In actual weight terms it would be spot on to describe the eye pleasing Peugeot 308 GTi as a lightweight, but beyond that is the real story. It is about heavyweight performance.
This dashing new addition from the high end motoring branch of the company, Peugeot Sport, was engineered around 'must have' features like compact design, safety, power and driving performance.
And factors like a svelte shape, plus weight saving, came into the equation. Off the designers desk rolled a car lightened through the use of a weight saving platform and tailgate, plus high-tensile steel, and such.
Peugeot hit record breaking numbers on the weighing scales - the car weighs a mere 1,205kg - but the 308 GTi (1.6 litre, 270bhp) has a segment best power to weight ratio.
Here is a car that performs and sings the tune of the driver. It can blast from zero to 100kph in a mere six seconds. Thoughts of the jaw dropping Peugeot RCZ R with mountain high energy came flooding back.
And by pressing the Sport button on the centre console on the 308 GTi the engine roar can be switched from a nice and easy hum to a performance growl that tells all and sundry what kind of high roller you are aboard.
With lashing of torque - see figures below - the 308 GTi is a car that wants to perform, to show what it can do when asked to spread its wings. Relative to the RCZ R it has a beefed up direct fuel injection system for an even broader spread of torque and better top end delivery of power.
The GTi sits 11mm lower than the regular 308, and has a wider front track (10mm). It runs on road hugging Michelin Super Sport tyres, and with the Torsen - exclusive to the GTi 270 - limited slip differential working on your side it allows you get the very best out of the car when dipping into corners and accelerating out of them.
To contain the increased torque of up to 330 Nm, the 6-speed manual gearbox has been reinforced. The two shafts have been shot-blasted, and the gears subjected to intense carbonitriding.
This improves the ability of the parts to withstand wear and tear and fatigue.
Hot hatch fans have a crowd pleaser here! The car can perform, and in a less demanding mode its shows its good breeding, offering a relaxed and comfortable drive.
Yet, for all that pent-up energy the GTi is not a petrol guzzler - unless you open it right up all the time - and Peugeot quote a consumption figure of 47mpg. Our returns were below that, but the experience was never to be about that side of things.
It was about out-and-out performance. The GTi met the challenge and when asked produced the fireworkds and excitement in equal measure.
The boot of the GTi is regular 308 size at 470 litres, but to win that space rear seat passengers might feel the pinch.
Yet, the appeal of the GTi is all over - the Peugeot wrap around leather seats in stylish cabin; red Sport brake calipers clearly visible through the handsome front alloys; large twin exhaust; chrome touches on side windows and door handles, small sports steering - a car that rocks in terms of performance.
Peugeot offer an alternative, a 250bhp option with smaller wheels (18"), at €37,750.
Peugeot 308 GTi 1.6 litre petrol, 270bhp, sat nav and reverse camera €40,750, 6-speed manual gearbox, front wheel drive, four cylinder, output 200kW and torque of 330Nm, maximum torque from 1,900 to 5,000rpm, 0 to 100kph in 6 seconds, top speed 155mph (limited), Stop & Start technology, fuel consumption quoted 6.0l/100km (47mpg), C02 139g/km, annual road tax €280.
Standard on the 250bhp version - 18" alloy wheels, sat nav, driver nad passenger lumbar support, sports style front seats trimmed in leather effect and half alcantara with red stitching, Peugeot Open and Go keyless entry, alarm, GTi grille with chequered flag design, red lettering on grille, sports front bumber skirts, red lower front bumper finisher (chrome when Ultimate red specified), sports side shirts, large twin exhaust and black rear diffuser, GTi front wing badges, tailgate badge, lowered ride height (11mm), aluminium GTi door sills finishers; added on the 270bhp versions, 19" alloy wheels, Torsen limited slip differential, red painted Peugeot Sport brake calipers (380mm front fiscs), GTi bucket seats in leather effect and half alcantara with red stitchting and Peugeot Sport branding, massage function on front seats with two intensity setting.
Standard on both - Driver Sport Pack: press the Sport button on the centre console and it switches the display colour from white to red; shows additional information on the central readout (power, torque, boost, lateral and longitudinal acceleration), enhances engine noise growl and changes the accelerator pedal mapping.