Peugeot 208 GTI Approved for Production


French marque aims to regain lost territory with new hot hatch.

Think of Peugeots and you'll likely conjure up images of a budget hatchback roaming the streets of Paris and other European locales. But parent company PSA is keen to change that image, and the biggest step in that direction has been taken with the announcement that it is putting the 208 GTI into production. The GTI concept debuted at the Geneva Motor Show this past March, but will reportedly bow in production form at the Paris show this September.

Based on the latest 208 hatchback, the GTI is tipped to pack the 1.6-liter turbo four co-developed by PSA and BMW that's already powering the Citroen DS3 and a range of Minis. Only in the GTI, it's expected to come in two states of tune: 154 horsepower and 204. The more powerful version, tentatively dubbed the 208 GTI Racing, could bring the 0-60 time down below the seven-second mark. Both specs, however, will offer bolder, more aggressive styling and a more engaging, driver-focused cockpit. Don't expect it to go directly after Renaultsport's Clio, but rather take a more user-friendly approach.

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If you're thinking that GTI is nameplate that belongs firmly to Volkswagen, though, think again: Peugeot has been using those letters for years, epitomized by the 205 GTI of the late 80s. The new 208 GTI stands to reclaim that territory for the Lion marque, but since Peugeot doesn't market in North American altogether, don't expect to see it Stateside.