Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Another hot-hatch, another 1.6-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine. It’s fair to say the Peugeot 208 GTi sticks to a tried and tested formula, but that doesn’t mean the delivery is an identikit of its rivals.

GTi engine

In fact Peugeot 208 GTi performance sits somewhere between the tech-laden RenaultSport Clio and the brutal Ford Fiesta ST, completing the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 6.8 seconds and finishing off at 142mph.

The familiar 1.6-litre engine produces 197bhp and 275Nm – the latter figure available from only 1,700rpm. This makes for flexible real-world performance, and from the off the GTi feels eager and responsive with little in the way of turbo lag. The result is that no matter which one of the six gears you are in, overtaking is both quick and safe.

Unlike its Ford and Renault rivals, the Peugeot is all natural in the sound department too, using no such trickery as sound symposers to channel the engine note into the cabin, making do with a traditional sports exhaust instead.

GTi 30th powerplant

With 205bhp (there’s that number again) and 300Nm of torque, again from just 1,700rpm, the 30th anniversary edition is marginally power powerful than the standard GTi, resulting in a 143mph top speed and a sprint from standstill to 62mph in 6.5 seconds.

The same engine is shared with the larger 308 GT while the six-speed manual ‘box is borrowed from the RCZ R coupe.

The original 205 GTi was well known for its lively, and sometimes lethal, handling traits but times have changed and the Peugeot 208 GTi is a much more widely accessible product than its legendary ancestor. Gone is the throttle adjustment and rear end movement on the limit in the standard GTi, although it is present on the 30th edition, replaced by resolutely neutral behaviour throughout your chosen manoeuvre.

Enthusiasts will lament this lack of adjustability, but in reality it makes the Peugeot a far more rounded package, and one that flatters every driver that gets behind the wheel – regardless of ability. There’s little in the way of understeer, and pitching the 208 GTi hard into a bend simply results in it tracking faithfully round without too much drama.

With its Torsen differential reducing wheelspin on the ‘inside’ wheel of a corner, traction is much improved, particularly in slower corners, allowing you to get back on the power sooner.

Initially there’s a degree of body roll, especially over the front axle, but it lasts only momentarily as the car’s 1,160kg kerb weight (90kg lighter than the 207 GTi) transfers with the direction change. It’s just enough to inform you of what’s happening at the front-end though, and the 208 GTi always feels composed, controlled and agile through corners.

Underneath the suspension is 20 percent stiffer and the track 10mm wider at the front and 20mm wider at the rear compared to a regular 208; it’s wider again by 10mm on the 30th, as well as being 10mm lower overall. Thankfully the changes haven’t compromised comfort though, and despite the car’s considerable ability it’s not just a fast one-trick pony.

Found in other 208s, the small steering wheel is also carried over to the GTi, and makes more sense here. However despite the increased weighting across the rack, the response around the dead ahead is slightly numb before it quickly sharpens up, meaning many will have to wind off their initial lock when attacking a corner. It’s a small fly in an otherwise near-perfect ointment for the Peugeot 208 GTi.