Peugeot Showcases 208 GTi Ahead of Paris Debut

Hot Hatch

The Lion marque gets ready to take on the Renaultsport Clio and Abarth 500 with hot new hatchback.

You might associated the letters G-T-I with Volkswagen, but they arguably belong as much to Peugeot. Back in the 80s, the French carmaker made a name for itself with the 205 GTi, and is now reviving its spirit with the new 208 GTi. Previewed in concept form in Geneva last March, Peugeot has now released the 208 GTi in production guise before its official debut at the Paris show later this month. The new 208 GTi is based on the recently released three-door 208 hatchback, but with a few vital changes.

It sits lower and wider on its rolling stock, with a tighter suspension mounted to 17-inch alloys with low-profile performance rubber and enlarged brakes. But as with most performance-oriented vehicles, the best part sits under the hood: a 1.6-liter turbo four with 197 horsepower (a figure that should sound familiar from the Renaultsport Clio which the new GTi will be going up against) and 203 lb-ft of torque. It's the same engine you'll find in the Peugeot RCZ and Citroen DS3, but mated to a six-speed manual in the GTi is said to be good for a 0-60 time of less than seven seconds.

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That's partially enabled by a low 1,160kg curb weight that makes it lighter than the last 207 GTi (which wasn't nearly as focused as the new one) and the Clio RS. A more aggressive body kit, LED daytime running lights and red and chrome trim help distinguish this from your average, work-a-day 208, with a sportier-looking interior completing the aggressive look of Peugeot's new hot hatch.