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
The car's driving position is a vexed matter. The steering wheel is small and the dials mounted high on the dash, so you view the clocks over the top of the steering wheel rather than through its circumference. I happen to love it, because in any car, I always sit with my back upright and the steering wheel low and close to the dash. I'm also good with the GTi's seats and the support they give my bod, but you don't get much choice with them: there's no tilt adjustment or variable lumbar.
Others who sit more reclined than I do, find that the 208's wheelrim cuts across the dials. So try before you buy. Anyway, the small wheel makes the steering feel super-quick. But, of course, it also demands a high level of power assistance to overcome the high effective gearing. That has effects of its own, and we'll be on to that in a minute.
Under the skin, the 208 again follows the well-worn GTi groove. Mightier engine first: it's the regular Peugeot 1.6 direct-injection VVT turbo, but hopped up to 200bhp at 5,700rpm and 203lb ft down at 1,700. The wide spread of those rpm numbers means it isn't too fussy about which of the six gears it's in. The car sits on a wider track, by 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear. Higher-rate springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, reinforced subframe mounts, bigger brakes. You know the score.