Peugeot 207

Early clues to next GTI

Another new supermini, overweight like its recent rivals but expensively trimmed, cocooning in a crash and thoroughly tuned for today's mass-market tastes. The new 207 looks like a racier, updated version of a 206, and its wide-track stance was apparently inspired by the 206 WRC car. It will doubtless sell in zillions. But what we want to know is: will the eventual GTI version be good enough to put Peugeot back at the top of the hot-hatchback tree? Underpinning the 207 is a version of PSA's Platform One. That means a cheap rear torsion beam, but the Clio 182 shows that needn't be a snag. Peugeot showed the fierce 207 RCup at Geneva, and there are 1.6-litre turbo engines to come, co-developed with BMW and promising 141bhp for the 207 GT (from September) and 168bhp for the GTI. Lots of low-end torque, too. So I'm driving the current fastest 207, a GT with the 110bhp, 1.6-litre diesel, and I'm worried. Typically relaxed diesel pace and a decent ride on 17in wheels. But there's something aloof and glutinous about the electric power steering. Next I try a 1.4 petrol and a lower-power 1.6 HDI, both on base-model 185/65 R15 tyres, and they're great: throttle-adjustable, with accurate, transparent, connected-feeling steering and that old Peugeot fluidity. Let's hope the engineers can transfer that to the GTI.

Specifications

Engine4-cyl, 1560cc, 16v, turbodiesel
Max power110bhp @ 4000rpm
Max torque177lb ft @ 1750rpm
0-6010.1sec (claimed)
Top speed120mph (claimed)
On saleJune 2006
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