TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
It’s the cheaper, de-contented little brother of Peugeot’s acclaimed Peugeot 308 GTi 270 hot hatchback, making a little less power, and stripped of some important performance hardware that helps make that car so satisfying.
- The drop in power of around 16kW doesn’t make the 308 GTi 250 feel appreciably slower than the 270 variant. There’s still ample strength and muscularity of its delivery of 184kW/330Nm from the 1.6-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder engine. There is some slight hesitancy at very low revs, but the mid-range surge is impressive and it revs beyond the 6000rpm redline with a deep growl from a speaker-enhanced soundtrack symposer.
- Its cornering capabilities are equally impressive. The brakes are smaller than those fit to the 270 model, but are more than up to the task on the road, there’s plenty of grip and traction is very rarely an issue even without the 270’s limited-slip front differential to handle the generous torque output. It’s a neutral chassis setup, which inspires confidence, with front grip more often than not the first to go at the limit.
- Its sharp yet understated exterior styling and well-specced, minimalist interior will appeal to buyers who want to be different without being too different.
- At $44,990 it’s $5000 cheaper than the 270 version.
- The steering doesn’t inspire the confidence that is on offer from the chassis. Once you’re used to operating Peugeot’s tiny steering wheel it’s well weighted and reasonably accurate, but with lock applied it is difficult to feel how much grip is left in the front tyres. Subsequently, cornering hard requires a little too much guesswork and you can be left taking two or three bites at each bend.
- Wheel can obscure part of the instrument display, depending on the relationship between seat height and steering column chosen by the driver.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD CONSIDER?
The Volkswagen Golf GTI has long been the dominant model in this segment, thanks to its persuasive blend of performance, liveability, cabin quality and value. It’s questionable whether the 308 GTi in either guise is quite enough to topple this status quo. For anyone chasing pure performance and accepting of some day-to-day compromises, take a look at the Renault Sport Megane RS265. It’s a front-drive benchmark.