A Peugeot 208 GTI around 10,000 bends
There’s not been a good hot Peugeot for 15 years. Now there is. So we took it to the twistiest place we know...
Posted: 23 May 2013
Ever since, Peugeot hot hatchbacks have softened and become more acceptable to societal norms, becoming ever more forgettable in the process. But now the 208 GTi is shorter than the 207 GTi, more powerful and 165kg lighter. Peugeot is putting it about that this latest effort is a car that, while doing right by NCAP and also emitting commendably few carbons, is fit to be compared to the mighty 205 GTI. Corsica will be a good litmus.
Versus the standard 208, the GTi takes the classic visual path to GTi-ness. Outside, you get bigger alloys, sill extensions, spoilers, a fat chromed exhaust tip, and new headlamps with LEDs for running lights and indicators. The chequer grille is a nice touch. Just in case you're old enough to remember (and I am) the position of the red GTI script behind the rear side window in a 205, here it is again. The cabin has reminders too: red stripes on the seat belts, red stitching on the wheel, red in the blocky pattern of the seat trim.
But it's plusher by a mile than the oldster. Much of the dash has a stitched leather covering, for instance. Turn the 208 on, and the instrument needles glow white, then swing through full-scale and back, then their numbers light, and finally a pair of red LED rings around each pair of clocks flick alight. It's a cute sequence, executed with quality. But - or is it just me? - the red-to-black plastic garnishes around the vents and doorhandles are a mite de trop.