Peugeot has updated its successful range 308 with a small facelift and the arrival of new technological improvements and equipment quite remarkable.
Logically that update also affects the sporty version, the Peugeot 308 GTi with 270 hp. To check what you are capable of, nothing better than taking a few turns as we have done to the Jarama Circuit.
The first thing that must be highlighted are the new systems that already incorporates the 308 GTi that is on sale in dealers for 32,050 dollars. In terms of security, it includes the novelties presented in the 3008 and 5008.
Distance Alert (warning of collision risk), Active Safety Brake (automatic emergency braking), warning of involuntary lane change with action in the address or warning of attention of the driver are just some of the novelties that incorporates from now on of active security.
But today what it is about, is to get the most out of it and see how sporty this model is, which they also say is perfectly useful for everyday life, as if it had two personalities, one when you take your children to school or go to make the purchase and another when you escape to your favorite stretch of curves or even a circuit.
A very French exterior, sober but provocative
In the pit lane of the Circuit del Jarama 10 units of the Peugeot 308 GTi perfectly aligned and gleaming. 270 horsepower to get the juice out in the always technical and fast Madrid layout.
In sight, the 308 GTi has a balance between sportiness and elegance, between sobriety and provocation. There are few aesthetic changes compared to a normal 308 compared to the previous generation, but they are enough for those who know how to appreciate a sports car enjoy them.
The specific front apron with larger air intakes painted in lacquered black and a small red profile, the Full LED lights with integrated profiles or the striking front grille in black with the Peugeot letters inscribed in red, mark the aggressive look that It deserves the surname GTi.
In the side view, the 308 GTi looks very compact, very consistent. In this version, the ground clearance is reduced by 11 mm compared to a normal 308, and the 19-inch wheels called Carbone19 are spectacular.
They are not just a whim, inside the house the powerful braking equipment specific to this version: 380 mm discs in front with red painted calipers and signed Peugeot Sport, while back discs have 268 mm.
In the rear, two exhaust outlets integrated in the bumper profile and the Peugeot logo in red are enough to show that the sporting aspect does not necessarily have to be achieved with excessive ailerons.
Details in red and two seats that wrap
If the exterior of the Peugeot 308 GTi is balanced between sportiness and sobriety, inside we find a degree of sportiness.
The main reason is the two spectacular seats that dominate the cabin, very enveloping and spectacular appearance. The quality they transmit is very high, being upholstered in a mixed leather-Alcantara®.
The black color has been applied to the rest of the cabin, including roof, which helps to achieve that sporty and sober atmosphere while being complemented with unique solutions such as white-spelled clocks in normal mode and red-dyed in Sport mode.
The small steering wheel of the 308, has in this version the central position marked in red, to match the seams that are distributed throughout the interior.
The door frames have silver plates with the inscriptions “Peugeot Sport” and “GTi” made in aluminum as well as the bottom bracket.
For the rest, the interior of the 308 GTi is as practical as any other version of the range, with its 420 liters of luggage compartment and always with access through the front and rear doors, as there is no body of three doors.
Three very intense batches in circuit
The most anticipated moment came after a briefing in which the makers of the brand revealed the main novelties of the new 308 GTi, a car that has been located since its launch in 2015 as the second best selling sports compact, just for behind the SEAT León Cupra.
We went down to the pit lane and I got to take the first car of the group of five that we are going to go out on track. We will drive without a reference car in front and with the only premise of respecting the two chicanes that had arranged at the end of the straight and before the Bugatti descent, the two fastest points of the route.
Finding a comfortable driving position is easy thanks to the steering wheel and seat settings. When the traffic light turns green, I go out to the track and then the surprise begins.
I had not had the opportunity until the moment to drive the 308 GTi, only Javier Álvarez had taken it on this same stage two years ago, and I honestly had some doubt about the kick that the 1.6 THP engine of 270 HP would have.
I thought that such a small displacement engine was going to perceive something just to move a car of this size, especially considering that many rivals resort to blocks two liters, but I admit that just after reaching the second corner I knew that I I had been wrong.
