Peugeot 308 GTi review

Our Rating 
2017 model
By jumbo-bg Test TeamComments

The Peugeot 308 GTi is a good-looking if slightly conservative hot hatchback with a premium feel that’s also fun to drive

Handsome, understated looks, agile, fun handling, decent ride quality
Lacks drama, driving position won’t suit all, less desirability than certain rivals

The Peugeot 308 GTi is a stylish but understated hot hatch that offers plenty of fun for the enthusiast driver, even if its performance is shaded by more powerful rivals. It’s not without its quirks, including an unusual i-Cockpit dashboard layout, and while it’s comfortable and roomy up front a 308 is no match for a VW Golf in the all-round practicality stakes. The boot is big but a little awkward, and the back seats are cramped.

It makes up for a lack of power through being lighter than most competitors, and feels agile on the road as a result. Grip is excellent too, and the ride quality is decent for the level of performance on offer.

Our Choice 
Peugeot 308 GTi

The words Peugeot and GTi are enough to make any driving enthusiast prick up their ears, and none more so than those fortunate enough to experience the archetypal Peugeot 205 GTi hot hatch – one of the most iconic performance cars of the 1980s. 

Since then, the hot hatch sector has matured significantly, with the new models becoming more technically advanced (and more powerful) with each successive generation. The Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS and BMW M140i are some of the most desirable rivals in the sector these days, along with the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R models. 

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Sadly, the Peugeot struggled to repeat the success of its 1980s pocket rocket, and although it has launched various GTI models over the intervening decades, they never quite rekindled the magic for enthusiasts. 

Things began to look a little rosier in recent years and a high point was the introduction of the current 208 GTi model, which had a little more of that old 205’s pizzazz. The car was developed by the experts at Peugeot Sport; an outfit set up by motorsport impresario Jean Todt back in 1981 to run the French firm’s sporting endeavours. Peugeot Sport is also responsible for the 308 GTi, and has provided a wide range of upgrades to the standard model with good effect.

The 308 GTi uses the same 1.6-litre engine as the 208 GTi, powering the front wheels in classic hot hatch fashion via an – equally classic – six speed manual gearbox. The GTi version also rides a little lower than the standard hatch, has much more dynamic spring and damper settings, and also runs a limited slip differential to improve traction. 

The 308 GTi is available only in five-door hatchback guise, and it sits at the top of a 308 line-up that otherwise focuses on comfort and economy. Two versions were available at launch (with either 247bhp or 266bhp) but the lower power car was subsequently dropped due to lack of demand. 

Engines, performance and drive

It’s not the punchiest on paper, but performance is vigorous and the chassis both nimble and supple

The 308 GTi offers understated looks compared to some hot hatch rivals. It’s down on power compared to many of them, too, but it’s still plenty of fun to drive. A small steering wheel provides a quick and nimble connection to the front end, and although the steering lacks any meaningful feel, it gives you plenty of confidence when throwing the car into corners. 

The combination of tweaked suspension, limited slip differential and sticky rubber means it’s possible to lean very hard on the car before it starts to slide. It’s even impressive in the wet. Less impressive is the action of the six-speed gearbox, which has a long throw and feels a bit too woolly.

The ride is surprisingly good for a hot hatch, though, especially when you’re not driving it like you stole it. For suppleness we reckon the 308 GTi is beaten only by the VW Golf R, in fact, and the French hatch is really rela to drive over some of the UK’s most troubled tarmac. Some drivers will doubtless want their hot hatches to demonstrate a bit more ‘drama’, but others will appreciate the benefits. That said, there’s also a Sport button, which increases throttle response, turns the instrument pack from calm white to angry red, and amplifies the engine noise into the cabin.

Braking performance is perfectly up to the task, thanks to a set of ventilated Alcon discs at the front with four pot callipers – painted red and adorned with the Peugeot Sport logo, for added effect.


Despite also offering a lower-power 247bhp engine at launch, there’s now only one option in the 308 GTi. On brand-new cars you’ll find a 266bhp 1.6-litre four-clilidner unit that’s been massaged with Mahle lightweight racing pistons, higher fuel injection pressure and a twin-scroll turbocharger. It’s not the hottest of hot hatch motors, but thanks to a meaty 330Nm of torque and a low kerbweight, it’s enough to impart vigorous performance. Peugeot claims a 0-62mph time of 6.0 seconds dead, and reckons the 308 GTi’s power-to-weight ratio is one of the best in its class. Top speed is 155mph.

