Peugeot Sport 208 GTI: PH Fleet

In little over a month, I've somehow managed to rack up over 2,500 miles in KR67 DHD. It has surpassed my expectations and every one of those miles has been even more enjoyable than I was hoping.

My intention for this article was to tell you more about what it's like on the road, but that's going to have to wait, as we took it out on our track day at Goodwood before Christmas. And it was bloody brilliant. Amazingly for the end of December we had a dry day, but a treacherously icy track. It wasn't looking great, but at 10:30 the sun had melted most of the ice and the track was open.

The first couple of sessions were used cautiously to get a feel for the conditions, how the car handled under gradually harder braking and, more importantly, what it was like being pushed around corners. With barely any run off and little room for error at Goodwood, no one wants to be locking up or spinning off at Woodcote. Or anywhere, for that matter. By midday the circuit was bone dry and I could really up the pace. It's such a thoroughly rewarding car to drive on track. The steering is fast and sensitive to your inputs although not particularly forgiving of aggressive driving, so you really have to focus on being smooth to extract the best performance. In turn its agility and ability to change direction quickly is really satisfying and quite hilarious at times too.

It really does like to dance around, but in an enjoyable and predictable way, not a 'which way is it going to chuck me off' way. This inherent mobility is assisted by the grip from thePilot Super Sports, which gave plenty of confidence even before the track had fully thawed out. I'll probably bang on about this a lot, but the shining star in this car for me is the Torsen limited-slip differential. I was using third to enter Lavant, building acceleration and feeling that diff pull me through the right-hander before being projected down the straight. There was a balance to find between accelerating through a corner to get the diff to bite and the classic front-wheel drive understeer, but it came quite easily.

Hitting 125mph before standing on the brakes into Woodcote, the car would shuffle and need correcting at times, perhaps encouraged by its short wheelbase and so much weight transferring to the front wheels, but it would allow me to trail brake without getting too hairy. Heading into the chicane I was really impressed with just how pointy the front end was on the brakes before getting back on the power down the straight. The brakes are mightily impressive too, helped by the sub-1,200kg kerbweight. They didn't fade all day and pulled the car up when it mattered every time.

We were lucky to have a new Honda Civic Type R with us on the day too. While I'm not going to directly compare two cars that are quite different in performance, price and offering, the Civic didn't leave the 208 feeling as if it were lacking. There was no surprise, however, to find the Honda significantly faster and more composed on track. It was so planted, confidence inspiring and more forgiving, yet I felt like it still had more to give. On the other hand in the Peugeot, I felt like a hero wringing each and every one of its 208 horsepower out of the engine, demanding more finesse and skill than the Honda through the corners and under braking. The Civic was undoubtedly the better car to drive, but the 208 stole the show for raw entertainment.

Suffice it to say I can't wait for my next track outing, and I'm looking forward to this dreary weather clearing up. It's a car that is better suited to twisty corners than long straights, and with Brands Hatch close by (as well as being perfectly suited), I'm aiming to get it out there soon to make the most of the little Pug while I have it. Has Peugeot found its long lost GTI mojo again? It would certainly seem so!

 2017 Peugeot 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport
Run by: Ben
On fleet since: November 2017
Mileage: 2,816 (delivered on 139)
List price new: £23,550 (As tested £24,250 comprising £250 for Peugeot Connect SOS & Assistance, £250 for Active City Brake and £200 for Reversing Camera)
Last month at a glance: Good at Goodwood? It's great!

Previous reports:
2018 is a big year for hot hatches - can any beat our current favourite?

Track photos: Chris Teagles

P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (22) Join the discussion on the forum

  • great_kahn 05 Jan 2018

    24k, wow.

  • ShoooRn 05 Jan 2018

    I loved the idea of the 208 when it first popped out it's head and Peugeot seemed to be doing the right things again but I honestly cannot see the real benefits of the Peugeot over the fiesta ST. To me unless the ride is better (frenchies always seem to get the ride perfect) I can't see why you'd take it over the cheaper alternative.

    That said the new Fiesta doesn't do it for me so maybe the current 208 is a better buy?

  • Integroo 05 Jan 2018

    great_kahn said:
    24k, wow.
    6k less than a Golf GTI. Pricier than a Fiesta ST, but with 20bhp more.

  • lotusmad2001 05 Jan 2018

    I had a 208 GTi a couple of years back after selling my Clio 200 which had developed a gearbox problem they wouldn't cover on warranty (BTW Renault service is shocking for RS cars,told me not to rev the car so hard!!)

    The gearbox on the GTi had no problem, however, it had a long throw and quite a vague feel, pair this to a throttle response that was very flat and literally no induction or exhaust noise it fealt like I was driving a quick diesel rather than a hot hatchback.

    I had a 206 GTi 180 back in the day and that was much better yet got slated in the mags.

    I would love a drive in a PS GTi, however no one mentions the gearbox in the reviews, they still mention a poor throttle response mind.

    can't be too difficult to get right can it!?

    EDIT: oh and the worst sound system fitted to a car ever! dreadful!

  • AdriaanB 05 Jan 2018

    Being on that same track day, I was impressed by how quick that little Pug was!

View all comments in the forums Make a comment