It's difficult to mention ‘GTI' in the same sentence as ‘Peugeot' and not feel a tinge of nostalgia; the 205 GTI is still able to induce an adenoid-filled tirade of excellence from almost everyone of a certain vintage.
New Peugeot 308 GTI could get 250bhp
TG.com manages to tease out details of potential hot hatch…
So TG.com was on a mission to eke out details of the new 308 GTI, and indeed if it is a possibility. After all, we told you only a little while ago how the 308 R is pretty much a dead cert. Speaking with Christophe Valet - Peugeot's ride and handling expert on the new hatch (pictured above) - we learned how, in his opinion, a GTI could sit just underneath and produce around 250bhp.
"Nothing is definite yet," he says, "but we are thinking around 250bhp, maybe more, maybe less, but we'll see." Though he was maddeningly non-specific on power, he was a little more revealing when it comes to the chassis developments he'd like to see. "For a GTI, we'd reduce the suspension travel, lower it, and introduce stiffer springs and dampers to have better body control," he noted.
Then he mentioned beefing up the anti-roll bars and installing harder rubber bushes, to remove a bit of a TG complaint on the new 308's body control (it was later admitted that Peugeot softened up the suspension on the standard hatch because of customer demand for more comfort). He also noted how upsizing the shocks on a GTI model, for example (ie, making them physically bigger), would help counteract lateral forces on the tyres, keeping the car in check.
Brakes would be beefed up to cope with the extra power, along with 19in wheels to fit them, though there would have to be a lot of complicated discussions regarding the steering feel. "We'll make the steering a bit quicker," Christophe tells me, "and make it so you have to put in more effort. Just a bit more effort, because in my opinion, you need some assistance to drive easily; if the steering requires too much effort it's not agreeable. Electric power steering has reached a good point," he reflects, "this was not the case maybe 10 years ago." Something the engineers of the Toyota GT86 agree with too, as they told us a while back.
He was a little clearer on the old 308 GTI, mind. "It was, in my opinion, not a very sporty car, it was a bit more comfort-orientated, you could say. Of course a GTI is a big car for us, but we'd have to assess whether there are any customers for it. One possibility we could use is to have several versions, like Renault do with the Megane RS: you have the normal one, then you have the Cup and so on." He concedes that the standard Megane RS is a ‘good car already'.
As we told you with the 308 R, a sporty version of this 308 is coming; there's genuine hunger in the company for a halo hatch. Emmanuel Coreau, one of the architects on the 308 project, admitted to TopGear.com that Peugeot Sport could also be involved on the GTI, as well as the R, though of course, he too peppered everything with the caveat that "nothing has been decided yet, we'll see".
Whichever one comes - or indeed if they both do - it promises to be an exciting little thing...