Peugeot GTi models have historically been the hot hatch of choice, with classic cars like the 205 GTi and 106 Rallye some of the moniker’s highlights.
But only one car in the current line-up comes with a GTi upgrade, and that’s the large 308 hatchback – which is surprisingly understated in how it looks.
By taking the practical 308, Peugeot Sport hopes that injecting a bit more power and a balanced chassis setup will give some of the market’s top hot hatches a run for their money.
We get behind the wheel of the 308 GTi and see whether it can not only live up to its current rivals, but past GTi models as well.
Under the bonnet of this GTi is a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that develops 258bhp and 340Nm of torque – which is paired to a rather slack six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. With that setup, the 308 GTi can go from 0-60mph in just 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 155mph.
The gearbox can feel quite slack at times due to a longer shift, but the change is light to allow you to switch up or down easily. The engine itself also feels really balanced, providing torque through the mid-range – but when you put your foot down, it does shoot away from standstill impressively.
Ride & Handling
Despite the suspension being quite firm, the 308 GTi copes surprisingly well over more rutted road surfaces and potholes thanks to hydraulic dampers and bespoke springs that soften out the tarmac. The steering also provides the driver with plenty of feedback, too, as when you attack a series of corners with vigour, you’ll find the 308 gives you a great idea of what the wheels are doing.
With the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres fitted to the 19-inch alloys, you’ll also get plenty of grip in most conditions – giving you the confidence to hound it down a twisty A-road. Team that with the punchy power delivery and you’ve got a car that can tackle most sections of road with ease.See Available 308 Deals
Interior & Equipment
As the GTi is based on a practical hatchback, it comes with plenty of passenger and storage space throughout the cabin. The driver-side of the cabin also comes with the stylish iCockpit layout, so drivers get the smaller steering wheel, compact dials and easy-to-navigate touchscreen display.
The boot space is well-sized at 470 litres – more than enough for a family’s worth of bags – but if you do need extra room, you can fold the split rear seats down to access 1,309 litres of storage.
With specification based on the top-spec version of the 308, the GT trim, the GTi comes with plenty of features as standard. That means it comes with a 9.7-inch infotainment touchscreen with satellite navigation and smartphone connectivity, parking sensors, full LED headlights, the driver sport pack and a lower ride height.
Upgraded to the GTi, the 308 comes with Peugeot Sport bucket seats in alcantara and leather with massaging function, a perforated leather steering wheel, large twin exhausts, gloss black detailing, 19-inch dual-tone alloys, sportier bumpers and a Torsen limited slip differential. Larger sports brakes and additional red detailing is also added.
The 308 GTi costs from £29,564, which compared to similar hot hatchbacks is what you would expect to pay – although many of its closest market rivals have been released later.
With the turbo petrol on-board, the GTi can return an impressive 43.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 148g/km.
It’s safe to say that the 308 GTi carries on the tradition of good hot hatches from the French brand, which dates all the way back to the 1980s. Here, the GTi looks rather stylish and suits the sporty upgrade, while the interior hasn’t lost any practicality compared to its more pedestrian and less powerful siblings. Other hot hatches are more up to date than this and are a bit wackier to look at as well – but there’s nothing wrong with the Peugeot’s slightly understated looks. The GTi also drives as you want a hot hatch to, as the steering offers plenty of feedback and you can trash it along a country road thanks to the punchy turbo petrol under the bonnet.