Peugeot 308 GTi -

hot hatch comfort

Peugeot 308 GTi, front, action
Peugeot 308 GTI, front action
Peugeot 308 GTI, front static
Peugeot 308 GTi, front, static
Peugeot 308 GTI, side action
Peugeot 308 GTi, rear, static
Peugeot 308 GTi, interior
Peugeot 308 GTi, boot

AFTER the advent of the RCZ-R coupe, it was never going to be long before Peugeot slotted the same high power engine into its 308 hatch.

The 308 GTi is available with 250 or 270bhp from the same 1.6 turbo, and although that doesn't sound like much of a difference, the 270 adds many other changes to make it even more focussed and fun.

Performance is electrifying, with huge grunt from 2,000 revs upwards. The red line is fairly low, but there's so much urge lower down the rev range that you will rarely if ever get to it.

Overtaking is a dream come true for an enthusiast like me - even on today's fairly crowded roads - and the acceleration is so quick that you have to keep an eye on your speed all the time to avoid the heavy hand of the law.

While all this is marvellous, its the car's handling and road holding that are truly amazing. On a handling course at the launch, the car felt as quick as a racing saloon, with loads of steering feel, stupendous brakes and the most amazing level of grip. I couldn't get enough of it.

On the road, that handling is just as evident, but here, the ride is what impresses most. The 270 has 'sprayed-on' Michelin Pilot tyres and heavily revised sporting suspension, but even so, it remains comfortable over most surfaces. That is an amazing achievement and a testimony to the designers art.

The six speed gearbox has a decent change, the clutch is light and easy, and the heavily up-rated brakes - even from the 250 - are brilliant.

I am still not overly fond of the 308's small steering wheel, or the fact that the instruments sit above it and the tacho sweeps in the wrong direction.

But these are niggles that actually do not spoil an excellent car.

Inside you'll find a touchscreen for sat nav, climate and audio, bluetooth, aux in, leather sports seats, cruise, reversing camera, parking sensors and keyless entry and starting.

FAST FACTS

Price: £28,155

Mechanical: 267bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 6 seconds

Combined MPG: 47

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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