The 308 GTi’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine may not be as large as its rivals but it certainly produces the numbers. It puts out 266bhp at 6000rpm and 243lb ft of torque between 1900-5500rpm.That’s enough to propel the 308 from 0-62mph in 6 seconds.
It feels every bit as strong as the figures suggest, too. Driven around on the ample mid range torque, the engine feels muscular and helps you make brisk progress. Rev the engine to its 6500rpm limit and it exposes another, more rabid side to its character; the last quarter of the rev range makes the 308 explode forward.
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There is an elastic feeling to the engine’s delivery, but the wave of torque that the turbocharger adds comes in a predictable fashion. This means you can easily use the throttle to either stay on the engine’s more placid side, or unleash its full potency whenever you choose.
The 308 can often feel traction limited on cold and wet tarmac and you frequently hold back from deploying the full boost. However, you can anticipate the wave of torque from the engine well and that means you can modulate the throttle, easily keeping wheelspin to a minimum.
The 308 GTi also has a sport mode that adds more noise into the cabin while also turning the dials red, altering the steering weight and changing the throttle map. Sadly the noise that’s generated with the mode activated sounds synthetic and the all red dials make it difficult to instantly see where the rev limit is.