Peugeot 308 GTi THP

270

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

YOU can't help it - the frisson of excitement when the legendary motoring initials GTi are attached to a car.

This time it is Peugeot's five-door 308 that bears the hot hatch moniker - and more than does it justice.

There are two versions produced at the company's Sochaux factory in France - a cheaper 250ps model and the 270ps fire-breathing monster I drove.

Push the ignition button and the sparkling work conducted by the French motor manufacturer's engineers at Peugeot Sport is revealed as the GTi hits 60mph from a standing start in a scintillating six seconds on its way to a top speed of 155mph.

The athletic 1.6-litre petrol engine, linked to a slick six-speed manual gearbox, is refreshingly refined while performing at its optimum leaving the driver to concentrate on the superb handling which benefits from a reworked suspension system that leaves the car hugging the ground.

If all that isn't enough for you then press the Sport button in the centre console which sharpens up an already rapier-like throttle response, changes the instrumentation to be backlit in red and pumps extra exhaust noise through the speakers.

Performance figures to die for are nothing without control but have no fear, the car corners as if on rails with jet-fighter reflexes and lots of confidence-inspiring grip.

Similarly you need something that is pretty efficient at bringing you to a halt safely so the 308 GTi gets larger brakes with natty looking red painted Peugeot Sport brake calipers.

The ride is firm on the 19-inch Carbone alloy wheels, but far from uncomfortable making it a viable option for pootling around town.

It is not a massive gas guzzler either as average fuel economy is claimed at 47.1mpg while carbon dioxide emssions are 139g/km.

The exterior has been tweaked so while there is no doubt this is a GTi going places it is not totally in your face.

GTi badges feature on the front wings, the tailgate and a grille which sports a chequered flag design while also boasting red ‘Peugeot' lettering.

There are sports sides skirts while the rear end sees two large exhaust pipes giving more than a hint of the car's hair-on-fire nature.

Climb into the cabin and you are immediately grabbed by the GTi Alcantara bucket seats with red stitching and Peugeot Sport branding.

It is well equipped with dual-zone climate control creating a pleasant atmosphere while you survey the many toys Peugeot provide to play with including sat nav and cruise control with speed limiter.

A 9.7-inch touchscreen is the star of the dash offering access to all the car's main treats.

The fit and finish are excellent thanks to the quality materials used and the care taken screwing everything together.

There is plenty of space for four adults while the boot offers plenty of room for the weekly supermarket shop - with rear seats folding when larger loads need transporting.

FAST FACTS

Peugeot 308 GTi THP 270

Price:£28,455

Mechanical:270ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:155mph

0-62mph:6 seconds

Combined MPG:47.1

Insurance Group:34

C02 emissions:139g/km

Bik rating:24%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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