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First drive: Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.

First drive: Peugeot 308 GT
Peugeot warms up the 2014 European Car of the Year with a 205hp GT model.

   



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Peugeot 308 GT

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The Peugeot 308 GT, with its smart looks and 205hp 1.6-litre petrol engine, promises plenty of driver appeal and, to an extent, it delivers on its claims. But you need to temper those expectations if you're a really, really keen driver, as the GT is a little too laid-back to convince as a properly 'hot' hatchback. We'll have to wait for either a GTi or R 308 for that...

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Peugeot 308 GT 205hp hatchback
Pricing: from 24,095
Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual transmission
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 130g/km (VED Band D, 0 first year, 110 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 50.4mpg
Top speed: 146mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Power: 205hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 285Nm at 1,750- to 4,500rpm

What's this?

A feistier version of the excellent Peugeot 308, here christened GT. It is given a more powerful 1.6-litre THP petrol engine, some styling cues outside and in, and suspension that's 7- and 10mm lower front and rear respectively. In terms of the looks, you'll spot a GT thanks to a Lion badge in the three-bar grille, LED headlights with 'direction sweep' indicators to match, side skirts, a demure rear spoiler, black wing mirrors, a black rear diffuser housing two chromed tailpipes and large air intakes in place of the fog lights. Furthermore, Peugeot has blessed the GT with large, fluted-spoke Diamant alloy wheels clothed in Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres.

Inside, buyers get a GT-specific steering wheel, seats with red stitching, a Driver Sport Pack (this is represented by a console Sport button that alters the car's dynamics, which we'll come to later), red-themed displays in the instrument cluster and the centre console. Added equipment (as befitting the new top-line trim for the 308) includes keyless entry and go, dynamic cruise control and emergency collision alert with anti-collision braking.

Finally, there are two engines and transmissions for GT models in the UK. The 205hp petrol, as tested here, comes only with a six-speed manual (for now) in hatchback form, but there's also a 180hp 2.0-litre BlueHDi unit that can be had in either the hatchback or the SW estate. The diesel is only mated to a six-speed EAT6 automatic gearbox with paddle-shifts.

How does it drive?

The 308 GT is a pretty sweet machine, although it is emphatically a warm watch rather than a hot one. That makes it rather difficult to compare to a Volkswagen Golf GTI, for example, which you'd reckon was a direct competitor; however, the Volkswagen is more overtly sporting to drive. The 308 GT has a refined demeanour, with superb compliance on rough surfaces (despite those stylish 18-inch alloys) and brilliant cruising manners. There's a lightness of touch to all the major controls, particularly the steering, which doesn't appear to be nuanced with feedback. The 1.6 THP also sounds quite bland in 'normal' mode, although it never lacks for performance given it has torque and power curves that dovetail neatly throughout the rev range.

Press the Sport button on the centre console though and things are ramped up a notch. Both the rate of steering response and the sharpness of the throttle increase, while the dials in the cluster turn red, a power/boost pressure/torque display appears on the driver's digital display and the exhaust note is artificially augmented to make the car feel keener. It works, to an extent, as the steering now has a fair amount of feel and the 1.6 provides punchy, smooth performance thanks to a crisper throttle. But at no point does it ever get you fizzing with delight, even if the 308 GT will indulge in mild lift-off oversteer if you load it up through the curves. It always remains a slightly aloof fast hatchback that seems to prefer seven-tenths driving, rather than the sort of hot hatch hoonery of youth. One thing it does brilliantly, however, is balance strong body control with that impressive ride, as the 308 GT doesn't ever roll or wallow about on its springs.

Verdict

The new 308 has always impressed us and the GT is no exception, but it won't rank as one of the greatest performance hatchbacks you'll ever drive. It's reasonably involving and decently quick, yet it lacks the final few edges of focus to make it a truly enticing drivers' car. Of course, a more powerful petrol 308 is a distinct possibility (using the 270hp motor from the RCZ R) so for that reason, if you want a 308 GT you're better off picking the diesel, as its engine seems a better match for the car's relaxed demeanour. Probably its key selling point, given it costs from 24,095, is that it looks great, especially in its unique colour of Magnetic Blue, and it's well specified.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 23 Jan 2015



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2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.



2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 

2015 Peugeot 308 GT. Image by Peugeot.
 






 

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