motion & emotion
Road roars with the Peugeot lion 208 GTi & XY › 308 HDi 163 GT & CC THP200 › 508 GT › 3008
ienvenue to this très Gallic Peugeot special of Road Magazine. Peugeot’s current advertising slogan is ‘Motion & Emotion,’ hinting at cars that are involving, ney, fun to drive, and live with. So, we’ve lined tests on most of the 08 current range on offer from the French manufacturer. Firstly, we cover two, fresh concepts revealed at Geneva based on the new 208: A return of the GTi brand! Can the new 208 GTi live up to all the (light) weighty heritage and expectations? Then there’s the 208 XY “urban chic” concept. Next up, it’s the gorgeous 308 GT HDi 163 coupe, in diesel form. Can it still be a fun, funky, fast and fresh car with an oil-burner? Then, with all this lovely Spring weather, how about a retractable hardtop Peugeot? We give the 308CC THP200 hot turbo version a verdict. Is the slick 508 GT a worthy adversary to the Ford Mondeo, VW Passat, Skoda Octavia, Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series? We find out... Finally, there’s the practical 3008 Crossover, which Road staff snapper, Neil Denham, takes for a wander on the moors, for its verdict. We really hope you enjoy our Peugeot special. Thanks for reading Road. Do share us with your pals and join our daily blog and social media outlets, by clicking on the link bubbles above, Road Editor, Phil Royle.
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208 GTI: legend re-born?
The Geneva Motorshow unveiled a few future belters, including the re-birth of a legend, a Peugeot GTi. Can the 208 GTi Concept live up to its 205 grand daddy?
retty much anyone born in the hot hatch era has a few fond memories of a Peugeot 205 GTi. My recollections include pasting a more powerful Renault 5 GT Turbo on twisty Lake District lanes, thanks to the ‘Pug’s’ superior, if edgy lift-off oversteer happy handling habits and lightweight shell. I’ve since road rallied, done track days in and driven big power 205 GTi’s and they always bring a smile to my face: Diminutive, agile, frisky and fun. A true hot hatch legend. Since the 205, Peugeot has had the 206 and 207
GTi’s, and, whilst acceptable cars, they really couldn’t handle the legendary Peugeot GTi heritage, being too heavy and under-powered, not to mention not as sharp. So, it’s with a mixture of excitement and fear that Peugeot and their fans await the re-birth of an icon – with the 208 GTi Concept. Expected to cost around £18,000 when it reaches production, the Peugeot 208 GTi is heading upmarket, like the rest of the French brand. Encore chic. The new GTi will be powered by the RCZ’s 197bhp, 1.6-litre twin scroll turbo
engine, matched to a sixspeed manual gearbox (with no front LSD) – a setup which works well in the RCZ. This engine will offer some 25bhp more than the outgoing 207 GTi. But, best of all and perhaps most promising is the monster diet Peugeot has undertaken with the 208 GTi – shaving on average 110kg, meaning the 208 GTi’s lithe power-to-weight ratio should enable 0-62mph in around 6.5sec (207 GTi was 7.1s). That bodes well – lighter and faster. A look to the left reveals another key trend, and a
feature the 205 GTi could never claim as a strong point – interior quality, not to mention exterior specification: The 208 GTi will wear 18-inch rims, the new signature LED headlamp design, with proud French Tricolour in Europe (or Union Jack in UK) chequeredflag motifs on the metal mesh of the grille. There will be also twin double chromed exhaust tailpipes, aero lower bodywork spoilers and lower sill skirts, brushed aluminium GTi logos, small sports leather stitched steering wheel, Nappa sports seats with a
205-style embossed tartan motif, brushed ally dials, a rear roof spoiler, cutting edge Peugeot handling and 302mm front/249mm rear brakes, naturally with redpainted brake callipers! Clearly, Peugeot is not just aiming to bring back a GTi icon, itâ€™s aiming to take the brand to new heights and take on the mighty VW Golf GTiâ€™s practical performance car market share. Can the French lion brand do it? Only time will tell, but the images, technical specification and confident comments from Peugeot bosses suggest, mais oui! Bon!
“it’s with excitement & fear peugeot & fans await the re-birth of a legend...”
208 XY Concept: Urban Chic?
Finished in camelion-style paint work and loaded with leather, is the 208 XY city slick?
hile the 208 GTi concept deals with performance passions, the 208 XY concept also unveiled at Geneva deals with posing passions, or rather “adding premium touches to our 208,” say Peugeot. Brace yourself for a big bling colourfest! First up there’s the 16-coats of special ‘Pulsion’ paintwork, meaning the XY concept appears to be constantly changing “like a camelion,” depending on the distance, light levels and the position from which it is viewed. Very trick, and sure to impress certain ‘grownup’ Max Power types very much indeed. Then there’s a set of huge ‘dual-effect’ 18-inch rims (whatever that means!), the new trademark chrome headlights and grille design and, best of all, a huge panoramic glass roof “bathing the interior in natural light.”
Meanwhile, inside the XY occupants are treated to a crimson overload, which will certainly polarise opinion. The crimson will be stitched leather on the dashboard, armrests, steering wheel rings, gear lever gaiter and sides, and – just in case you missed the subtle touches – there’ll be extra crimson stripes on the seat inserts and floor mats, whilst the seats themselves are pearly grey leather pleated. The urban chic XY will be powered by a 1.6-litre eHDi engine, with 115bhp and matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox, so frugal, not fast. Vous aime? Hmmm...
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style, speed & french frugality
Peugeot’s 308 GT HDi 163 offers the stunning coupe looks of its RCZ petrol brother, with more grunt, 53mpg and a 645-mile range. We’re tempted... by an oil burner!
ast year, we took a 308 RCZ THP200 petrol turbo from south Norfolk to Edinburgh (Issue 19), loaded to the gills and even with my poor sister-in-law wedged in the rear ‘seats.’ Despite her back pain, the trip proved what a super stylish, great handling, wellequipped, enjoyably quick and fun car the RCZ was. Best on a twisty, testing B-road, or fast sweeping Aroad, the RCZ also made a decent, comfortable cruiser (in the heated front seats at least). The one surprising downside was the fuel
economy and range, which struggled to get into mid30s and could only manage 400-50 miles on a tank. Enter the remedy – the £25,395 308 GT HDi 163. Peak power may be down 34bhp over its petrol turbo RCZ coupe brother, but torque is 34lbft more, also at lower revs. And 0-60mph is only 1.1 seconds behind the RCZ, with top speed just nine mph lower at 137mph (Vs 146mph). The real difference comes with the fuel economy, as the GT HDi offers 53.2mpg against the RCZ’s mid-30s, some 20mpg more. And this extra
French frugality is reflected in the range too, with the diesel GT offering a generous 645 miles between fill-ups. That’s the big difference. The 1997cc commonrail diesel engine sounds good too, for an oil burner. It’s pretty quiet on tick over and even quieter on the move, even managing to manufacture a nice, boost-filled exhaust note on full load. Impressive. The trade-offs, as ever with diesels are (1.) The lack of revs to enjoy (offset by the better pick-up at low rpm and mid-range kick)
and (2.) The extra weight of the diesel engine detracting from the sharp front end handling. Turn-in is not as good as with the RCZ and understeer is more of an issue, as we found out, taking the GT around a very tight kart track! That said, the GT is still a very good handling car – thanks to its wide stance and stiff suspension set-up, which is too stiff and crashy for some, but we liked it – even working where lithe little karts should only flourish (see video link below). The cabin is a great place to be, starting with a good
“A nice boost-filled exhaust note on full load”
Merci beaucoup! Big thanks to two lovely lots of people, who provided us with locations, just off the A11/A14 near Newmarket. First, there’s Wild Tracks (www.wildtracksltd.co.uk), who offer tons of fab driving activities on an ace site. Then there’s the ace Red Lodge Karting Centre (www.redlodgekarting.com), who helped us film this fab film by James Morgan of the GT in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch ?v=uiuvFXXKGDw&feature=play er_embedded. Enjoy!
seating position, low-slung in the chassis, with nice adjustability of the steering wheel and quality leather sports seats. The dials and sat nav are easy to use and stylish to boot and the general feel is of quality, pizzazz and panache. Regular readers to Road will know that I’m no fan of diesels in ‘sports’ or ‘performance’ cars. But, after a week doing big miles in the GT HDi 163, and not having to stop to be robbed by the
government at the pumps, it did start to make sense. With the GT HDi 163 you’ve got a bloody good looking, stand-out coupe, fully loaded, for £25,395 that’s quick, fun, economical and, if there’s only ever two of you in it, reasonably practical too. What more can you ask for really? Revs, yes. But they cost money. Maybe I’m getting old at last, but a stylish, good handling diesel like this GT is tempting.
