Monday, 08 August 2022

If sport’s your thing, this hot hatch is a slam-dunk

WHICHEVER sport you play at school is likely to stay with you for the rest of your life.

WHICHEVER sport you play at school is likely to stay with you for the rest of your life.

For some, though, this can be traumatic. A South African friend of mine who boarded near Cape Town — his dad flew him to school from their farm in the veldt at the beginning of each term — hated sport but played a clever trick.

He worked his way up to head of house, then took on a sports administrative role that excused him from actually playing any sport for the rest of his school days.

For me, though, those sporting days were the best of my life. I was fortunate to attend a school in Reading that concentrated on rugby and my love of that sport has stayed with me ever since.

So it was a bit of a treat to see this week’s drive — a ravishing red new Peugeot 308 GTi — flitting across my TV screen recently at the start of the 2016 Six Nations Championship.

This northern hemisphere annual tournament is a great tonic, coming as it does in the usually dull grey months of February and March.

Peugeot sponsored the event on ITV, choosing the GTi to give it a bit of vim and vigour. And this car has that in abundance.

Consider this: according to Peugeot the 308 GTi 270 sets a new record for power-to-weight ratio in its segment and achieves 0-62mph in six seconds flat, covering 1,000 metres from a standing start in 25.3 seconds. Hot hatch indeed!

So when you get behind the wheel of the 308 GTi, you know it goes. But as you are no longer a boy racer there is also a keen sense of responsibility when driving this car.

This could be just me growing older, but as long as you are aware of the potential of a car such as this, then it is a highly enjoyable rocket ride.

It also has a rather nice sporty growl when you press the sport mode button: this elevates the performance beyond the norm.

It delivers the kind of thrust that catapults you along the aforementioned 1,000 metres or so at extraordinary speed.

To add a rugby analogy, it gives you the kind of instant burst of speed that Stuart Hogg of Scotland showed in one magical run against Ireland during the Six Nations.

A team at Peugeot Sport has developed the new 308 GTi. There is history here and a lot of it.

Since the launch of the legendary 205 GTi, the French carmaker has sold its sportier performance models to more than 800,000 customers.

These include the 206 GTi, 307 GTi, 309 GTi, 405 Mi16, the 505 GTi, and the 306 GTi-6.

More recently we had the 208 GTi, the RCZ R — a personal favourite of mine — and now the new 308 GTi.

The new car has a 1.6-litre engine that comes in two versions: 250hp and 270hp.

For a performance car it has its “greener” side: this Euro6 Stop & Start engine achieves CO2 emissions of 139g/km and 47.0mpg.

That last stat (the miles per gallon) depends of course on how you drive it.

Enjoying yourself by maximising performance — that is, driving it hard through the gears and swooping up to speed — is not going to return you 47mpg.

But then you wouldn’t be buying a car like this if you were content to pootle around and were not really interested in “performance”.

Like all quick cars, the new Peugeot GTi does not have to race about everywhere it goes — it can be content to take it easy but driver satisfaction levels only kick in when you are flying.

I always enjoy these fast, small cars. I owned an early GTi of a well-known make back in the day — now a modest classic in its own right — and it was great fun to live with.

It may well be that in time you tire of such things. Many people do.

But just as rugby has stayed with me, so too I hope the sheer enjoyment of driving such cars as the new Peugeot 308 GTi will prove a lifelong pleasure.

Fact File:

Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport

On-the-road price: £28,155

Colour: Ultimate Red

Engine: 1,598cc

0-62mph: six seconds

Maximum speed: 155mph

• Successful Peugeot 308 expands range further with a full-on performance model

• Two ‘308 GTi by Peugeot Sport’ versions available: 250 and 270hp

Performance efficiency brings better acceleration, agility, low CO2 and improved fuel economy

The body comes in six colours: the new  Ultimate Red,  Pearlescent White,  Magnetic Blue,  Pearlescent Nera Black, Cumulus and Hurricane Grey

The GTi 270 version features sport bucket seats upholstered in leather and Alcantara, providing impressive lateral support

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