Engine and gearbox
Making use of PSA’s best arsenal of engines, the 308 has a good spread of three and four-cylinder engines on offer. As previously mentioned, the 1.2-litre non-turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine is best left alone, as it just does not have the grunt to keep up with motorway traffic.
Let Peugeot bolt on a turbo and performance considerably improves, with the biggest gains felt in the extra torque turning the 1.2 turbo into a sweet little performer. Turbo versions also pick up a useful sixth gear for the manual gearbox, with the same engine available with an Aisian sourced six-speed automatic gearbox.
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GT models are available with a 1.6-litre turbo petrol matched to a manual gearbox or 2.0-litre diesel paired exclusively to an automatic. The petrol is the same unit found in some Mini products and throughout the PSA range so is spritely and feels about right for its 197bhp. The diesel is torquey and well suited to the relaxed automatic gearbox, but it doesn’t have the outright punch of the similarly priced Golf GTD, nor is it as impressively frugal as lesser 1.6 diesel models further down the range.
Peugeot initially brought out a GTi model in two states of tune, but has since dropped the lower powered 247bhp model and now only offers the 266bhp range topper. Utilising the same basic 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine as lower down the range, the GTi’s extra power is delivered courtesy of a larger turbo, forged pistons, strengthened conrods and reinforced retaining bolts. More than just a lift in boost as compared to lesser models, the engine is a stonker and only improved by the slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox. For those after a VW style dual-clutch automatic option, they will be disappointed, but the manual is good enough for it not to be a problem.