What is it?
Almost the textbook definition of a warm hatch. With 200bhp, the Peugeot 308 GT can’t match the latest hot hatchbacks for urge, but comfortably eclipses the average diesel repmobile.
Engine, transmission and 0-60 time
Peugeot’s familiar 1.6-litre THP unit provides the power – you’ll find it in everything from 208 GTis and RCZs to various models in Citroen’s range and the previous generation Mini Cooper S.
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In this application, its 202bhp is developed at 6000rpm and supported by 210lb ft of torque that kicks in at just 1750rpm. The car will do 146mph and sprint to 62mph in a claimed 7.5 seconds if you’re a dab hand with the six-speed manual gearbox, and there really isn’t much excuse because the shift action is as light and slick as they come.
There’s a less powerful but torquier diesel and an SW wagon plumping out the line-up too.
Along with the mildly sporting wheels, spoilers and interior, there are broadly spaced faux exhaust tails that venture nowhere near the actual exhaust pipe and wouldn’t look out of place on an AMG Mercedes. Mixed messages? Nothing so clumsy. Just well-chosen veneers expertly matched to preserve the illusion of hard-knuckled exuberance without quite having the wherewithal to go there.
If you press a button on the centre console near the stubby gearlever, you can have a gruffer, electronically manipulated engine note piped through the speakers in the door panels.
What’s it like to drive?
Inside, Peugeot’s current obsession with dinky steering wheels, high-set instruments and jumbo touchscreens is still contentious for some, but the layout works and does look strikingly different in a world of rather formulaic go-faster interiors. The fit and quality of the materials are also conspicuously good.
As, for the most part, is the driving experience, so long as you’ve taken the trouble to manage your expectations. Perhaps the best thing about the chassis is the way it negotiates the sweet spot between pliancy and precision. It used to be Peugeot’s ‘thing’ and it’s evident here. There are proper hot hatches that will serve up more initial excitement and involvement, but I reckon the 308 GT would have their measure on rough roads, staying composed and unruffled over bumps and ruts that can jar so rudely on stiff springs and dampers.
No, the 308 GT doesn’t have quite as much outright grip or the hair-trigger transient responses, but there’s nothing wrong with its helm, which is quick, accurate, well weighted and communicative. The GT turns in keenly and, another bygone Peugeot trick, can transform understeer into oversteer with the throttle alone, albeit not as suddenly as the infamously snappy 205 GTI of yore. In short, the 308 GT flows well and has fine roll-on pace, which goes a long way to nullifying any perceived shortfall in straight-line thump.
Not that it feels that much. The THP engine has an excellent spread of power and torque, to the point where it almost doesn’t feel like a turbocharged unit. Peak twist arrives at just 1750rpm, but the motor spins smoothly and eagerly to 5500rpm before the urge begins to tail off.
Price and rivals
Costing £24,095, you can certainly buy more power and performance for your money (Ford Focus ST, SEAT Leon Cupra et al) but the Peugeot nudges attention away from raw stats with a very smart cabin, plenty of standard kit and even a little Audi‑esque sophistication in the form of all-LED headlights.
A five-door hatchback with 202bhp no longer cuts it as ‘hot’. If you merely crave an easy life that’s slightly less ordinary, however, the 308 GT is just about perfect.
|Engine||In-line 4-cyl, 1598cc, turbo|
|Power||202bhp @ 6000rpm|
|Torque||210lb ft @ 1750-4500rpm|
|Top speed||146mph (claimed)|