New GTi sleek, fast and green

Bobby Cheetham

HOT hatches have a special place in true petrolheads’ “must have” list of desirable cars to own. And one of those is the new Peugeot 208 GTi.

While not a big player in the hot hatch segment, the 208 GTi is a niche car for legions of Peugeot fans.

The car is aimed at enthusiasts with an appetite for style, individuality and performance, but also recognises the need for efficient, economical and eco-responsible motoring.

But blow the bunny huggers, the 208 GTi, is a car that really gets the blood pumping through the arteries!

Nestling under the sleek, sexy bonnet is a stable of eager horses ready to unleash their magic power on the road.

The launch of the 208 GTi marks a return to the 205 GTI’s core values, with a significant reduction in weight, combined with a substantial hike in power, thanks to its 147kW high-pressure turbocharged engine.

The result is the most dynamic subcompact GTi hatchback Peugeot has ever created.

It all starts under the GTi’s profiled bonnet, where a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, equipped with a high-pressure turbocharger, delivers generous lashings of urge and shove.

Rated maximum power is 147kW at 5800rpm, combined with 275Nm of torque, available from just 1700rpm.

A six-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission choice.

The all-aluminium engine features four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing for both the inlet and exhaust valves, and electronically controlled direct fuel injection to ensure that its generous output is matched to optimal efficiency.

This is evident by its CO2emissions rating of just 139g/km, and a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 5.9 litres/100km.

However, it’s the performance potential of the 208 GTi that will be of greatest interest here, and the newcomer doesn’t disappoint.

With a kerb mass of only 1160kg, the feisty hatchback achieves a power-to-weight ratio of 127kW/ton, which accounts for its rapid straight-line dynamics.

The car accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds, while the 1000m standing start is dispatched in 26.9 seconds.

The car’s top speed potential is 230km/h.

Even more telling are the in-gear tractability statistics. In fifth gear, the Peugeot will dash from 80 to 120km/h in just 6.8 seconds, while the same test in sixth gear still only requires 8.4 seconds – testimony to the turbo engine’s low-down response and overall tractability,

This is ideal for overtaking slow moving cars on the freeway.

Inside there’s plenty to keep most drivers happy.

The predominant interior hues are black and red, with the dark-finished door pillars and roof lining creating a smart and focused ambience.

The black surfaces vary in texture: from the soft-touch, red-accented dashboard cladding to the glossy lacquer of the mouldings and surrounds, and the perforated leather of the steering wheel.

The gloss-black dashboard finishes and the door handles feature a fading black-to-red effect, while the dials in the instrument binnacle gain red surrounds. The high-backed seats are upholstered in a combination of leather with Caro cloth inserts, with red accents and red stitching.

Even the seatbelts feature a red stripe on a black background, while the thick black overcarpets are fitted with a bright red beading.

The 208 GTi runs on distinctive “Carbone” 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 205/45 R17 performance tyres. The broad-spoked wheel design allows a clear view of the front and rear brake callipers, finished in bright red.

All of the above make the 208 GTi a very enjoyable car to drive.

The suspension is a bit hard but that’s to be expected in a hot hatch.

If a hot hatch is what you are after and you don’t want to be one of the many Polo GTi drivers, then this is a car worth investigating!

The GTi is priced at R259900 and is supported by the Peugeot Premium Plan, which includes a three-year/100000km warranty, and a five-year/60000km maintenance plan.

The premium plan also includes a three-year/100000km roadside assistance package.

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