Peugeot 207 GT THP

We've been testing the temperature of Peugeot’s latest hot hatches

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

If you expect the 207 GT to recall Peugeot’s legendary hot hatches of the past, you could be disappointed. Its engine is superb, but the sloppy five-speed box is a big letdown. Yet its mature, agile chassis, tempting price tag and generous standard kit all impress. So, given that next year’s GTi will also come with the same mediocre transmission, the cheaper GT could be a better bet.

Last week, our test of the full-strength GTi left us wanting more, while in Issue 931 the left-hand-drive European-spec GT couldn’t match the dynamic abilities of MINI’s Cooper S. The entry-level turbocharged variant has just arrived in the UK, so how does it cope with Britain’s challenging tarmac?

At the heart of the Peugeot is an engine co-developed with BMW. Also used in the Cooper S, the 1.6-litre turbo is a masterpiece of petrol engineering.

Tuned to produce 150bhp at 5,800rpm and 240Nm of torque at only 1,400rpm, it gives easily accessible performance in real-world conditions, and the car is a pleasure to drive. That low-down torque lets the GT pull hard in any gear, while revving it through to the red line deli-vers more thrilling acceleration.

Relatively low CO2 emissions and an impressive 40.3mpg combined economy add to the GT’s appeal, but there’s one aspect of this 207’s drivetrain that takes the shine off the whole experience – the gearbox. With a long, imprecise shift and only five ratios, it’s a huge disappointment. However, hot hatches make their mark when the traffic gets lighter and the bends tighter. Peugeot is, of course, a long-standing chassis development expert, creating some true hot hatch greats in the past – the 205, 106 and 306 GTi models all have a strong following. But a different approach has been taken with the 207.

While the older cars were known for their raw involvement and edgy handling, the new GT has a much more mature feel. The chassis is very responsive, turning keenly into corners and reacting to every steering input, but it is composed at the same time. The ride is also remarkably comfortable. Standard-fit 17-inch alloy wheels don’t detract from the GT’s ability to smooth out bumps, and only deep potholes and ridges unsettle it.

This mature nature is reflected in its styling. With no bespoke badging or striking spoilers, there is little to separate the performance model from les­ser 207s. However, it does come with a raft of standard equipment. For £14,345, you get six airbags, dual-zone climate control, air-conditioning and a panoramic glass roof.

We are still waiting for the thrilling hot hatch Peugeot fans yearn for, but the GT is a good all-rounder which offers sound value for money.

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