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Peugeot 308 GTi review: What a sport!

By Roger St Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Can 300,000 performance motoring addicts be wrong? Well, that’s how many of them have bought a Peugeot hot hatch worldwide since the French company launched the near-legendary 205 GTi back in 1983.

That iconic little gem was voted ‘Car of the Decade’ in its day and a pristine example was recently sold at a Bonham's auction for a record £30,900.

In turn, the 309 GTi, the 405 MI16, the 505 GTi, the 306 GTi6 and, more recently, the 208 GTi and the RCZ R have made a major impact in this highly competitive market sector and now along comes the hotshot 308 GTi, developed by the engineering team at Peugeot Sport.

Priced at £28,455 it comes in a choice of six suitably bright colours, the ‘ultimate red’ of our test car being especially attractive.

Sporting large 19-inch carbone wheels, the 308 GTi has a purposeful stance, sitting 11 millimetres closer to the ground than did its predecessor.

The 1.1-litre petrol engine comes in two versions.The 308 GTi 270 we tested sprinted to 62-mph in a rubber-burning 6.0 seconds.

Equipped with a Torsen limited slip differential, it sets a new record for power-to-weight ratio in its segment. A combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 47-mpg is outstanding for a design whose prime priority is performance..

The leather-trimmed interior is beautifully executed, with quality red stitching on the upholstery, dashboard, door panels, gear lever and floor mats, and a profusion of both   interior and exterior courtesy lights.

It’s commendably simple to negotiate your way around all the dials and switches; easy too to set the driving position the way you want it, largely thanks to the generous fore and aft and seat height adjustment.

Shame about the hatch opening though –- you have to go on tiptoes to reach the electric release button. and there’s then there’s no grab handle to help lower it. Also surprisingly absent is a grab handle for the front passenger – rather out of character penny pinching for a Pug.

Flicking through our notes, we can’t find any other demerits. This is a compact little car that punches way above its weight to bring the pleasure back into driving. It handles brilliantly yet offers a comfortable.ride and meets Peugeot’s ‘Motion and Emotion’ credos. You don’t so much sit in it as wear it.

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