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First Drive

Road Test: Peugeot 308 1.6 e-THP 205 GT 5dr

£24,095 when new
610
Published: 05 May 2015
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    205bhp

  • 0-62

    7.5s

  • CO2

    130g/km

  • Max Speed

    146Mph

  • Insurance
    group

    26E

Potent letter, ‘i'. Tack one onto ‘phone', and you get one of the most important consumer products of the past decade. Add that same letter to a Peugeot, and you bring hot-hatch enthusiasts out in cold sweats. The millstone of great Pug GTis of the past weighs heavy, so here it's been avoided. This mildly warm 308 is a GT. No ‘i' here.

With a snoutier grille, 18in alloys, 10mm ride height chop and an Ann Summers' branch-worth of red stitching inside, the 308 GT is available as a 5dr hatch or cavernous, diesel-only SW estate. The hatch can be specced with the diesel, or a 202bhp, 1.6-litre petrol with 6spd manual only. Yes, the motor's been pinched from the 208 GTi Edition 30, the first Pug in 20 years worthy of that badge. Here it's had a remap to unlock low-rev grunt.

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And so we arrive at two questions. Was Peugeot right to deny the 308 GT that hallowed ninth letter of the alphabet? And regardless, is there a big enough dollop of fun here that the upcoming 308 R should have your debit-card hand twitching?

The answers: yes and yes. In fact, this could be the epitome of a lukewarm hatch: its firmer anti-roll bars don't make the ride so harsh that it's a pain to bumble about in, and there's enough performance to feel brisk. The steering is fast and light, but toggling Sport mode adds more weight, along with usefully sharper throttle response and a very synthetic backing track that mimics a gruff V6. The gearshift is positive and enjoyable; the brakes, average. Unlike fast Golfs, it doesn't get better the faster you drive - it just understeers.

It's better to punt along than a normal 308, but it's not a true drivers' car. Peugeot execs grin that car is coming, with "more power, more noise, more everything".

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More money too. The GT's £24k price is already pretty meaty, but at least Peugeot has loaded it with plenty of standard kit, including touchscreen nav, climate control, LED lights and heated massaging seats. The only option you might like to consider is the 179bhp, 289lb ft diesel version, which has bags of roll-on grunt, a surprisingly quick-witted 6spd auto and 70mpg.

Both are likeable cars that make rapid, easy progress. They're good grand-touring hatches (as far as that's a thing), and suit the GT badge. But we'll wait for the ‘i' thank you. Apologies, ‘R'.

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