Peugeot 308 GT confirmed as Golf GTI rival

WE CAN’T get enough of our hot hatches, so the Peugeot 308 GT is welcome news to join the Renault Megane RS, Ford Focus ST and forthcoming Honda Civic Type R in battling the VW Golf GTI benchmark. 

The 308 is built on the French car maker's new EMP2 modular platform, and the GT version is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder – also used in the Mini Cooper S and the Citroen DS3 – with 151kW/285Nm.

The 308 GT looks the part, but these modest outputs are closer to warm hatches such as the 150kW Kia Proceed GT, lagging behind the GTI and Megane GT, which both make 162kW.

There's no 0-100km/h claim, but expect about 6.9sec or better if the Peugeot is to be taken seriously.

With 18-inch alloys and riding 10mm lower at the rear and 7mm lower up front, the GT has the stance, plus its own look with the Peugeot Lion moved to the centre of the grille, like the recently facelifted 508.

The 308 GT should be keenly priced below the Golf GTI's $42K starting price, and will have to be to compete with the $36K Megane GT and $35K Kia Proceed GT.

Yet the most interesting potential reason for the 151kW output – when this engine has produced 199kW in the RCZ-R, so we know what it's capable of – leaves room for a more potent version, most likely badged R, as indicated by a 308 R Concept displayed at the Frankfurt motor show last year.

There's a diesel GT, too, with 133kW for its auto-only 1.5-litre diesel, but 400Nm of torque to give it a proper shove.

The other ace up Peugeot's sleeve is that there's also a wagon version, which should rattle the Skoda Octavia RS when the 308 GT goes on sale in February 2014.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!