Fans of hot Peugeot models past rejoice – the new 308 GTi is arriving locally early next year in both 182kW and 200kW versions.
The French brand will mount a two-pronged attack against the Golf GTI with its first small hot-hatch since the delightful 306 GTi passed at the turn of the new millennium.
Pricing may be a hurdle, though, as the current 308 GT petrol variant already costs the same $41,990 as a certain properly hot German rival. Hopefully Peugeot Oz is barracking HQ to trim the price of that model to give the new 308 GTi a chance.
Both the 308 GTi 250 (denoting 250hp or 182kW) and 308 GTi 270 (270hp or 200kW) versions will arrive with the same boosted 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder each developing 330Nm from 1900rpm all the way to 5000rpm.
While that torque figure is 20Nm down on a Golf GTI, the Peugeot’s EMP2 platform means that the 308 is across-the-board lighter than the Volkswagen, and the same is expected comparing the upper-case ‘I’ to lower-case ‘i’ model.
Refreshingly, a six-speed manual will be the only choice for either specification.
Both GTi variants sit 11mm lower than a standard 308 with wider front and rear track and suspension tuned by Peugeot Sport. Steering and throttle response can be altered by pressing a Sport button along with a separate button to switch the stability control to either a sports mode or fully off.
The entry GTi will get 225/45 R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 3 rubber and accelerate to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds.
The top GTi drops that time by two-tenths, while tyres shift to a 235/35 R19 Michelin Super Sport variety with beefy 380mm ventilated front discs behind them, and a Torsen mechanical limited slip differential behind again.
So closely does the above GTi 270 specification mirror a Golf GTI Performance, it even gets sportier seats with Alcantara cladding to match its foe.
Peugeot Australia managing director John Startari commented: “The launch of the 308 GTi signals Peugeot is back and we are back doing what we do best; offering fun, efficient, enjoyable, comfortable and, in the case of 308 GTi, thoroughly engaging performance vehicles.”
We just hope that the pricing starts on the right side of $45K and doesn’t push much beyond $50K when the twin-attack 308 GTi models arrive in the first quarter of 2016.