The 308 GTi runs a lot and does it with force from very low, with a traction capacity that surprises from the first moment.
The self-locking differential Torsen front tared to 35% is responsible for raising the battle between the tires and the asphalt, which seem to fight each other for the car to advance without concessions.
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The address is another of the aspects that call my attention the fastest. The small steering wheel with the flat lower part has a very characteristic touch and requires some adaptation, but once you have taken the measurement, it is surprising how communicative the steering.
The direction is very agile and precise and that makes driving with finesse is to sew and sing. The chassis is very stable, transmitting at all times that dose of confidence necessary to apply very high rhythms.
Going up the Pegaso Ramp, the engine climbs so hard that it seems to be warning me to never underestimate a small 1.6 THP born in Peugeot Sport.
I swear I will not do it again, because after climbing with my foot and putting fifth just before Ascari’s curves, I felt respect when facing those two fast right and left that do not allow any error.
Luckily, the chassis is so compensated, that you do not have to respect the time to support the strong car or to undertake the braking of the Equestrian, which I perform with stability and confidence.
In this sense, the braking team seemed to be at a high level, as it showed no sign of faintness throughout the round, scheduled three laps.
No doubt, they are some great first impressions, but there were still two more batches before the end of the day. I went back to the pits and when I did, I realized that the previous session had been done without the Sport mode activated.
Now in Sport mode
A snack, some fresh air and in less time than expected was again behind the wheel of another Peugeot 308 GTi, in this case with the blue and black bicolor paint, ready to go on track. This time I activated the Sport mode with the button located in the center console.
It is easy to know if you have it or not activated because the control panel is dyed in red and in the central screen three power diagrams, turbo pressure and engine torque are shown.
Green traffic light and I go out on track, this time closing the five-car squad. From the first measures, the Sport mode is perceived by a greater immediacy of the reactions.
It is enough to caress the accelerator to find an answer, the direction seems somewhat firmer and in general, the set transmits more confidence if it is possible to raise the intensity of the piloting two levels.
The fast corners can be taken at a very high rate, since there are hardly any oscillations of the body and the suspensions work so that the car goes on rails.
Those 11 millimeters of height of the body that have lowered, together with the stiffer front stabilizer are part of the key.
I arrived very fast at the Le Mans corners after leaving Varzi at a very high speed enjoying the sound of the engine, supported by the audio equipment, and I think it was at that point of the circuit where I fell hopelessly in love with the direction of the direction, precise and direct.
Just look at the vertex you want to address, put the steering wheel and the car makes you go through exactly the point you had in mind with millimeter precision.
The weight / power ratio is 4.6 Kg / hp, a really good record in which the use of a 1.6 engine instead of a two-liter, has a lot to do with it being able to approve only 1280 kilos of total weight of the whole.
The engine is very full from below, and the 330 Nm offered from 1900 RPM help to make it easy to take it fast even without always going in the optimum gear.
The maximum power is delivered very high, at 6,000 RPM, but up to that point, it is a delight to stretch each and every one of the six gears.
The gearshift has very short and precise travels, with a selector of those that do not give an error option: you start the gear and feel that you have gotten it into each change.
The official figures speak of 0 to 100 km / h in 6 seconds, 25.3 seconds in reaching 1,000 meters from a standstill and a maximum speed limit of 250 km / h.
Undoubtedly, all the figures that accompany the 308 GTi are in the background in a set that transite excellent sensations. In this case, after three rounds in circuit, I have no doubt, we are facing a Top 3 in its segment. Everyone who wants a compact sports car with two well-defined personalities, practice and sports, has a very good option in the Peugeot 308 GTi.
The Peugeot Sport firm is not alone in a marketing tool, in this case and just as it happened with his little brother the 208 GTi and the wonderful RCZ R, the competition department has made 32,050 dollars have one of the best compact sports market. And that, considering how big this segment is, is a lot to say.