You will find it in front of hip clubs, on the promenades of lively Rivieras and in the shopping streets of today’s metropolises. The Peugeot 208 GTi is the French chameur, the shy schoolboy who ends up getting women – literally.
So where better to think of the Hot Hatch, if not to France, more precisely to the Côte d ‘Azur, because this is exactly where we were allowed to chase and kick it through the hinterland.
No overloaded center console, controls on the steering wheel and dashboard reduced to the bare essentials. Driving modes – unnecessary. The hand embraces the stylish aluminum gear knob, which accurately slides step by step up to the sixth within the gearshift plate. If you expect excessive hardness or extreme effort, you will hardly find it in the B segment, especially not with the great-grandson of the legendary 205 GTi, because although it proudly wears the GTi origin on its chest, it wants to be the healthy remedy : the elegant sneaker that can be found in every club and is not too fine for the sprint to the bus that is just leaving. The chassis really swallows every, but absolutely every bump – what is meant is the excellent work that the dampers do. In contrast to other vehicles in this category, the longer suspension travel absorbs all bumps without the occupants suspecting a herniated disc. At the same time, however, the shock absorbers and stabilizers were set much harder than the standard model. The reason for this is the exact coordination of country and city trips compared to the setups that are on the Nordschleife u. arise – “optimized for roads”.
According to Peugeot, the 208 GTi should have a sporty character, which, on the other hand, is not as dominant as its competitors.
Even the steering was pleasantly direct, so that the work in the numerous hairpin bends on the Route Napoleon did not require a visit to the masseur. But how does it go at the limit, where the tires squeal, long for grip and the ESP is almost a hindrance?
Controllable. Regardless of whether it is a Ford Fiesta ST or Clio IV RS 200 EDC – the Peugeot 208 GTi not only mimics the laid-back gentleman, but also knows how to behave and adopt a posture. On a section of the Alpine road that was closed for three hours, where you should avoid taking off as much as possible despite the absence of guardrails, in the third we whizzed at 140 km / h (Vmax 230 km / h) like a weasel over the asphalt that had similar twisting like a large intestine slashed through wooded nature. The small rolling surface of the tires of 205/45 R17 front and rear facilitated the rapid curve fun. Less oversteer than a slight rear end – an exciting middle thing that always maintains the vehicle’s balance and hits the limited-slip differential on the front axle. In view of the short wheelbase of 2.54 m and a length of just 3.96 m, this behavior more than appeals to me! Even a newcomer to a driver’s license would easily cope with the 200 hp (available at 5,800 rpm) of the 1.6 l four-cylinder with twin-scroll charging, but should then leave the ESP activated, after all, the 1160 kg empty weight can be incredibly fast set in motion.
It only takes three gears on the country road – one too many for us, because the second gear has an extreme disadvantage: it is simply too short. Braking in front of the curve, my subconscious desperately needs to stay in third gear, after all I need strength again to get out of the curve. Just stupid that a downshift ends in the rattling limiter, so stay in the third. Another point, which is mainly related to the unstoppable downsizing and the compact dimensions in the engine compartment, is the noticeable turbo lag below 3,000 rpm, the fact that the actually quite decent torque of 275 Nm already 1,300 rpm does not help much should be applied beforehand.
With 6.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km / h there is not even enough time to pull the mascara out of the handbag, but why does the 208 GTi want to be the better choice for women – it should be said that the vehicle does not look directly womanly , unlike the Peugeot XY, which clearly has the female gender as its target group?
On the one hand for the reasons mentioned above, on the other hand a look at the formal language provides information. Round elements such as the headlights or soft edges shape the shape. The rather high shoulder line drops halfway down the door and mills itself back to the rear wheel arch like a half-parabola. The result is a clear, sleek contour that symbolizes the schizophrenic self of the 208 GTi: sporty and gentle.
In the interior, both French, Renault Clio 4 RS as well as the 208 GTi, don’t give each other anything – here customers are advertised with piano lacquer-coated plastic parts and red decorative stitching. Everyone clearly has their advantages here, the strengths of the Peugeot are clearly the technical refinements of the easy-to-use multimedia system via a 7 inch touchscreen (standard) or the elegant framing of the instruments with an LED ring. Also to be mentioned are the beautifully recessed handle bars in the front and rear of the vehicle and the small oval steering wheel, which even I really liked and people with smaller hands anyway!
On the other hand, the general workmanship of the interior at Renault is simply better and the sports seats also look good in the inner-French duel with the brand with the diamond: much more lateral support and a full leather cover.
Without wanting to make a complete comparison in the B segment, I have to admit that the Peugeot 208 GTi has advanced to become a muscle man in XS format with modest reluctance. We are enthusiastic and confirm the racing flea touring character. Even the average fuel consumption on the country road with brisk driving style is absolutely within reasonable limits at 12.1 l / 100 km. In normal driving mode, I would also assume that the 5.9 l per 100 km are quite feasible – I was able to take the 208 GTi to the beach in gentle gear and was close on the heels of this value – only a difference of 0.4 l indicated the display.
The info display between the rev counter and the speedometer should also be emphasized, which always outputs the speed digitally centered and is accompanied by a trip kilometer counting as well as the total mileage counter. If a route is set in the navigation system, departures or route information are always automatically displayed on the info display shortly before the respective departure – no annoying setting finding. Just go ahead and have fun! This is also possible with four people, because the 4-seater design means that it is relatively comfortable even in the rear, provided the driver does not reach a length of 1.90 m.
Since the 208 GTi is based on the Allure equipment package, you can look forward to parking sensors, heated seats, electric exterior mirrors, cruise control, 2-zone automatic air conditioning and the large touchscreen.
In 2013 a total of 10,000 units of the 208 GTi are to be sold, in 2014 8,000 – you don’t lean far out the window! Renault itself admits that the European market is more of an image market than a volume market these days. By the way, in 2012 25,000 Peugeot 208s were registered!
I was traveling with Nicole, who is just as enthusiastic about the charming French as I am. You can find her report worth reading here. Peter from Radical-Mag was also in the south of France and was even able to compare the 205 GTi with the new litter, plus there is a great video from V12media. There are more reports from Moritz.
You can find more pictures in our gallery: