Peugeot also have a GTi!

Why do the French get so much flack for the cars they produce? Or is that old news?

I drive the old Peugeot 307 2.0 XS and after 7 years now, I love the little Pug. Is it fast? NO! Is it beautiful? Uhm....maybe a little. But it's taken care of us for a while and with a quarter of a million km's on the clock, I have enjoyed it thoroughly. Being me, my only gripe with her has always been her lack of grunt. I even fitted a 'Chip & Zorst' to her at one point(Yes I know) and though it made a small difference, it was never worth the effort. Not to mention the change from being a very silent cruiser to a loud and rude baritone. So, when Car Magazine mentioned that Peugeot were bringing a 308 GTi to the country, I was intrigued. Mmm, would it live up to that name?

The GTi name, no matter what car it's stuck on, has some serious weight. You can't call any car a GTi without it holding some chin up. So, courtesy of Peugeot SA I was invited to come and sample the latest Sports model from Peugeot almost at the same time as they launched their sexy RCZ sports coupe.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much in the way of grunt, but the numbers looked substantial with 147kw on tap. I expected a fair amount of lag from the High pressure 1.6 Turbo unit, and I expected a bouncing, rocking typical FWD handful. What I got was....a shock! The power is surprisingly impressive and the lag was minimal. I ran the car around a few twisties a couple times, each time feeling how the ESP(a new feature) behaved and I was impressed that the 308 GTi is at the very least, entertaining. The steering feedback was somewhat clinical, and YES the FWD does seem to struggle to put down the power, but that aside, my word it's fun to drive! What impresses me most is that you just don't expect so much power and such immediate(almost) response and such entertaining roadholding. The car is understated, with only the tailipes and 18-inch rims giving it away. The other feature that I must mention is the flat bottomed steering which gives the already tasteful cabin an 'edge'.

As said, Peugeot is not known for it's Sporty prowess and I'll say this now. It's not a VW GTi or a Opel Astra OPC. Or anything close. It's a HOT hatch with a bit of common sense. It's well priced, just under 290k. It's amply specced and space is up there with the rest and best of the Hatches. It's super comfortable and it's fast but not mad. The appeal here is that it's the perfect compromise on what is not a very exclusive market. Think VW GTi and Ford Focus. This will get you noticed and your wife/gf will be happy with it too.

Oh and before I forget: The BEST feature about this car is that it features a Glass Roof that stretches from the top of the windscreen to the rear spoiler. I would buy this car simply for this. It adds a touch of class, exclusivity and ambience to what is already a good car.

Take one for a drive. I promise you won't be disappointed!

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