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Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
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PROS

  • Subtle styling
  • Engine flexibility
  • Brakes and differential on GTi 270, interior quality

CONS

  • Subtle styling
  • Divisive Coupe Franche paint
  • Long-throw manual gearbox
  • Financially pointless GTi 250

Verdict

Look back through the annals of hot hatch history and you’ll find Peugeot established itself as a serious player from the earliest chapters. Since then its efforts have failed to hit the exacting marks set by its competitors. It’s taken some time, but the release of this car suggests the French firm could just be back to take top honours.

Read our Peugeot 308 GTi review to find out if it has what it takes to upset the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Renaultsport Megane and SEAT Leon Cupra applecart.

 

Two versions

All Peugeot 308 GTis come with five doors – as is the fashion for hot hatches these days – but there is a choice of power outputs, using the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. First you have the 308 GTi 250, with 248bhp and crowning the range is the GTi 270 with 267bhp.

That engine, regardless of tune, has evolved from the excellent example found in the Peugeot RCZ R and has been precisely engineered by the team at Peugeot Sport. That allows the near 1,200kg 308 GTi to accelerate from 0-62mph in six seconds (6.2 seconds for the GTi 250), while the 330Nm of torque available from 1,900rpm in both, makes in-gear acceleration incredibly flexible.

The GTi 270 is the clear driver’s car though, thanks to the addition of a Torsen limited-slip differential, bucket seats, four-piston Alcon brake callipers, larger 380mm discs plus 19-inch rims that are 2.3kg lighter per corner than the GTi 250’s 18-inchers. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres complete the package.

 

Fun to drive

The chassis has been extensively developed by Peugeot Sport and its talented engineers, so the 308 GTi gains stiffer springs, recalibrated dampers, increased camber angles, reinforced wishbones and uprated anti-roll bars. Combined with the Torsen limited-slip differential of the GTi 270, the 308 GTi demonstrates ample grip and impressive balance.

On the road you’ll rarely experience any intervention from the electronic stability control, though should you venture onto a race circuit there is the option to turn it off completely.

But it’s on the road the car makes the most sense, and while it’ll tear between turns with vigour, it’ll cosset occupants on motorway jaunts too – even the 19-inch wheels don’t seem to upset the basic ride quality. It’s quiet too, as long as you don’t press the Sport button, which increases the volume and alters the tone of the synthesised engine note entering the cabin.

 

Practical and quality interior

When the standard 308 hatchback was launched back in 2014, it showcased a new level of cabin quality and neatness of design for the French firm. And so it is here with the 308 GTi which borrows the main componentry of the standard car but dresses it up with some sporty GTi touches. Choose the GTi 270 and you’ll benefit from the excellent bucket seats too.

There may not be masses of room on the rear bench but behind lies a 470-litre boot that is one of the largest in the class. Plenty of other storage options – centre console cubby and generously proportioned door pockets – abound too, although the glovebox on right-hand drive versions is pitifully small.

 

Distinctive paint options

The 308 GTi is well-equipped as standard and there are few ways to really personalise your car. However, there are six paint colours to choose from and the firm’s radical Coupe Franche treatment which sees the front half of the car painted Ultimate Red and the rear finished in pearlescent Nera Black.

It’ll be down to your personal taste whether it’s a box worth ticking. Our opinion is the subtle styling of the GTi, with its dual exhaust pipes, 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels, bespoke front and rear bumpers, diffuser and side sills, suits more restrained shades.

It’s clearly a great car the Peugeot 308 GTi, read on to find out if it’s worthy of beating its main rivals.

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