ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: PEUGEOT 308 GT 200
Marking Peugeot’s bi-centenary the 308 GT 200 packs quite a punch, but as editor DAVID HOOPER reports, it’s also a practical every day car.
WHEN it comes to hot hatches, Peugeot has a long and distinguished history and holds claim to some modern classics, like the 206 GTi and 306 GTI, as well as the 309 GTI of the late 80s and early 1990s.
Today, a quick version of the 207 wears a Sport, rather than GT badge, as does the 407 Coupe, with only a handful of RCZ models carrying the performance torch for Peugeot.
The GT label returns to the mainstream range in this rather special 308 model, created to celebrate the company’s 200th anniversary, hence the 200bhp.
If you read the statistics, you may be surprised to learn that this impressive amount of power is derived from a mere 1.6-litre engine, which is another example of the latest small capacity, high output units that are becoming more and more prevalent in new models, providing high fuel efficiency and low C02 figures (159g/km), combined with strong performance – 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds.
The 308 GT shares this engine with the RCZ, with both models featuring a six-speed gearbox as standard, although an auto is an option, as is a diesel engine.
I think the 308 lends itself to the “sports treatment” very well, and is an impressive and eye-catching car which during my time at its wheel, seemed to turn more than a few heads.
At the front of the car there’s a carbon-style insert under the front bumper’s lower skirt, while at the back, there’s a black diffuser, from which twin chrome exhaust pipes protrude. The whole “look” is finished off with lowered suspension, some smart 18in alloy wheels and “GT” badging.
Open the door and slip into the comfortable, half-leather sports seats, and the 308 already has a good starting point from which to impress. The design of the instrument cluster and dashboard layout is probably the nicest in its class, with clear, easy to read dials surround by chrome trimmings.
The GT models also get aluminium pedals, footrest and gear lever knob, leather sports steering wheel and a lacquered black fascia panel which contrasted nicely with the white exterior paint of my test car, although buyers have the choice of another five colours.
Safety equipment is plentiful, with the standard kit list featuring ABS, brake assist and brake force distribution, and if things go horribly wrong, there are six smart airbags.
Electric windows and dual zone climate control are included, as are front fogs, cruise control with a speed limiter and front fog lights. The headlamps and wipers are automatic, while a Bluetooth hands-free telephone kit and rear parking sensors and the half leather upholstery are on the options list.
It’s a great car to drive, too, combining all the best attributes of a hot hatch. Easy to drive around town, it is as practical as any of the lesser models, but with the 200bhp on tap, it’s more than quick enough to put a broad grin on the face of most drivers who take it out for a blast around their favourite country roads at the weekend.
It is equally adept at a long motorway trip, which I also used the car for. My trip south took far longer than I expected it to thanks to my choice of what I thought would be fun roads, which turned out to be clogged with lorries and other slow traffic which proved virtually impossible to pass. The car was very comfortable on the return trip back up the A1, after I decided to opt for slightly less fun in return for a reasonable journey time.
For me, the 308 GT 200 ticks most of the boxes. It’s not a hard core hot hatch, but doesn’t pretend to be. What it does, it does very well and combines performance and practicality beautifully.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Peugeot 308 GT THP 200.
PEUGEOT 308 GT RANGE: From Urban 1.4 VTi 5dr (£15,245) GT HDi 163 FAP Auto 5dr (£24,195).
ENGINE: 1598cc, 200bhp four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 159g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 140mph. 0-62mph in 7.7 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 30.2mpg.
Fuel tank: 60 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 22.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.