Monday, 3 September 2012

Can the Peugeot 208 GTi really be as good as the 205 GTi?

AN Eighties hot hatch icon is back!

Well, sort of, if Peugeot's claims about the new 208 GTi are anything to go by. I was going to spare them the trouble of having their latest souped-up supermini compared with what enthusiasts rank as one of the greatest drivers' cars of all time, but the French firm have compared the new arrival to its iconic ancestor by saying it "regenerates the values of the iconic 205 GTi".

Question is: will it?

Until someone's driven it hard on a bumpy, windy British B-road the jury's out but the signs are good - not only does its 1.6 litre petrol engine deliver a 200bhp punch, but it comes with more rigidity and sportier suspension than the hatchback it's based on, which means on paper at least it's making all the right noises to hot hatch fans (i.e people like me). It's also, at less than 1,200kg, lighter than the car it replaces and equipped

More encouraging still however is the precedent set by models which don't come with those three little letters on the bootlid - if efforts like the 508 are anything to go by, Peugeot is back on form when it comes to making motors that steer and handle properly. In particularly, the agonisingly pretty RCZ coupe I drove two years ago is a cracker to drive - perhaps not as polished as, say, a VW Scirocco, but it's still a car in which you look forward to a tight corner.

Will the GTi stack up to the almost impossibly tall order as being as good as the 205 GTi? Fingers crossed I'll get a go, because I'd love to let you know...

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