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Nostalgia
for the 1980s should have its limits. Turning back the calendar to the decade
of the Montego, big hair and Duran Duran is always going to be an idea fraught
with peril.

Which
is probably why Peugeot’s new GTI Concept, a centrepiece of its Geneva Show
stand next month, doesn’t look like a piece of pure 1980s retro. But its aim is
to get back in contact with one of our favourite memories of that era, the 205
 GTI.

Like
the 205 GTI it’s short, light and powerful. It’s got the proportions of a
little bulldog, and a GTI badge on the pillar behind the rear side window. It
even gives a hat-tip to red seat belts and grey-tartan seat pattern.

See all the pictures of the new Peugeot 208 GTI concept

Peugeot
knows it has lost its hot-hatch mojo since then. But this souped-up version of
the 208, previewing a production version about a year away, shows it might just
know what it needs to do to get it back.

How
better to start than by giving it more poooooooweeeer. It runs the RCZ’s 200bhp
1.6 turbo. We’re fervently hoping that while they’re at it, they’ve also
installed a goodly dose of the RCZ’s handling smarts. The signs are good. It
runs 18-inch wheels and a wider track compared with the regular 208.

The
206 and 207 were too swollen, too ornate-looking and not powerful enough. The
208 carves at least 100kg from its predecessor’s weight, and a huge 6cm from
its front overhang. Yet it increases both interior space and improves crash
 strength.

See all the pictures of the new Peugeot 208 GTI concept

In
other words if it was a sandwich, it’d have thinner, crustier bread on the outside
and more meat in between. Well count us hungry. As Duran Duran would have had
it, Hungry Like the Wolf.

Want more? We’ll have a full and exclusive
shoot with the new Peugeot GTI in next month’s Top Gear Magazine, on sale 29
 February

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