the Citroen C4 Picasso, due later this year, and Peugeot claims that it will help shed 70kg from the car’s weight, despite the fact that the new 308 will be bigger than before.
That means an entry-level 308 should weigh in at around 1,280kg, which is competitive with the latest Volkswagen Golf.
Peugeot also claims that the car will emit 22 per cent less CO2, thanks to a suite of measures aimed at improving economy. Specifically, Peugeot claims that work to reduce friction in the drivetrain will save around 4g/km, a stop-start-equipped engine line-up will also account for a 4g/km saving, while a new electric power steering system saves 2.5g.km.
Diesel models will also get a new Selective Catalytic Reduction exhaust, which uses AdBlue to reduce NOx emissions as well as saving around 3g/km of CO2.
We also know that the all-new Peugeot 308 will feature a new touchscreen infotainment system, like the new SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia and VW Golf. The new car will also keep the 308 name, with car names ending in ‘8’ intended for developed markets, while car names ending in ‘1’ will be reserved for emerging markets.