2016 Peugeot 308 GTI 270 review
Isaac Bober’s 2016 Peugeot 308 GTI 270 review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The 2016 Peugeot 308 GTI 270 offers a roomy, classy interior, plenty of grunt, and good handling.
2016 Peugeot 308 GTI 270
Price from $49,990+ORC Warranty three years, 100,000km Safety 5 star ANCAP Engine 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol Power/Torque 200kW/300Nm Transmission six-speed manual Body 4253mm (L); 2043mm – including mirrors (W); 1446mm (H) Weight 1205kg Fuel Tank 53 litres Thirst 6.0L/100km combined
THE PEUGEOT 308 GTi arrived back in Australia earlier this year after the 15-year absence of a sporting 3-0 model, the last was the 306 Rallye. Available in two output levels which are marked as GTi 250 and GTi 270, the new 308 GTi is much more than just a cosmetic package. The base model is the GTi 250 which offers 180kW and is aimed at, according to Peugeot, ‘tourers’, but our tester is the GTi 270 which gets another 16kW to make 200kW, bigger brakes, and a Torsen limited-slip differential.
According to Peugeot the 270 will appeal to “enthusiasts”… the icing on the cake is the fact it comes exclusively with a six-speed manual. And what does GTi stand for? Grand Tourer Injection, although that doesn’t sound quite as cool as just saying GTi.
What is it?
Pricing for both variants of the Peugeot 308 GTi come in under $50,000, although without taking on-road costs into account. They list from $44,990+ORC for the 308 GTi 250 and $49,990+ORC for the 308 GTi 270. Based on price, size and performance, the 308 GTi goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI which lists from $41,340+ORC for the manual variant, as well as the recently launched Subaru Levorg which has a bigger bum and, which based on equipment alone is closest to the Peugeot in its GT-S trim, which is priced from $48,890+ORC.
What’s it like?
We tested the 308 GTi 270 for a week and it certainly looks the part. Sitting 11mm lower to the ground than its garden variety siblings, the 308 GTi looks quietly mean, with its arch-filling 19-inch alloys and Michelin Super Sport tyres and a body kit that gives the thing a hunkered down look without being shouty.
The body comes in six colours: the new, specially developed Ultimate Red ($1700), Pearlescent White, Magnetic Blue, Pearlescent Nera Black, Cumulus (Metallic grey) and Hurricane Grey. And the GTi 270 variant, to undo the restrained exterior design, can be had in half black and half red (see picture above), which Peugeot calls Coupe Franche, but which I’d call, too much. It also costs a staggering $4700. The panoramic glass roof costs $1200.
Styling is something that’s always in the eye of the beer holder, I mean, beholder, but I reckon the 308 GTi looks more expensive than it is, and certainly manages to put the Levorg in the shade as far as looks go. And that’s the same on the inside, where the 308 GTi makes use of the standard 308 dash design, i-Cockpit in Peugeot-speak, with the 9.7-inch touchscreen as its focal point at the centre of the dashboard – this offers sat-nav and the usual Bluetooth and audio streaming connectivity.
The dashboard itself offers an uncluttered design where most of the functions are controlled via the touchscreen. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a little clutter if it meant you could have separate controls for the climate system; having to control it via the touchscreen is a real pain in the backside. Beyond that the system works pretty well, although we didn’t settle in for a full test of its functionality.
For the driver, there’s a ‘smaller’ steering wheel which feels nice and chunky in the hand but the 308 GTi is hamstrung by the same issue as other variants and that is that the steering wheel position, no matter how you adjust it, always ends up hiding the speedo. Luckily, the 308 GTi offers a heads-up instrument cluster which gets around this, it offers a digital readout on the colour LCD screen between the analogue displays which is easier to see on the fly. The general cabin quality and materials used is right up there with anything from Volkswagen, Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, yes, this is a nice, tactile and high-quality interior.
There’s a Sports button down on the centre console near the gear lever which, when pressed, changes the colour of the display from white to red, which looks cool and not as gimmicky as it might sound, and displays information, including power, torque boost, lateral and longitudinal acceleration), it also adds a bit of meat to the exhaust note (although this is only on the inside, yes, the noise is enhanced) and changes the throttle mapping, meaning higher revs for the same speed.
The driving position is pretty good, although you never really feel like you can get the seat low enough or the steering high enough, but it’s hair splitting. The alcantara-covered bucket seats are grippy, although the high thigh support can make clambering out, ahem, interesting. A decent glasshouse and big wing mirrors mean that vision all around is good with a clear line of sight to the edges of the bonnet; too many cars have the bonnet disappear and give the impression of being in a computer game.
Over in the back seat there’s room for three adults, although the one sat in the middle will need to share legroom with both outboard passengers and the seat isn’t as comfortable as those to either side. So, two adults in the back would be better. I installed two child seats, a booster and a harness style seat, and both of my larger-than-average children had good head and legroom.
The boot offers 435 litres with the rear seats in place, but grows to 820 with them folded and loaded to the window line only, and 1309 litres to the roof. So, in terms of boot space it’s not quite as roomy as the rear of the Levorg which offers 522 litres, but the space is a good shape and will hold a weekly shop easily, or the luggage for a family of four, or a set of golf clubs. We didn’t try and fit a bike, but the size and shape of the boot opening should allow you to fit one in without too much dismantling.
