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 six-speed gearbox's wand moves through a rather lengthy arc, but it shifts with little resistance. So you've got a powertrain that's highly effective, if not quite inspiring. The brakes are strong and stable too, but there's a bit of sog in the pedal. Hmmm. So far so good, but if this is to be a great hot hatch, a lot depends on the chassis.
The 208's overhangs are visibly short, which adds to the expectation that it is built to turn. And so it proves, like a little swervy terrier. The steering is quick and proportional, perfectly weighted both around the centre and away towards the locks. The little white doggy dives smartly into each bend, the front tyres clinging on like they'd sacrifice their very toenails for you. There's equal grip from the back end too, so you simply pivot around with immense security.
But the terrier doesn't really want to wag its tail. I'm not asking for the crazy snapping-out of the 205 GTI, but compared with the way a Fiesta ST will slither according to throttle adjustments, the 208 GTi is just a little inert. And the steering could use a little more feedback too - but then, that's no different from the Fiesta.