Peugeot 208 GTi and GTi by Peugeot Sport review - a return to 205 GTi form?

The Peugeot 208 GTI trying to channel the spirit of its seminal predecessor, the original 205 GTI. Does the latest hot hatch get close?

evo Verdict

The Peugeot 208 GTi is an impressive hot hatch in standard specification and a spectacular one in GTi by Peugeot Sport trim, continuing Peugeot’s recent (and very welcome) return to performance road car form.

Each car packs a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine but while horsepower figures are separated by only a small margin, each car is quite different in character and will appeal to different customers as a result. The standard 208 GTi fulfils the role of a fun but usable all-rounder, while the Peugeot Sport – true to its name – goes toe-to-toe with more rambunctious rivals like the Ford Fiesta ST.

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There is one car that possibly eclipses the Peugeot's talents however - the Ford Fiesta ST200. By giving the ST just a little more pace and a little more pliancy in the suspension it's raised the Fiesta's game. It isn't as hardcore as the Pug, and not as intense as a result, but for many it'll be the better all-rounder.

evo Tip

If you’ve got the budget to stretch to the Peugeot Sport model – it’s around £3000 more than the standard GTi – we’d absolutely recommend it. The regular car flows down crumbling roads with admirable poise but ultimately plays it safe.

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> More: Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport v Fiesta ST200 v Ibiza Cupra

The GTi by Peugeot Sport offers more of everything, by contrast: extra speed, more bite from the front tyres, more mobility to the rear axle, more feel filtering through the steering and better body control. It’s handy on track, too.

evo Comment

‘It doesn’t have the instantaneous charm of the Fiesta ST, partly because the steering wheel is unusually small and the control weights just a little disjointed, but with the miles comes familiarity, and then the realization that this is truly one of the most exciting hot hatches currently on sale. The sheer grip of the front axle, the agility, the excitability of the rear axle, the scrabbling limited-slip differential – the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport is fun, raw and heroically fast.’ Dan Prosser, road test editor (evo 211)

> Performance and 0-60mph time - Both GTIs are fast but the Peugeot Sport feels very rapid indeed. Gearshift isn't the slickest though and neither sounds that great. Read more about the 208 GTI's performance here.

> Engine and transmission - 1.6-litre turbocharged unit develops 197bhp normally, 205bhp in the Peugeot Sport. Six-speed manual the only gearbox available. Read more about the 208 GTI's engine here.

> Ride and handling - 208 GTI is sweet but unmemorable. Peugeot Sport is among the most focused, engaging hot hatches available. Read more about the 208 GTI's handling here.

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> MPG and running costs - Surprisingly frugal both on paper and in the real world. Peugeot Sport's Michelin Super Sports can be expensive though. Read more about the 208 GTI's running costs here.

> Prices, specs and rivals - Pricing is competitive with rivals given the level of spec. Only the Ford Fiesta ST gets close to the Pug on the road, though. Read more about the 208 GTI's pricing here.

> Interior and tech - iCockpit layout can take some getting used-to but the small steering wheel suits the 208's darty feel. Quality is generally good too. Read more about the 208 GTI's interior here.

> Design - Peugeot Sport lifts the GTI's styling with a squat, purposeful stance and if you're brave, the 'coupe franche' two-tone paint scheme. Read more about the 208 GTI's design here.

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