When it comes to performance and price, Peugeot is aiming to hit the sweet spot between Volkswagen’s Golf GTI and Golf R vehicles with their new 308 GTi hot hatch. That’s according to Peugeot Australia’s general manager John Startari, who this month is expected to confirm the details of the vehicle’s Australian launch.
The 308 GTi is a car Peugeot Australia desperately needs, and would help bolster efforts already made with the smaller 208 GTi to help break into the hot hatch performance market. It is understood the 308 will be offered in two different model grades, most likely available in the $40,000 to $50,000 price range, wedged firmly between the $41,990 Volkswagen Golf GTI and $52,740 Golf R. Both versions of the GTi will have Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, as seen in the RCZ-R, with power outputs at either 184kW/330Nm (GTi 250) or 200kW/330Nm (GTi 270).
One potential problem I can see here, is no matter which engine you go for, you’ll be forced to go with just one gearbox choice – a 6-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels. This is a considerable oversight with the majority of buyers preferring automatic gearboxes, such as the DSG unit in the aforementioned Volkswagen GTI and Golf R models.
The Peugeot instead relies on its low kerb weight of just 1205kg, or more than 100kg less than the Golf. This gives the 308 GTi the best power-to-weight ratio in its class, and allows it to complete the 0-100km/h sprint in just 6.2 seconds, or 6.0 seconds flat in GTi 270 guise. Both models are restricted to a 250km/h top speed, which is hardly a problem in itself.
If you opt for the higher-spec 308 GTi 270, you’ll get a Torsen limited-slip differential incorporated into the transmission, a sportier ESP system, firmer suspension bushings and 19-inch alloys with Michelin Super Sport tyres. Behind the wheels are 380mm front brake discs with red four-piston Peugeot Sport calipers, complimented with 268mm discs at the back. Inside you’ll also get bucket seats upholstered in leather and alcantara, combined with a sports steering wheel, red stitching and Peugeot Sport badging across the cabin to lend an inherent sporty feel. The GTi 250 misses out on the above options, but still has 18-inch wheels with 330mm front brake discs, plus its own unique interior scheme.
Looking around inside, you’ll see a large touchscreen taking pride of place on the minimalist dashboard display, doing away with most of the buttons and switches. Press the Sport button, and the centre display switches from white to red, placing greater importance on performance statistics, such as power, torque and boost levels. It’ll also sharpen throttle response and acceleration, though sadly also “enhancing” the engine sound courtesy of a digital sound symposer through the car’s speakers.
Both variants of the 308 GTi will sit 11mm lower to the ground than the regular 308, which will aid cornering ability and hopefully result in only a minimal loss of ride quality. It’ll also feature full LED head lights, a unique radiator grille with a horizontal chequered pattern and gloss black finishing, plus a gloss-back extractor incorporating two exhaust pipes at the rear and signature GTi lashings. We can’t wait!