LEAF THROUGH the ‘Hot Source’ data section in the back the latest edition of MOTOR and the more eagle-eyed of you may well notice a quiet omission. Peugeot has vanished.
With the demise of the 308 GTi, it offers no dedicated performance cars in this market. Thankfully, it’s not a permanent position and more of a sabbatical, thanks to the announcement of the Peugeot Sport Engineered line, due to be rolled out across every model in the Peugeot range.
The company has already put a toe in the water with the potent 265kW/520Nm Euro-market Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered sedans and wagons, which feature a 147kW 1.6-litre turbo up front augmented by an 11.5kWh lithium-ion battery and twin electric motors of 81kW on the front axle and 83kW at the rear. All-wheel drive grip endows this model with a punchy 5.2sec 0-100km/h capability.
Kate Gillis, general manager of Peugeot Citroën Australia, has previously gone on record supporting the launch of the hot 508 in Australia. “I can say that study has been favourable in supporting the local introduction of the 508 Sport Engineered,” she stated.
“Groupe PSA are also keen to see it in a market that’s all for performance.”
She may well have to consider petitioning for other Peugeot Sport Engineered products. In an interview with UK title Auto Express, outgoing Peugeot CEO Jean-Phillipe Imparato outlined plans to revitalise Peugeot’s enthusiast offerings.
“With each and every car, starting with 508, I’m aiming to put as an umbrella a performance/sporting version of the car. We will launch at the beginning of 2021 with the 508 Peugeot Sport engineered to send a message to the market,” he said.
The roll-out of PSE versions is slated to feature one new launch per calendar year, with a hot version to follow the unveil of the next-gen 308 hatch set to be unveiled in March. As reported in MOTOR last month, strict new French carbon dioxide emissions-based taxation rules have forced Peugeot’s arm into electrifying its higher performance models. However, Imparato flatly denies that batteries will act as a drag on Peugeot’s trademark agility and spirit.
“It puts something on top of our range that sends a message to the world that we don’t want the EV transition to be boring – we want to have fun even if we have CO2 below 50 grammes,” he stated.
It’s likely that the forthcoming Peugeot Sport Engineered version of the 308 will utilise a breathed-on version of the plug-in hybrid powertrain seen in the 3008 and 5008 Hybrid4 plug-in SUVs.
In those models, the venerable 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder unit is paired with two electric motors for a system output of 220kW, Peugeot looking for an equivalent power-to-weight figure to the outgoing 200kW 308 GTi.
This announcement will likely be Imparato’s last, with umbrella company Stellantis shuffling the pack and sending the veteran to Alfa Romeo, with former Citroën CEO Linda Jackson taking up the reins at Peugeot.