Everyone has a Peugeot GTI story of one kind or another, be it with a 106, 205, 306 or maybe even 505; the 208 came good in the end too, for younger enthusiasts. Far fewer of us, though, will fondly recall a Peugeot XS of any kind. Because where hot hatches are concerned, a GTI badge matters and power is typically priority number one. You only need look at the debate that continues about which 205 GTI is best for proof of that.
For the dedicated few, however - i.e. for those who really know their French fancies - a 205 XS like this is a special little car. Back when a junior performance variant was required, something a little easier to buy and insure than the 1.6- and 1.9-litre icons, Peugeot did rather more than just stick some decals on a 1.4. The XS got a twin-carb version of the 1,360cc XY engine, meaning 80hp when a normal 1.4 made do with a puny 71; the gear ratios of the five-speed gearbox were closer to take full advantage, and it was even lighter than a regular 205, at 820kg. All Peugeot 205s were entertaining, and the GTIs undoubtedly deserve their recognition, but the XS was no lesser sibling.
Which is why, back when they were cheap, XS 205s were used for sprints, hillclimbs, rallies - whatever four-wheeled jape they were eligible for, basically, because they were great fun and readily available. “I bought my one for £300” said PHer cknotty in this thread about the XS. He added: It had done a fair few road rallies - 12 - and the rear beam somehow wasn't knackered! Mind you, was on its 2nd engine and 3rd gearbox by the time it got to me”. Which isn't an unusual tale of XS ownership back in the good old days.
It makes this 205 especially rare, particularly as a Phase 1 car; the Phase 2 cars used the later TU engine that is typically preferred. But there’s no such thing as an undesirable XS, whether XY or TU powered, and this looks a fine example of the breed. It’s only had three owners in 35 years, and covered just 80,000 miles in that time as well.
It’s charmingly standard, as well, right down to the Philips radio and steel wheels; even the XS decals have survived three and half decades in Britain. The advert suggests some recent expenditure, too, including an overhaul in 2020 (new Bilstein dampers, brakes, top mounts, springs, exhaust) as well a new fuel pump, rebuilt carbs, fresh seat foam and service this year. Finding a 205 XS at all is notable in 2022; one in this condition is extraordinary.
Which, of course, means nobody will be paying £300 for it. Or even £3,000. The XS is for sale at £8,990, a number that will likely surprise even in the current climate. Because most of us just remember the XS being cheap and fun, then forgetting about it because none were around, only to return to one offered at the best part of £10k. That said it remains cheaper than comparable GTIs (and even later 106s now) as well as likely rarer than all of them, too. And carbs are cool, right? With the recent work completed this XS ought to be ready and raring to go for whatever adventures its new owner has planned. Just make sure the stories to be told in future aren’t the usual fast and French ones - spoiling something this good would be a tragedy.
SPECIFICATION | PEUGEOT 205 XS
Engine: 1,360cc, four-cyl, twin carburettors
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 80@5,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 81@2,800rpm
Year registered: 1987
Recorded mileage: 80,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £8,990
1 / 6