Peugeot 308 R close to sign-off

Development work on the Peugeot 308 R has begun, set to rival the Volkswagen Golf GTI

Peugeot 308 R concept frankfurt 2013

The all-new Peugeot 308 R hot hatch is set to crown the new Peugeot 308 range when it is put into production. We first saw the Volkswagen Golf GTI rival at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2013 in concept form, but it won’t be long before we see it on the road.

• Peugeot 308 review

Pierre Budar, Manager for Sporty and Individual Models at Peugeot Sport, told us “There’s no official sign-off on the 308 R. However, you can expect it to proceed and discussions are quite advanced.”

Once the Peugeot 308 R is given the green light, however, getting it from the concept shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show to reality isn’t likely to take long.

Peugeot Sport boss Bruno Famin added, “We use our motorsport skills and bring them to a production car. So we’re a small team but with lots of experience of working quickly.”

The 308 R will use the same 266bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the RCZ R. In that car it delivers a 5.9-second 0-62mph time – half-a-second quicker than the Performance Pack version of the Golf GTI.

The new Peugeot RCZ R was given the green light for production in June 2012, and took less than 18 months to develop despite requiring a completely reengineered powertrain and chassis.

As the engine will be carried over to the 308 R, this should cut development time considerably, although much of work that has gone into the RCZ R was in honing the car’s setup on tracks near Peugeot Sport’s base on the outskirts of Paris.

• Peugeot RCZ review

A Peugeot spokesman added it’s unlikely that the GTi badge will be used for the finished 308 flagship, to help distance it from its most obvious rival, the VW Golf GTI.

However, while the 208 GTi is one of the more civilised models in its class, if the 308 R follows the RCZ R’s motorsport-inspired direction, it’s likely to be closer to the Renault Megane RS 265 in ethos.

As well as the potent engine, it’ll include a Torsen limited slip diff, 30mm wider tracks, 26mm lower suspension and 19-inch alloys wrapped with specially developed tyres. Upgraded brakes sourced from Alcon will also feature.

Peugeot Sport develops road cars sporadically in addition to building customer racing cars, including the new Peugeot 208 R5 T16, and one-off specials like the 208 driven by Sebastian Loeb to set a new Pike’s Peak hillclimb record earlier this year.

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