Peugeot 208 GTI 2016 Review - Since Peugeot launched its famous 205 GTi in 1984, it’s been going through the dreaded ‘second album phase’ with fan boys constantly asking the question – will anything ever instil the same hot hatch panache as the beloved 205? Well, the Peugeot 208 GTi has been received incredibly well since its launch in 2012 – so well that Peugeot launched a limited run of 30th Anniversary special edition models – which later went on to inspire a new range-topping model in the standard range, which is this, the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport. So as well as getting the standard exterior GTi treatment with a larger rear spoiler and chequered-grille – this also gets 18-inch matt black alloys, red Brembo brake callipers at the front and a host of performance-inspired changes, which we will explore in a few minutes. This Peugeot Sport model also gets appropriate badging and some additional red highlights inside as well with these red carpet mats – very snazzy – and the red stitching you find in the standard GTi is now added to these figure-hugging Alcantara sports seats, which might I add are brilliant, definitely one for the office chair wish list. Now as this interior is very similar to the standard 208, let alone the 208 GTi, it offers a very plush, up-market finish, without going overboard with toggles and switches, thanks to Peugeot’s de-cluttering design. And I think this is one of the most solid hot hatch interiors actually.
Kit wise you get DAB radio, parking sensors, sat-nav and air-con – plus you get the likes of this leather-wrapped gearstick and steering wheel. And this steering wheel, again carried over from the standard 208, remains the rather small elephant in the room. I think it definitely suits the GTi more than the standard model, but many will still find that it can block the speedometer, depending on your height of course. Oh yes, due to the GTi only being available in a three door, you get these heavy, wide-opening doors, worth noting if you have a cramped driveway. Now looking into the back seats you may not expect there to be much space, but – you will be pleasantly surprised when you’re back here. Leg room is par for the course, but head room is great… bit of an optical illusion really. Boot space is manageable at just under 300 litres, so small shopping bags and rucksacks shouldn’t be an issue. So, on paper, what is different about this range-topping model? Well, it has wider front and rear tracks, a 10mm lowered ride, special shock absorbers and springs and it even has a Torsen Differential – helping it appropriately distribute torque to either of the front wheels.
But what does all this mean? Well, you get tons of grip that allows you to grapple onto an apex and slingshot your way out of a bend, the steering is weightier and more responsive and the ride is firm enough to keep the car planted, but not so much that it shudders over bumps – it’s actually quite comfortable. It does have its limits and niggles of course, like its torque steer under heavy acceleration – the small steering wheel doesn’t help here – and it can break loose when pushed hard, especially in the wet. But once you get used to how the car behaves, you learn from it and find it’s easily manageable. Of course the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST doesn’t have this problem. There’s no denying the GTi’s composure though. And the Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres really fill you with confidence when you squeeze the brake pedal, very important when gunning it on a B-road. This six-speed manual is quick and snappy as well. Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbo petrol producing 205bhp and 300Nm of torque, getting it from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.
It comes accompanied with a decent rumbling soundtrack as well. And you don’t have to work this engine very hard at all to get tasty results – and it’s got that great mid-range punch too. One of the best attributes of the GTi though is arguably one of its worst ones as well. Cruise around town and its sensible styling and comfortable ride make it feel like a normal supermini – great news for some, but not necessarily for hard core hot hatch fans. You end up seemingly paying a price for that subtle hot hatch package as well, with GTi prices starting from around £19,500 – that’s about the same price as a top-of-the-range Fiesta ST. And you’ll pay around £22,000 for this Peugeot Sport one. Fuel economy is pretty good though, as you should get an average return of around 40mpg and up – depending on how much you hoon it. The Fiesta ST may be the better track day option, but the 208 GTi can still hold its own on a twisty road – and it will certainly go down in the history books as a great, competent hot hatch. And if you are a younger driver that wants to pitch a car to your parents and hide its beast lying beneath the surface – then this might be right up your street. Thanks for read Peugeot 208 GTI 2016 Review.