The French automaker was once a proud owner of hot-hatch versions of its models in Europe – but as it slowly recovers from the brink of collapse these fan favorites have been relegated to background duty.
Today it’s slowly building up hype back for these high-performance models – the 308 for example does get a GT variant that can be treated to a 200 hp 1.6-liter petrol turbo or an 180 hp 2.0-liter diesel – a good match for the respective versions of the Ford Focus ST or the VW Golf GTI. But in Europe there’s no GT in sight for the smaller 208 – which could trace its roots back to the famous 205 GTI. Instead the GT version for the 208 is available in South America – more precisely in its biggest markets, Argentina and Brazil. Now the new model year version has also been enhanced to produce 166 horsepower.
We’re calling the 208 GT a warm hatchback because that’s essentially the picture – better performance than the average but without the headaches – or kidney pain – of a stiff ride. The 1.6-liter turbo is the same as in other models and the GT will come to the party with dynamic bumpers, contrasting mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport tires. The engine has been paired to a six-speed manual gearbox but the GT will not be granted the GTi’s limited differential as well. Performance is good though: the 100 km/h sprint is handled in 8 seconds and the maximum speed stands at 218 km/h.