To the engine. As mentioned earlier the 308 GTi 270 runs a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 200kW at 6000rpm and 330Nm of torque from 1900-4000rpm (the power output is higher in the 270, but torque is the same). The GTi 270 will sprint to 100km/h in 6.0 seconds, but there’s more to the speed of a car than just its acceleration, and you can only get the 308 GTi with a six-speed manual transmission. The gearbox is borrowed from the Peugeot RCZ-R but has been tweaked to handle the higher and more sustained torque output of 330Nm. The engine is Euro-6 compliant, for those who follow this sort of thing, while fuel consumption is a combined 6L/100km. This marries with the 6.2L/100km we achieved across 600km – it will run on 95RON, but Peugeot recommends 98RON.
The engine is strong from the moment you move away from the kerb right the way through the rev range, accumulating speed like something with a much larger engine. And then, once you press the Sport button it feels even zestier with revs rising for the same speed as in Normal mode.
While some buyers will back away from the 308 GTi 270 because it can’t be had with an automatic, I’m glad they’ve stuck with a manual only. It’s just a shame that the manual, and the steering too, didn’t cop the same treatment as the engine and chassis. The manual lacks any definition in the shift and comes off feeling a little rubbery. That said, the throw is short and the clutch is well matched to provide quick, if dull, shifts that keep the engine singing.
Indeed, drop through the cogs from, say, sixth to fourth to overtake up a hill and the thing will push you back into the seat as it leaps ahead. It’s an intoxicating feeling that’s missing in too many performance cars at this end of the market, like the Levorg which offers similar power and feels quick but it never thumps you in the chest with its acceleration.
The steering, like the gearshift is just okay. It’s direct and quick in its action but there’s no feel and the weight tends to build abnormally off centre. This is exacerbated when Sport mode is selected where the steering becomes noticeably heavy and not in a sporty, feelsome way.
Peugeot has done a great job on the chassis which runs different springs and dampers and a wider front track compared to the garden-variety 308. And the body control is excellent, even as the surface quality deteriorates the 308 GTi will smother the bumps and humps without becoming twitchy. Indeed, the suspension is, next to the engine, the car’s highlight. The ride is excellent, offering an accuracy that’s equal to its rivals, like the Golf GTI, and yet better than some of them, like the Subaru Levorg GT-S, as well as a well-damped suppleness that makes this such an enjoyable car to drive all the time.
Even at around town speeds the Peugeot 308 GTi feels special thanks to its easy and bullish-feeling acceleration as well as its sporting (but still supple) ride. One thing that stood out was the lack of torque steer when you stand on the throttle from a low gear and the same goes for understeer; even when pushed the 308 GTi will hold its chosen line, the limited-slip differential helping to get power down without scrabbling.
Despite my issue with the steering and gearbox, the Peugeot 308 GTi 270 is a very engaging driver’s car and, without having driven them all back-to-back, possibly more so than its key competitors. Yes, even the Golf GTI. I’m not saying it’s quicker than that car, but I am suggesting it’s a more engaging car to drive.
As far as safety goes, the Peugeot 308 GTi carries the same five star ANCAP rating as the rest of the 308 range, gets bigger brakes, a limited-slip differential and both traction and stability controls (stability control can be completely switched off). It also gets six airbags, reversing camera with front parking sensors, full LED (62) headlights and more.
Peugeot 308 GTi key features:
308 GTi 250:
- 1.6L, in-line four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine developing 184kW and 330Nm (between 1,900-4,000rpm)
- Strengthened six-speed manual gearbox
- Peugeot Sport-tuned suspension with 11mm drop in ride height, with bespoke suspension geometry
- 330mm brake discs front and 268mm at the rear
- 18” Diamant alloy wheels
- Driver Sport Pack (via button on the centre console)
- Red illuminated instrument display
- Readouts for power and torque delivery, turboboost,and longitudinal and transverse acceleration Firmer and more responsive power steering
- More responsive electronic accelerator pedal mapping
- Unique GTi front and rear bumpers, with equaliser grille and red highlights (chrome highlight on Ultimate Red and Coupe Franche)
- Dual–circular chrome exhaust
- GTi badges (rear, sides, steering wheel and door sills)
- Red stitching highlights on dashboard, door panels, gear leaver gaiter, and seats
- GTi head-up instrument display, with colour LCD screen
- Satellite navigation
- 9.7-inch touchscreen with “Redline” red and black theme
- Rear-view camera with front parking sensors
- Jukebox music storage, and CD player
- Two USB ports
- Rear privacy glass
- Sport seats in TEP and Alcantara with contrasting red stitching
- Open & Go keyless entry and push-button start
- Alloy pedals and GTi emblazoned door sills and GTi floor mats with red stitching
- Full LED headlights with integrated Daytime Running Light
- Sequential indicators above air scoops
- Black lacquered mirror shells and rear diffuser
- Automatic ‘Follow Me Home’ lighting function
- Electric folding mirrors with puddle lamps
- Programmable cruise control with speed-limiter
- Electric parking brake surrounded by brushed aluminium centre console
- Interior mood lighting, LED front and rear courtesy lamps
308 GTi 270:
- Upgraded drivetrain developing an extra 16kW (200kW total), peak torque extended to between 19-5500rpm
- Torsen limited-slip differential (LSD)
- Upgraded 380mm, four piston front braking package
- 19-inch ‘Carbone’ light-weight alloy wheels with Michelin Super Sport 235/35 R19 91Y tyres
- Peugeot Sport high-back sport seats front with electric lumbar support and massage function