The 2018 Peugeot 308 GTi 270 is one of my favourite French cars of all time.
The brand is the world’s oldest car manufacturer, a fact most people don’t know.
270 refers to horsepower, a term Australia hasn’t used since shortly after the days of pounds, shillings, and pence. 270hp equates roughly to 200kW, a term we are more familiar with.
I’ve driven the Peugeot 308 GTi many times over the years both on road and track and it is an absolute peach.
Peugeot is an old hand at hot-hatching. It’s 205GTi was an early foray into the world of lads with jauntily worn caps, thick gold chains, and branded sneakers.
The handsome face of the 2nd generation 308 is a far cry from the dower, dowdy, and dull 1st iteration.
LEDs front and back not only give brighter, longer lasting light, but it gives Peugeot a chance to include signatures.
Angry brows of DTRLs at the front, and Cats Claw tail lights which look like paws gripping the rear corners.
A deep curve cut a line through the bumper, under the grille and up into the headlights.
Another deep sculptural detail defines the upper and lower doors to give an otherwise plain side profile a forceful “fast” effect.
308 looks like it is moving even when standing still.
19” Carbone wheels with Michelin Super Pilot tyres look like a turbo blade dipped in vegemite.
Front wheels have discs the size of dinner plates (380mm) with 4 piston Peugeot Sport brakes.
The latter are painted in “look at me I have a sports car” red. Everyone knows you go faster with red.
There is a 5 grand optional two-tone paint job which is unique.
Both colours are painted over the undercoat. It isn’t simply one colour painted over the top of the other.
It is technically precise, just like the rest of the GTi.
A tasty cabin is mostly good news.
1st generation i-Cockpit doesn’t look quite a good as that in 3008 and 5008, but is still pretty damned cool.
i-cockpit consists of a small steering wheel with a couple of angular chunks carved out of a dash behind it.
At first, looking over the top of a tiny steering wheel feels completely horrible. If you allow yourself, it quickly becomes second nature.
It’s instruments are a couple of dials for speed and engine revs with an LCD mini screen in between.
It displays information like distance and fuel usage, or more importantly, a digital speedo.
The whole thing glows angry red when the Sport button is pressed.
The dial needles take some getting used to though. Instead of both reading from left to right, they rotate towards the centre, from pointing outwards, to pointing inwards towards each other.
Mood lighting is subtle. LEDs allows lots of flexibility. Glowing from places once not possible, dashboard, footwells, trim all have highlights from direct and indirect sources.
The effect is hypnotic at night, especially around with perimeter of the sunroof.
Deep sculptured sports seats are far more comfortable than they look.
With red stitching, the leather/Alcantara saddles have a massage function and heating. Red stitching continues around the gear stick boot.
With 6 speeds, it sits at just the right height with nice short throws between gears.
A 9.7” touch screen has direct access button to switch between functions.
Sat-nav with voice control is standard, as is phone mirroring, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
- Speed sign recognition
- Premium sound system
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Driver attention alert
- High beam assistant
- Auto lights/wipers
- Semi-automated parking
- Rear camera with all-round sensors
- Blind spot monitor
- Enhanced sports exhaust (louder in sport mode)
Here is a quick summary of 2018 updates:
- Vehicle facelift included black chrome grille, new front spoiler etc.
- Additional tech added: Active Lane Keep Assist, Active Blind Spot Monitoring (will steer you back to lane), Speed Sign Recognition, Driver Attention Alert, Smart Beam
- Warranty was increased from 3 year/100,000km to 5 year/ unlimited KM
- Price was revised down by $4,000 from $49,990 to $45,990
Drive and Engine
Peugeot 308 GTi 270 pairs the superb Peugeot Sport 200kw/330Nm 1.6L turbo 4 cylinder to a slick 6 speed manual.
There is no automatic transmission here. If you don’t like to shift ‘em yourself, move on.
At 125kW per litre, Peugeot says this is the highest output in the segment. Move over Golf.
There is no rev matching as seen in Honda’s Type R and others. If there was, 308 GTi would be near perfect.
Peugeot steering is great as it is, but that fettled by Peugeot Sport is a thing to behold. It is sharp without being alarming.
Calibration of the electric assistance gives the right balance between “feel” and useability. It is predictable.
Once in Sport Mode, a raspy note around back (fake, but who cares) heralds a sense of anticipation.
Everything tightens and gets urgent. Steering and throttle go a all mental. Traction control is best left on, and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.
Suspension remains on the comfortable side of hard, just. GTi sits 11mm lower than the regular car so a slightly lower centre of gravity drives better, and looks better.
Shift in to 1st and let loose the dogs of war.
Hit the corners, and the sharpness of the chassis puts the hatch into a stance that propels like a sling shot.
A Torsen LSD (Limited Slip Diff) helps stop drive wheels from slipping. This differs from cars which use ABS as an “electronic LSD” to imitate a mechanical setup.
Cruise control keeps careful track of your speed but in a manual needs the Nms to keep the wheels rolling up steep hills without running out of puff.
Unlike an auto, if the speed drops off too much, you need to shift down yourself. When you do, cruise will need resuming.
As long as there is tarmac to be had, there is nothing this car can’t do.
- Active Blind spot monitor/assist
- Lane Monitor/control
- 6 airbags
- Active high beam assist with auto dusk sensing
- Traction control with ABS
- Torsen Limited Slip Differential
- Sexy looks
- Superb drive
- Apple CarPlay
Not So Good Bits
- Cup holder drives me spare
- Centre stack looks odd
- Cruise controls on hidden stalk
Peugeot have kept the 308 GTi fresh and relevant, but hot hatches are not for everyone. Despite that, they have the advantage of 5 doors and the convenience of fold down read seats.
It performs like a quick coupe, but is a tiny four-cylinder turbo which appeals when it comes time to find a fuel bowser.
I had to dig deep to find something I didn’t like. The small/short cup holders, cruise controls, and centre stack are minor niggles that are more talking points than deal breakers.
Any foibles vanish once the engine starts.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Peugeot 308 GTi 270
- Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder turbo petrol producing 200kW/330Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Warranty: 5/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: France
- Price: from $45,990