Get yourself down to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and prepare to be blown away by Peugeot’s new 270bhp 308 GTi.
The motoring press has reported that this red-hot new model has been declared a go-er in production form. The new beast will be a serious competitor for the SEAT Leon Cupra, with a 1.6-litre turbo, when it arrives in UK showrooms this autumn.
This is a hot new GTi that will borrow Peugeot’s RCZ R engine and will become easily the most potent model to emerge from the French manufacturer. It seems unlikely that the RCZ R will be replaced, so the 308 GTi is expected to become the performance standard-bearer when the RCZ R is retired.
Differences from the GT version are subtle but noticeable. It comes with bigger alloys that display a stunning silver and matte black colour scheme. There are red brake calipers and a front grille entwines in a honeycomb pattern. Mean-looking dual exhausts sit in a new bumper insert and everything seems a little lower.
According to the media, the 308 GTi has been spotted in Scandinavia undergoing cold-weather testing in disguise. The same media source also discloses that Peugeot has decided not to join the hot-hatch war being fought out by Renault, Honda and SEAT at the Nurburgring.
The new GTi will get modified suspension, sharper brakes and Torsen limited-slip differential. Peugeot’s new offering is unlikely to be as hardcore and track-like as the new Honda Civic Type R and should have a more relaxed road-oriented setup.
The 308 GTi is expected to feature a six-speed manual box and front-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic for future sports models is also expected from Peugeot, however.
Peugeot Sport is keeping relatively schtum about any part in the development of the GTi this might be because they’re working on an even more potent 308 R, a hybrid concept car that debuted in Shanghai in April and can also be seen in all its 493bhp glory at the Goodwood Festival.
Christophe Valet, Peugeot’s ride and handling expert, explained that alterations have had to be made to the standard car to gain a performance edge: "For a GTI, we'd reduce suspension travel, lower it and introduce stiffer springs and dampers to have better body control." He also suggested that larger brakes and quicker, heavier steering were required.
So, if you’re looking for a real alternative to the Golf GTI or Focus ST, the Peugeot 308 GTi could well be the one. If the Peugeot 308 GTi tickles your speed stick, expect to pay about £26,000 towards the end of this year.