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308 CC GT THP200: COOL Boost
The ÂŁ25,995 308 CC GT THP200 is the top of the CC range, loaded with all the bells and whistles and that special roof. But does it deliver turbo thrills?
he 308CC GT THP200 is a bit of an enigma – manly hot hatch engine in a heavy, hardtop coupe style-fest dress. On paper, it’s quite an attractive package – the £25,995 range-topping 308 CC GT THP200, with a 197bhp, 203lbft 1.6-litre twin scroll turbocharged engine (as found in the RCZ and Mini Cooper S), the styling of the 508 up front with LED daytime running lights, a lavish, well-specced red leather interior and that fabulous retractable folding hardtop roof. It’s got coupe good looks too, roof
up and cosy or flat down, with the wind in your hair. But it just doesn’t deliver on performance, compared to the other cars using this THP200 engine – 0-60mph in a pretty average 8.3s. Although, apparently, it will knock on the door of 150mph – given enough room, and a legal setting like an autobahn or circuit (with a two mile straight!). The problem is weight. The 308 CC GT THP200 is not your typical lightweight lionbranded Peugeot. It tips the scales at 1535Kg – 141Kg more than the RCZ, thanks to the jushi roof primarily.
This has a serious effect on the usually pretty lively 1.6-litre turbo motor, and the fuel economy, which struggled to get out of mid30s on our test and dipped to around 15mpg, on a full chat run, never feeling fast. Does this lack of pure performance matter though? Not really. The 308 CC GT is not a hot hatch, or killer coupe: It’s all about the looks, feeling and, dare I say it, “Motion & Emotion” Peugeot bang on about in their TV ads. It’s lovely early Spring weather the week we have the 308 CC GT and the
missus (who loves the car on sight, only intensifying upon contact with red leather interior and reaching fever pitch when the hard roof drops down) & I drop the top and cruise up to the stunning North Norfolk coastline, via historic Old Buckenham Airfield (www. oldbuck.com) where these snaps were taken. With some Motown classics on the pretty good stereo, heated seats, neckwarming “Airwave Scarf” vents and heater cranked up to 11, roof down and windows up, the 308 CC GT is a laugh. And the THP200
engine makes a nice turbo boost whoosh, to accompany the bird song, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross – both of whom we reckon would enjoy this Peugeot! Downsides? Well, the boot could be a lot bigger, the ride quality is a tad harsh and scuttle-shake-jiggly and there’s naff all room in the rear – but these are all typical criticisms and compromises that need to be made for a bulky retractable roof. The 308CC GT is no ballsout handling car either. Push too hard and the front end will wash out. And, for a Peugeot, it’s not very lively
at the rear end either, even provoked with big lifts, or late braking. But that’s me trying to find a hooligan in a car that’s all about chillaxing, in style. Relax into that mode and the 308CC GT THP200 rewards in droves. Here’s a car that’s amusing, lighthearted and entertaining, really well equipped and just good topless fun. But, and it is a big but, it is £25,995. And, our money on the line... we’d rather spend it on an AC Cobra and its 5.7-litre V8, and use the £10,000 change to fuel runs into Europe.
Thank you old buck Many thanks to the lovely chaps at Old Buckenham Airfield, the home of the 453rd Bomb Group – surely the most friendly airfield in East Anglia, if not the UK – for letting us use their site as a location for our shoot. Find out more about the historic airfield – with its 800m of hard runway, hard taxiway to the apron, two grass runways, smooth grass for parking, modern hangars, Avgas & Avtur, flying School, restaurant & bar, aircraft sales and brokerage and an annual air show – at: www.oldbuck.com Or call 01953 860806 or email email@example.com.
“relax... and the 308 CC GT THP 200 rewards in droves”
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style, class, soul, bad ass
Forget your common-place Ford Mondeo, even Audi A4. Step into the bad ass world of large, luxurious, refined Peugeots, with the fabulous ÂŁ28,750 508 GT.
