If you could somehow earn a pound for every time a motoring journalistutters the words Its no 205 GTI in reference to a Peugeot hothatchback, youd have enough for a pretty reasonable example of thehot hatch icon.
You see, like its German counterpart, the Volkswagen Golf GTI
,Peugeots Pininfarina-penned hot hatch has come to define the breed.
Its power output may look a little wimpy by modern standards with only130bhp – even in the range-topping 1.9 GTI – but in terms of moresubjective criteria like steering feel, adjustability, sound and fun,its rarely been bettered. And unfortunately for Peugeot, none of itsrecent GTIs have come within a light year of the 205s talents.
So its with itchy fingers we type of the 208 GTIs impending arrival,set to be unveiled at this months Paris Motor Show.
Peugeot isnt beating about the bush with the new car, and mentionsits historical hero several times. Whether this is merely thesilvery-tongued words of the savvy PR man we wont be sure until wedrive it, but it needs to be better than the last few generations ofGTI.
All should be well under the bonnet, with a 1.6-litre THP 200bhpengine. Peugeot has resisted the temptation to equip it with anew-fangled dual-clutch gearbox too, so youll swap cogs yourselfthrough a six-speed manual transmission. 0-62mph should take under 7seconds, not just thanks to that engine but also a relatively light1160kg body.
Then theres the styling – perhaps not ultimately as attractive as the205, but naturally a whole lot more modern, with some neat details andcarefully-considered curves. Touches such as 17-inch wheels, a widenedtrack, mesh grille, and a 205-style GTI logo on the C-pillar all addvisual drama.
Inside, the cabin is a whole lot more plush than its forebear, withthe same unusual high-set dials and low-mounted steering wheel. Acentral touchscreen livens up the centre of the dashboard andcolour-coded dashboard and seat inserts brighten up the otherwiseblack interior trim.
Available from: Spring 2013
Priced from: To be announced
Peugeot did preview a GTI-style model at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show,and it certainly looked the part – the unique styling and GTI badgeshould win it plenty of fans when it goes on sale next year.
As far as the driving is concerned, well have to wait and see -though the regular 208 has been getting positive reviews across theboard. Whether it lives up to the reputation of the legendary 205 GTIor not – well, youll just have to wait for the inevitable twin testswith its 80s counterpart
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