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308GTi - Something to rave about

Created on 29/02/2016 @ 09:38
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Peugeot has a history in the hot hatch sector and the arrival of the 308GTi Sport means there's now a model that the French company can really rave about.

The RCZ and the 208 GTi have been impressive additions to the Peugeot range and now the 308GTi is starting to set hearts racing in the sector with 250 and 270hp versions available on the UK market - both powered by a 1.6 litre unit.

This model has been eagerly awaited since the new 308 arrived on the scene last year and it's fair to say that it's certainly no disappointment with the 250hp version on test topping 155mph and reaching 62mph in 6.2 seconds.

There's better efficiency too with the 1.6, six-speed manual on test achieving only 139g/km of emissions and topping 47mpg on the combine cycle - that's impressive stuff for a hot hatch.

Surprisingly the 308GTi comes in only five door format. We know the rest of the range does too but surely this sportier model should have a three-door option - one that would probably appeal more to the younger market.

But it does still look the part, sitting 11millimeteres nearer the ground and boasting a new front and rear design, with a choice of six colours.

There's an extensively revamped suspension and a choice of sports performance, matched by a solid feel on the open road and a confident feel on country bends on 19inch alloys.

I’m a big fan of Peugeot’s smaller steering wheel, but it wont be everyone’s choice and Peugeot’s i-Cockpit layout means it’s a challenge to find a driving position where the wheel does not obscure the instrument clocks in front of you.

I found the seating position comfortable though and the Alacantra sports seats are a perfect match for this high performer, though a taller colleague was complaining of not enough support.

Most of the car’s functions are now controlled by a central infotainment system. Everything from the phone to the heating system is on the touch-screen devise. All the manufacturers seem to be going down this route now but I’m starting to find operating the system more and more a distraction when eyes should really be on the road ahead.

Rear seat passengers complained so much of a lack of both head and leg room that I was forced to take a look myself. And yes there is a disappointing lack of space, Boot space is passable but it’s again disappointing that rear seats don’t fold down completely flat when you need to carry that larger piece of luggage.

The 308GTi is competing in a growing and crowded market but it does have enough qualities to produce the sales to keep bosses happy as the company continues to reinvent itself.

It isn’t cheap though and some may be put off by the price tag. Putting the 250 Sport on test on the road will set you back a cool £26,555, with £1,000 of that taken up by adding metallic paint and must-have panoramic glass roof.

The 308Gti isn’t perfect but there’s enough interest in the brand at the moment to suggest sales targets will be achieved and probably broken.

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