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
It looks light and lithe. Because it weighs just 1,140kg, that little turbo engine gets it to 62mph in a sharp 6.8 seconds. Same as the Fiesta ST, which is likely no coincidence. In fact, all sorts of comparisons with the Fiesta are inevitable, and I've driven both. They're close enough that it's going to take a back-to-back drive to sort them out.
The engine is a fine match for these Corsican roads. The steering wheel is never, ever static, and you want to keep both hands on there because the corners often surprise you halfway round. So it's useful to be able to change gear when it suits you. If you haven't time to shift down to second, well, the turbo will dig you out of a corner in third. Beyond about 2,000rpm, lag never makes an issue of itself.
A highly strung naturally aspirated engine is great when you know the road, but when you're bombarded with surprises, it's better to have the flexible ally of a turbo. It doesn't have the synthesised snorting resonance of the Fiesta ST's engine, but the sound has a nice mechanical purity to it, and it's smooth and full of spirit all the way round the dial. The redline is at 6,200, but it's still sounding happy pulling hard at that point, so several times I went to pay my respects to the cutoff at 6,600.