Peugeot has fired a shot across the bows of its hot hatch rivals with the new 308 GTi.
The third model to be developed by Peugeot's motorsport arm, the 308 GTi lifts plenty of parts from the impressive RCZ R and stuffs them into a more practical five-door bodyshell.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder offered in two tunes, 184kW or 201kW at 6000rpm, though both develop an identical 330Nm from 1900rpm.
Combined with a commendably light kerb weight of just 1205kg, the 308 GTi's power-to-weight ratio of 167kW/tonne comfortably eclipses both the VW Golf GTI Performance (124kW/tonne) and Renault Sport Megane RS275 Trophy (146kW/tonne).
The power is fed through a six-speed manual to a Torsen limited-slip differential, with a shorter final drive to improve acceleration.
Peugeot claims the 0-100km/h sprint takes 6.0sec for the higher-powered THP 270 variant and 6.2sec for the lower-powered THP 250. Top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
In the chassis department, the ride height has dropped 11mm and the suspension is significantly stiffer than the GT warm hatch.
Negative camber has also increased to help keep the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres in contact with the ground. Wider tracks front and rear also increase the 308 GTi's footprint.
Tyre size on the THP 250 is 225/40 R18, while the higher-spec THP 270 wears wider 235/35 R19s, and stopping power is provided by giant 380mm front discs clamped by four-piston calipers.
The new Peugeot 308 GTi will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month. We'll update you on a local release at a later date, though we'd expect pricing to start around the $50,000 mark.
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