A send-off is always a bittersweet moment. It can be a time to pause and reflect – or, in the case of some, it’s an excuse for a party, a final fling. Peugeot went with the latter to send the current-gen 208 GTi off with a bang.
The limited-run (just 20 units) Edition Definitive by Peugeot Sport is the result. It’s essentially the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary Edition with different clothes, Autonomous Emergency Braking (a first for any GTi model) and a $33,990 price tag. And while that’s a $2000 saving over its forebear, the French baby hot hatch isn’t cheap.
It’s hard to argue against the muscular, nugget-esque design. Matte-black accents and the 18-inch wheels add muscle to the diminutive silhouette. You can have it in any colour you like, too – as long as it’s Pearl White. On the inside there are heavily bolstered Peugeot Sport seats, red stitching and red floor mats – tres 205 GTI, indeed.
The venerable 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo (Prince engine co-developed with BMW) has 153kW and 300Nm. It lugs 1185kg, resulting in a 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds. Kept in its sweet spot, the four-pot is a strong, tractable unit.
Getting that grunt down is made easier by the addition of a mechanical, Torsen LSD and grippy Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber. Traction is rarely an issue and the front end vehemently holds its line on pristine tarmac with lock and throttle applied. On the run the 208 is deceptively quick and the muted soundtrack only adds to that sensation. More aural muscle, please.
The six-speed manual is long in throw, but it’s decent to use. And while the clutch take-up point is high, the brake pedal is soft. Yet, with 323mm front discs and Brembo calipers, the stopping power is never in question.
MOTOR comparison: 208 GTi 30th Anniversary v 205 GTi
The small steering wheel is deceptive. It fools you into thinking the rack is quick. It’s not. And largely lacking feel.
Velvety smooth winding roads bring out the best in the Pug. With wider tracks (22mm front, 16mm back) and a bespoke suspension tune (10mm lower), the final-edition 208 really gets stuck in. But be aware of the rear-end, it can quickly go from nice to naughty.
Ultimately, ride quality and damper control is where the GTi ED falls down on really craggy surfaces. There’s not enough compliance to quell movements over rutted roads, meaning the 208 hops and skips over bumps. Hit a significant pothole mid corner and it will chuck the already playful rear sideways – and in dramatic fashion.
Has the limited edition 208 GTi outstayed its welcome? Kind of, but then, in the right conditions, it remains a bit of a party trick – especially in Edition Definitive guise. So until next time, bon voyage, little Pug.
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2018 PEUGEOT 208 GTI EDITION DEFINITIVE SPECS
Engine: 1598cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Power: 153kW @ 5800rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1700rpm
0-100km/h: 6.5sec (claimed)
Price: $33,990 (driveaway)
Like: Boosted 1.6-litre four-pot; loads of grip; mechanical LSD hooks up nicely; muscular design
Dislike: Ride quality is harsh on most roads; ergonomic flaws; getting too old and expensive?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars