11 months ago

Selwyn Times: May 31, 2016 My My Kaywa QR-Code Kea (Nestor Notabilis) 34 Tuesday May 31 2016 Motoring SELWYN TIMES Small engine, high performance • By Ross Kiddie IF YOU’VE long considered buying what’s often been deemed as the motor industry’s most desirable hot hatchback – Peugeot’s 208 GTi – but have always considered it a little too small to be practical, then Peugeot may still have an exciting sports car for you. I’m talking about the newlyreleased 308 GTi, it is true to the hot hatchback concept, yet it is dimensionally bigger than the 208 offering all of the performance aspects but in a body shell which is more family-friendly. And, what’s more, it gets the same engine – the 1.6-litre turbocharged unit which has found its way across several vehicles from the Citroen/Peugeot stable. Some might argue that 1.6- litre is hardly the powerhouse for a sports car, but I can report that somehow Peugeot has managed to extract 200kW from this engine, and with a fabulous 330Nm of torque available from just 1900rpm it is a true powerhouse. I remember well when engines of 2-litre capacity were bordering on 200kW, that was deemed to be a stroke of engineering genius, now that mass market cars can achieve that output from just 1598cc is, to me, PEUGEOT 308 GTi: Quintessential hot hatchback. simply remarkable. Not surprisingly, the 308 GTi is quick, Peugeot claim a 6sec standstill to 100km/h time and accelerating through a quick highway overtake, the test car stopped the clock at 4sec (80km/h to 120km/h). Because of its capacity there aren’t big cylinders to fill with fuel. Consequently, the 308 GTi also gets a remarkable fuel usage rating. Peugeot also claim a six-litre per 100km (47mpg) combined cycle average. My testing time included a 5.3l/100km (53mpg) instantaneous readout at 100km/h (engine speed 2400rpm) and a 7l/100km (40mpg) average figure when I returned the car to the dealership. All of these figures are impressive, you can combine the exhilaration of swift movement without fear of melting the credit card come fill-up time. Not surprisingly, the 308 GTi is engineered specifically for those who like to be well involved in the driving process. It is a manual-only model, the six-speeder has a shift movement close and direct, the clutch is moderately firmed but progressive with its action. The suspension is also well-firmed, it’s not hard, but it is optimised to accept the challenge of vigorous cornering. I took the GTi on a high country loop which incorporated many varying twists and turns. It is a car which relishes that environment, not only does it usher in speed forcefully between corners, it has body balance and suspension control not unlike that of its sibling – the 208 GTi. Providing the grip are sticky, sport specification Michelin Pilot tyres (235/35 x 19in). They provide solid feedback as to how they are performing in a corner, and they combat the force of engine power as it is applied on corner exit. There is little indication that push towards understeer would develop, the handling sensation is neutral. A feature which I found very entertaining is the dynamic sport system. If you initiate a consolemounted switch the GTi enters a frenetic, manic mode. The engine exudes a louder tone, and throttle response is a lot more reactive. Dashboard graphics also let you know you are in dynamic mode, three percentage bars for power, boost and torque are displayed depending on throttle actuation. Not only is it a car of true performance, the 308 GTi is also specced to provide the niceties that you would expect from a car which isn’t budget-priced at $58,990. For that money you get specification items which include • Price – Peugeot 308 GTi, $58,990 • Dimensions – Length, 4253mm; width, 2043mm; height, 1446mm • Configuration: Fourcylinder, front-wheeldrive, 1598cc, 200kW, 330Nm, six-speed manual. • Performance – 0-100km/ h, 6sec • Fuel usage – 6l/100km satellite navigation, keyless entry and ignition and leather trimmed sports seats. As a series, the 308 sits on the cusp of the mid-size hatchback, it couldn’t be classed as a true fiveseater, although there are three seat belts across the rear; but mostly it is a comfortable fourseater and it also has the benefits of rear doors. And while the 308 range isn’t vast in terms of model proliferation, there are interesting aspects within the range. Notably, a diesel GT was released at the same time as the GTi, I’m due to drive that car soon and I simply can’t wait. 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SELWYN TIMES Tuesday May 31 2016 35 SHOW 2016 HORNCASTLE ARENA 1ST-3RD JULY 10AM - 5PM EXHIBIT NOW! Contact Vanessa Fleming 021 914 565