Gauntlet to new Clio RS is thrown by Peugeot; a new hot-hatch rivalry is born
2013 could well be the year that the Renaultsport Clio 200 loses its small hot hatch crown; not only does it see the launch of a new Ford Fiesta ST, the Peugeot 208 GTI also reaches Britain.
It looks good, but how will it drive?
Official pictures released by Peugeot ahead of the car's expected debut at the Paris Motor Show give plenty to be excited by. The GTI sits lower than the standard car on tracks widened by 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear. 302mm (front) and 249mm (rear) brakes can be seen through 17-inch wheels, whilst a twin exhaust and a discreet bodykit certainly give the 208 GTI an air of sporting intent. It's even got the model designation on the C-pillar, and we all know which car that's intended to evoke memories of...
The 208 GTI is powered by the same 1.6-litre turbocharged engine also found in the Mini Cooper S and Citroen DS3. Here it produces 200hp and 203lb ft of torque, which allows for a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds, according to Peugeot. Though it hasn't released an official top speed, a figure around 140mph is likely. Breathing through a reworked exhaust system, Peugeot claims an "appealing sound that delights the ears at all
GTI addenda is subtle
engine speeds". We'll have to take their word for it until next year...
Peugeot appears to have gone to great lengths underneath the 208 GTI to produce a rewarding car. It features recalibrated (read firmer) springs and dampers, a new anti-roll bar, and an increase in stiffness for both the front subframe and rear crossmember. Moreover, at 1,160kg, the 208 GTI is 80kg lighter than a Renaultsport Clio 200. Peugeot also proudly boasts of a fully switchable ESP system, a welcome concession to the likes of us and hopefully a sign of confidence in the car's abilities.
For the interior, the transformation from standard 208 to GTI is as you would expect of a hot hatch makeover; aluminium pedals and gearknob, flat-bottomed steering wheel and
Read-over-the-wheel instruments remain
some extra splashes of colour on the leather seats.
Prices are yet to be confirmed but expect it to be north of the £17,930 Renault asks for the Clio 200 and probably nearer the £19,555 of the VW Polo GTI. Exciting times and a hopeful return to GTI glory for Peugeot then. But, hang on, who else is that coming to Paris? Ah yes, the all-new, turbocharged, twin-clutched Renaultsport Clio. Game on!
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