Peugeot 308 GT 200
Bodykit suits the 308 form well
- Bodykitted exterior works well on 308
- Impressive performance from compact turbocharged engine
- Well equipped interior with supportive seats
- Reasonable fuel economy for high performance model
- Steering wheel feels a little large for a sports model
- Staggered pedal height makes for a long clutch pedal
- A-pillars obscure visibility in corners
- High loading lip can impact on boot practicality
Three years after launching the 308 hatchback model Peugeot has introduced a high-performance variant in celebration of its 200th anniversary. Although not a full bore hot-hatch like some rival manufacturer products, it makes use of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit to provide 200bhp without overtly painful fuel consumption.
Peugeot is a manufacturer with plenty of form when it comes to taking everyday hatchback models and invigorating them with a powerful engine, and it was really only a matter of time before the 308 model was on the receiving end of a performance makeover.
The addition of a tuned 1.6-litre turbocharged unit boosts performance considerably, but not to the degree that the 308GT 200 loses the tractability and versatility of its less sporty siblings. The 1.6-litre THP unit produces 200bhp in celebration of the manufacturer's 200th anniversary, but keeps emissions low and fuel economy more than reasonable.
The five-door layout means the 308GT 200 retains a strong degree of practicality, too. A decent boot and accommodating interior make it a useable everyday car, even if turning up the wick produces greater thrills than in the rest of the range.
Revisions to the exterior hint at the 308GT 200's performance without going overboard. There's a bodykit with subtle sideskirts, carbon fibre inserts at the front and a black diffuser at the rear. A rear roof spoiler plus attractive alloy wheels are also present. Inside, equipment provision is excellent. Sporty touches like the metal gearknob and bolstered seats are welcome additions, too.
Our verdict on the Peugeot 308 GT 200
The Peugeot 308 is not the most obvious choice for a hot-hatch makeover even given Peugeot's impressive history of producing such models; however the 308GT 200 proves a big success. The styling responds well to the exterior additions while the chassis proves more than capable of dealing with the high-performance turbocharged engine. Crucially, the 308 loses none of its practicality or versatility in GT form, meaning it's a dual purpose model in the traditional hot-hatch sense.
The 308GT 200 is not a cheap car to purchase but considering the performance and equipment provision it still offers good value for money. Fuel economy is actually quite reserved when driven sensibly although judicious use of the turbo will prove costly. The performance means insurance will be higher than normal for a 308, but may still prove more cost effective than some hot-hatch rivals.
Space and practicality
Plenty of storage areas are present in the 308 and the cabin is a good size. There's plenty of knee room in the back for adults and headroom is also more than sufficient. At the rear, the tailgate opens to reveal a flat loadspace. The rear seats fold easily to boost the car's total carrying capacity.
Controls and display
One area where Peugeot has always excelled in is instrumentation. The car's main dials are clear and easy to read, while the main switchgear is intuitive and operates with a quality feel. The steering column-mounted audio controls are a welcome sight and the optional sat-nav unit's display is large, easy to read and can be adjusted to the perfect angle.
Despite the sports ethos, the 308GT 200 provides a comfortable ride and a generally refined ambience inside. The throaty engine quiets down on the motorway and wind noise is well tamed. The supportive seats are excellent and standard dual-zone climate control and decent electronic equipment provision makes it an easy car to live with.
An alarm and immobiliser are provided and the covered boot offers secure storage. Naturally, the car locks from the key-fob, but be warned it will relock itself after unlocking if left untouched for a relatively short period.
A healthy array of active and passive safety systems is present, including ABS, brake assist, stability control and airbags for every corner of the car. A safety cell offers protection to all occupants in the event of an accident. A five-star rating is testament to the strong performance.
With 200bhp on offer, the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine provides more than enough get-up-and-go to offer some real thrills. The six-speed gearbox makes the 308GT 200 quite tractable but using the lower ratios to exploit the performance proves rewarding. The gear change is slick and precise, the engine responds keenly to throttle input and there's a great exhaust note. The chassis offers a notably great balance between sporty road-holding and impressive ride quality. The only quibbles are a slightly oversize steering wheel and a long clutch pedal with biting point right at the top.
Family car appeal
The five-door 308 is a traditional family hatchback model and loses little of that appeal when equipped with a more powerful engine. Space and practicality are high and safety is well taken care of, but the model is comfortable in roles as both a family and sports hatch.
First car appeal
Although aimed at a younger, sportier market, the 308GT 200 is a relatively expensive model and its turbocharged performance will cost more to insure and demands a more experienced driver.
Quality and image
Build quality was much improved over the predecessor model when the 308 was introduced and interior and build quality remains strong in the 308GT 200. The family hatchback model was previously not the most exciting available: the GT version should inject some youth appeal into the line-up.
The 308GT 200's five-doors open wide and the seat height is such that you can just slide in, even with the bolsters of the sports seats. At the back, the rear doors open to reveal a good size aperture, while the car's boot opens and closes with little effort, although the lip is high.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
Quality is excellent from the 308's sound system and Bluetooth phone integration is also included. The centre console sound system control layout is a little fussy, but the steering column mounted controls make using the system easier from the driver's seat. Where specified, the pop-up sat-nav is operated using a rotary control and menus, which is more efficient than a myriad buttons, and boasts clear and useful multi-purpose screen.
Colours and trim
The sporty exterior, complete with bodykit and large alloy wheels, looks particularly good in white, although six colours are available in total. The exterior additions are subtle enough to attract positive attention without being too garish. Inside, part leather and black cloth is standard and contrasts well with the brushed aluminium gear knob and sports pedals.
Parking is pretty straightforward in the 308. The car's power steering offers plenty of assistance at low speed and the all-round vision is good. Parking sensors are a bonus, particularly in combination with the optional screen.
Full-size alloy mounted in boot floor
Petrol engine options - 1.4-litre (98bhp); 1.6-litre (120bhp); 1.6 (156bhp); 1.6 (200bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (90bhp); 1.6-litre (110bhp); 1.6-litre (112bhp); 2.0-litre (136bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed manual gearbox, four-speed automatic gearbox, six-speed automated manual gearbox with manual override dependent on engine choice. Trim levels: Urban, S, SR, Sport, GT.
Ford Focus ST Similar mix of performance and practicality
Volkswagen Golf GTi More expensive but supreme handling
Mazda3 MPS Huge power but less impressive on fuel
Seat Leon FR 2.0 TFSI boasts similar performance