The Peugeot brand has done what Renault did recently, in fact they did exactly the same thing; you see there’s a smaller capacity Mégane called the GT Line with a 1.2-litre turbo motor and then there’s a 2.0-litre model called the GT 220. Therefore the 308 GT is the more performance orientated version and gets a 1.6-litre turbo motor from the 208 GTi instead of the 1.2 turbo from the standard car.
The GT gets a mildly more aggressive body kit versus the GT Line, which was quite sporty to start with while it also benefits from larger 18-inch wheels for a design that is decidedly dynamic and looks more premium German than French.
Inside, you’ll find a beautiful interior with suede/leather seats, great build quality and a decent infotainment system that controls everything, including the climate system, which makes the cockpit almost button-free. Also, expect that tiny steering wheel to be carried over from other Peugeot models, which made it difficult for me to see the instrument cluster properly. The car is quite practical though, with reasonable rear passenger room and a 470-litre boot for luggage.
The GT has had suspension revisions to make it a bit sportier, with a lower ride height, stiffer springs and revised damping. You can feel the car is a bit more firm on the road and that the handling is better however, it is still not a hot hatch, more of an accomplished sporty hatch, like the Mégane GT220 and even the Citroën DS3.
Where is loses out in dynamism it makes up for with a fantastic ability to munch miles; the ride quality is impressive and the road wind noise levels are very impressive. You get the impression that you’d be able to do a long distance trip in this vehicle without a problem, which is not always the case with hatches that have been skewed towards performance.
In terms of straight line shove the GT is no slouch; its 1.6-litre turbo motor produces 151kW/285Nm for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.5 second and a top speed of 235km/h. It is also quite light on fuel and I managed to achieve 7.8 litres/100km during my week with the car versus the 5.6 litres/100km claim.
One of the more fun features on the car is the Sport mode button, which changes the instrument cluster to a racy red while also providing a boost gauge, more weighted steering and playing some sort of synthesised engine sound through the speakers, which makes it sound more like an electronic version of a six-cylinder.
Then there’s perhaps the biggest problem with the 308… its price. I understand that a Mini Cooper S will set you back the same but that is seen by South Africans as a premium product and Peugeot isn’t, as yet. Yes, the GT might be fairly unique in the market place until the Mégane IV GT arrives next year, but at R381 900 it is simply too expensive to warrant at the moment.