Quick fact, the Peugeot 208 GTi is the sixth hot hatch GTi model Peugeot offers. Apart from the legendary 205 GTi, the other GTi models can be summarized as lukewarm. The Peugeot 205 GTi’s spiritual successor is the Peugeot 206 GTi, which was also lukewarm at best. Now, Peugeot has the 208 GTi, and can it live up to the hype?
From the outside, the Peugeot 208 GTi is very unassuming, almost understated in a way. The only hints of performance on the outside are the larger rims, which measure in at 17-inches (5-door 208 has 16-inch rims, while the 3-door 208 has 17-inch wheels, but with a different design) and several (read: 3) GTi emblems. The rest of the exterior is pretty much the same as the regular 208. Buyers still get the same LED daytime running lights up front which frankly looks really good, as well as LED rear tail lights.
Like the Peugeot 205 GTi, the modern 208 GTi also features various red details, like the red painted brake calipers and the rear lower part of the front grille. Even the emblems are finished in red. On the Rouge Red 208 GTi we have here, the red detailing on the front grille is not that obvious, however.
The 17-inch Carbone Technical Grey alloy wheels are wrapped with sticky 205/45/R17 Michelin Pilot Exalto rubbers. The wheels do add to the looks of the Peugeot 208 GTi very well, adding some aggressiveness from the side profile. The chrome silver side mirrors are a nice touch as well.
The red theme continues inside, with a nice ombré finishing on the dashboard and door handles. The Peugeot 208 GTi has a nice pair of semi-bucket seats up front, with appropriate GTi words embossed. The leather-wrapped semi-bucket seats are finished with red inserts and offer excellent support. The dashboard has soft touch material, and finished with some nice red stitching.
The meters up front too, have received similar GTi treatment, as the outer rings of the meter cluster featuring red illumination. Even the steering wheel is now chunkier and feature a lone GTi emblem at the bottom. For those concerned, yes the Peugeot 208 GTi’s steering has reach and height adjustment. Smaller details, like the red inserts on the seat belts are a nice touch.
The 7-inch LCD touchscreen display has features that buyers have come to expect from such a car, including satellite navigation, USB integration and Bluetooth connectivity. Sound system is courtesy of Arkamys with 6 built-in speakers.
Any hot-hatch worth its salt would have to be relatively light, paired to an decently powerful engine. For the Peugeot 208 GTi, the 1.6 L turbocharged Prince engine, features direct-injection, variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger. This engine is called the THP200, and produces a maximum of 200 horsepower at 5,500 rpm. This particular Prince engine is shared with the Peugeot RCZ, Peugeot 308 GTi and the Citroën DS4. Being a true driver’s car, only a six-speed manual transmission is offered here, which offers smooth and precise gear shifting. Launch the 208 GTi correctly, it can hit 100 km/h in just 6.8 seconds.
Behind the wheel, the Peugeot 208 GTi is quite a thing, as the full 275 Nm of torque is readily available from just 1,700 rpm, and overtaking has never been easier. Driving the 208 GTi also requires a lot of self-discipline, as any heavy footed driver will get a speeding ticket sooner than expected. Wind noise is quite apparent from speeds of above 160 km/h, but the little 208 GTi still remains nicely planted thanks to its widened front and rear track (10 mm up front, 20 mm at the rear).
Where the 208 GTi can truly call home are the twisty roads, as it rides 8 mm lower than its standard counterpart, but with stiffer shocks all round, as well as thicker and stiffer anti-roll bars. However, the steering of the 208 GTi does not offer much road feedback, largely due to the nature of the electric power steering. Despite that, the steering is very precise and predictable, with the front end of the 208 GTi responding to very minute steering adjustments.
The chassis of the Peugeot 208 GTi feels nice and planted through corners, without any hints that it uses a rear torsion beam set up. Push into a corner too hard, and the 208 GTi gradually understeers, but that is easily recovered, without much drama. Only when going through small bumps will the rear end feel trashy, but we deduce this could be caused by the low profile tires.
On a daily drive basis, the Peugeot 208 GTi is not too hard to live with, as the clutch is not too heavy, while the earlier-mentioned steering is light enough for daily driving. The small size of the car means that maneuvering the car around tight spots is not an issue, and parking the 208 GTi, despite not having any rear cameras, is not hard at all. It does offer front and rear parking sensors with audio and visual assistance to help drivers into tighter parking spots.
Safety wise, the locally-assembled Peugeot 208 GTi does offer a decent amount of kit, with 6 airbags, Anti-lock Braking Systen (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Anti Skid Regulation (ASR), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP). Though largely irrelevant, the rear seats do offer ISOFIX mounts for child seats.
The Peugeot 208 GTi retails for RM139,888, on the road without insurance, making it the cheapest new hot hatch you can get on our local market. Nasim is offering a 5-year warranty with unlimited mileage for their cars, which also includes Peugeot’s 24-hour Assistance service. This should ensure a trouble-free ownership for potential buyers.
So does the Peugeot 208 GTi live up to the hype? In short, yes. It has enough power to overtake most cars on the road, coupled with it’s superb road handling and attractive price-tag, Nasim does have a winner on hand. The 208 GTi can put a smile to those driving it, any time, any day.
In Detail: Peugeot 208 GTi
Price: RM139,888 (OTR w/o insurance)
Engine: 1.6 L inline-4 turbocharged THP200
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 275 Nm @ 1,700 rpm
Transmission: 6 speed close ratio manual
Top Speed: 230 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.8 seconds
Enjoy our photo gallery below.