High hopes ignited for this Peugeot 308 GTi when Luffy drove the 250 version at Winton two years ago. He bailed from the car extolling praise with words like “great” and labelled it the day’s “surprise”.
This track review was carried out in conjunction with MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks 2018
They grew after when, by witchcraft, voodoo, or some magic for this 270 variant, Peugeot squeezed another 16kW from its turbocharged 1.6 litres. That means it’s good for 125kW per litre, a figure 1kW shy of a Ferrari 488 GTB twin turbo 3.9-litre V8’s own specific output.
Then there’s its chassis. It wields fearsome two-piece brakes, fat 235mm Michelins on 19-inch wheels, and a strengthened six-speed manual gearbox with a Torsen LSD nestled within. Oh, and it all weighs just 1205kg.
Adding to its hype, the real draw for the 270 is in the fact Peugeot recently shaved a fair chunk off its price. At $45,990, it’s four grand cheaper than before and would be only $1K more expensive than the 250 if that variant hadn’t been axed in favour of a more streamlined 308 line-up.
Somehow, though, all these things didn’t help it mow the competition as expected. Yes, it’s crushed all other front-drivers on track, bar one special Honda, as well as a couple of all-wheel drive weapons. And as you can clearly see in the photography it works its contact patches like a ballerina, lifting one to press on another, to hammer its way to the fourth highest average cornering speed of 81.07km/h.
But the allure starts to fade in braking zones. Despite massive 380mm front discs slicing four-piston calipers, its stopping distance of 34.99mm ends lineball with the Subie WRX STI. That’s by no means bad, but can be seen as average considering the Pug’s weight advantage.
MOTOR comparison: 308 GTi 270 v Megane RS275
Nor could it muster any decent pace along the drag strip, trailing the less powerful Golf GTI Original from the line and only catching it by the strip’s end. Then there’s the experience of actually driving it. It’s no doubt effective, as all judges unanimously agreed it can cut a lap time without even peeking at the Driftbox.
But so many different things erk different people. If it’s not the control weightings or brake feel, it was either its iffy ergonomics or dodgy dash design – why, Peugeot, does the rev dial spin anti-clockwise? And that’s reflected in its rather average ranking.
It’s all a shame, because the 308 shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s solidly built, hugely fast, and expertly engineered. We’d happily tell someone to consider it over a Golf GTI if they’re looking for something different. But as it turns out, it couldn’t manage the performance it wanted here. Let’s hope that doesn’t dampen Peugeot’s hopes in the future.
Don't break the bank to break the ton with Bang For Your Bucks 2018
Peugeot 308 GTi 270 BFYB 2018 Results - 7th place
0-100km/h: 6.50sec (10th)
0-400m: 14.41sec @ 166.67km/h (9th)
Lap Time: 1:38.20sec (4th)
Bang Index: 135.9
Bucks Index: 109.2
BFYB Index: 123.9
Warren Luff - 10th
“The 308 GTi is really fast on the limit. It does everything so well – it’s so positive in the front-end and it has a lot of grip. The engine’s torquey and has great driveability; there are so many things that are good with it. But then there’s so many things that are very annoying. With my seating and steering-wheel position I can’t see about 80 per cent of the dash. But its on-track performance is second to none, in that regard it’s a class act.”
David Morley - 9th
“Ergonomics aside, the 308 is a towering performer”
Dylan Campbell - 11th
“World’s most underrated hot hatch – if you can get used to the controls”
Scott Newman - 9th
“Does the numbers, but control weights are all a bit off”
Louis Cordony - 12th
“I wanted to love it. The chassis is clearly capable, but it failed to truly talk to me”
2018 PEUGEOT 308 GTI 270
BODY: 5-door, 5-seat hatch
ENGINE: 1598cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
BORE/STROKE: 77.0mm x 85.8mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 9.2:1
POWER: 200kW @ 6000rpm
TORQUE: 330Nm @ 1900-5500rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
SUSPENSION: struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar (f); torsion beam, coil springs, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 380mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 268mm solid discs, single-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 19.0 x 9.0-inch (f/r)
TYRES: Michelin Pilot Super Sport; 235/35 R19 (f/r)
Bang For Your Bucks 2018
The Contenders, Judges & Criteria
15 of the hottest new fast cars under $100K roll up to take on our famous formula. Which will be number 1?