f you thought Peugeot only made small, light city cars, coupes and retractable ragtops, wake up! Welcome to the wonderful 508 range – built to rival Ford’s Mondeo, VW’s Passat, Vauxhall’s Insignia and maybe even tempt a few Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series buyers into the bargain. The model we have on test here is the range-topping 508 GT, costing £28,750. It comes with a powerful 201bhp and thumping 332lbft in-line, four-cylinder, 2179cc, HDi 16 turbodiesel lump, matched to a slick, torque-convertor six-speed
automatic gearbox, which via paddles or a central selector move back for upshifts and forward for downshifts (like a rally car). We like this. And Peugeot is busy developing a double clutch system of its own for future models. Interesting. Performance figures are pretty good, at 8.2sec 0-62mph and a top speed of 145mph, but it’s the ingear grunt from all that torque that really is impressive. Wafty overtaking is an absolute breeze in the 508 GT, and the diesel engine is quiet, refined and muscular. The impressive features of
the 508 GT don’t stop under the bonnet either. Visually, it’s a beautiful large car, with a real menacing presence. Modern gangsters should forget their Jags of old and get themselves a dark black 508 GT. It really does have style, class, soul and is definitely bad ass – with its sleek lines, huge rims, tinted glass and all. It makes the 607 and 407 it replaces look like the munters they were. Thankfully, Peugeot got the looks absolutely spot on with the 508. Bravo! Step inside and the levels of luxury and specification
are first rate. The 508 GT literally has ever toy known to man, making it a very pleasant place to do big miles in. This quality feeling is enhanced by the incredible ride quality and suspension set up. Whilst other 508’s use conventional struts, the GT model’s front suspension is a very cool doublewishbone design, with a double-hinged, folded-over upper wishbone off the 407. This makes for excellent turn-in, fabulous grip levels, first class feeling and – matched with perfect damping – an absolutely fantastic (nigh-on perfect)
blend of super comfy ride and exquisite handling. The rear end is playful too, all adding to the 508 GT’s appeal. This is a seriously sorted, crisp, involving, accurate, swift and cosetting motor – brimming with the sort of composure and quality which Peugeot built their lion brand upon. Steering feel is also bob on, thanks to a classy hydraulic set-up. And it’s these sort of details which make the 508 GT such a pleasure to drive. Love it! The chief engineers on this car need a BIG pat on the back and case of Chablis.
The 508 is a big car too – offering massive comfort levels up front and huge legroom in the rear, not to mention an enormous boot. So, the 508 GT is practical as well as sexy, luxurious, economical, quick, fun and alternative. Of the long list of test press cars we’ve had in recent months, the 508 GT is one we least wanted to give back, as well as being the most surprising. We really didn’t expect it to be this impressive... but it is. Discreet, different and daring, the 508 GT should stop Audi A4 buyers in their track: It’s much better.
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3008: crossover the moors
Road staff snapper, Neil Denham, takes Peugeotâ€™s practical, refined, spacious 3008 crossover on a trip across the Northumberland moorlands
he crossover is here to stay. Seemingly every month, one manufacturer or other is launching a new one. And this is Peugeot’s assault on this lucrative marketplace, with the 3008. There’s a huge 20 of the 3008’s on offer, in petrol, diesel and (award-winning) hybrid form – from the £17,195 1.6 VTi 120 Access five door, to the £28,495 HDi FAP Hybrid4 five door, with 197bhp. The 3008 Road staff snapper, Neil Denham had on test was the 2.0 HDi FAP 150 Allure five door, costing £22,795 and range-topping
the diesel 3008’s. The stats line up with a mix of the average – 9.7s to 60mph and 121mph top speed – to the impressive – 52.3mpg and a huge 690 mile range from the frugal 2.0 HDi diesel lump, offering 150bhp and 251lbft torque. Being 100% honest, the 3008 is not a looker. Let’s just say, if it were a schoolkid, it’d have no confidence to ask the cheerleaders out, but would find a nice reliable wife – for being sensible, practical and sturdy. Well equipped too, with a few surprise up its sleeve, like the cool head-up dis-
play and nice dials, which light up well at night. The interior is awash with flexible seating and loading options, making the 3008 a good choice for commercial businesses, as well as large, sprawling families... not to mention photographers, with all their gear and desire to do car to car tracking shots hanging out of the boot... eh Neil? Comfortable, spacious and well specced, the 3008 has a great interior lay-out, design and feel. The engines on offer are all solid performers and pretty frugal too – aided by
the 3008 being one of the lighter Crossovers on the market. It’s a relaxed cruiser, but handles the twisty, bumpy moorland roads pretty well too, despite over light power steering and a lack of feedback. Positively, Peugeot customers say the 3008 is not only reliable, but one of Peugeot’s best made cars to date. The 3008 is an innovative, spacious and affordable Crossover and with the swift, fresh and on message Hybrid 4 in the range, looks set to be a popular Crossover for years to come yet.
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