MPG, CO2 and running costs

Fuel economy is respectable if you take it easy, and the C02 figures are good for business users

The Peugeot 308 range is pretty efficient across the board, and the GTi model doesn’t fare too badly either. It’ll emit 139g/km of CO2, which means a benefit-in-kind company car tax rate of 28 per cent in 2017/18, but it will rise to 31 per cent by 2020. VED or car tax comes out at £200 for the first year, and £140 for each year thereafter.

Fuel economy will very much reflect your driving style, which is true for any performance model, but the officially quoted ‘combined’ mpg figure of 47mpg gives the Peugeot plenty of potential for frugal motoring. Servicing should be affordable too, and with a power output that’s not as monstrous as some plus a chassis that’s light on its feet, the 308 GTi should hopefully eat fewer tyres and brake pads than other rivals. 

Insurance groups

An insurance group rating of 34 is reasonably competitive for the class, but still means sizeable premiums – especially for young drivers. For comparison the 2.0-litre VW Golf R is also group 34, while the Golf GTI is group 29.


In spite of its obvious charms, the Peugeot 308 GTi struggles to find buyers against many of its higher profile hot hatch rivals when new. This relative lack of demand translates to hefty depreciation at resale time, and your new £28,000+ car may be worth as little as £9,000 after three years and 30,000 miles. You would expect a VW Golf to do a little better than that.

Interior, design and technology

The Peugeot’s quirky i-Cockpit design won’t appeal to all, but the model is well equipped and good looking

The 308 was launched back in 2013 and received a mild facelift in 2017 with a more obvious front grille, tweaked headlamps and a revised bumper. You’d be a bit of an anorak to notice, though. The standard five door hatchback is generally considered pretty if a little understated, and the GTi version doesn’t go to town with the flashy styling mods like some of its more ostentatious rivals. The most obvious giveaways to the GTi’s status include sporty bumpers, a rear diffuser and twin exhaust pipes, but there’s also a gloss black chequered grille, and exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels with red painted brake calipers peeping out from behind them. 

Inside you get a full-grain leather wheel with red stitching, GTi bucket seats with Alcantara trim – including a massage function – and a special GTi instrument display. 

Those who find this all a bit, well, unobvious, will doubtless opt for the special Coupe Franche paint option. This exterior colour scheme combines red or blue in a two-tone combination with black rear-quarters, and is applied by hand in a special workshop.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The in-car entertainment set-up for the Peugeot 308 GTi is the same as that offered in the mainstream Allure spec. That means facelifted cars get MirrorLink with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Peugeot i-Cockpit system with a 9.7-inch touchscreen and 3D Connected Navigation powered by TomTom. Older cars use a more rudimentary setup devoid of any phone mirroring applications.

Like other models in the 308 line-up, the i-Cockpit may take some getting used to, with the high set dials forcing you look at over the top of the steering wheel. Meanwhile, the standard audio system features six speakers, and you get DAB radio too.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

Good up front, less so in the back, while the boot is roomy if awkwardly shaped

While the standard 308 comes as both a five-door hatchback and an estate model, the GTi is only available as the former – and there’s no ‘sporty’ three-door option anywhere in the line-up.

The five-door body provides plenty of accommodation for passengers in the front, although as already mentioned the driving position can feel odd at first. You need to set the steering wheel low to be able to view the instruments, and if you can’t be doing with that then reading the dials can be an issue.

That said, the sports seats are comfortable, and the general interior ambience is good. The touchscreen looks great but is a bit fiddly – as it controls all the car’s functions from radio and sat-nav to the air-con and phone connectivity.

Equipment levels are good too, so you can enjoy climate control and cruise control, plus parking sensors and an electric parking brake that removes the need for a bulky lever. Overall, we’d say the 308 GTi has a pleasingly premium feel. Storage space isn’t so good though, as the glovebox is tiny due to the bulky fuse box. 


Surprisingly, the 308 is one of the smallest cars in its class. It’s a full 100mm shorter than a Ford Focus, for example, and more than 200mm shorter than a Mazda 3. One of the benefits is a highly competitive kerb weight, but you do pay a price in rear seat practicality. 

Leg room, head room & passenger space

There’s plenty of room up front in the Peugeot 308, but whether you’re comfortable depends how well you’re prepared to adapt to the i-Cockpit set-up. Headroom is fine at the front and rear – except on models equipped with the panoramic glass roof option. Leg and knee room in the rear is not that impressive, however. 


Rear seat space may be limited, but Peugeot doesn’t short-change 308 buyers on boot space. You get a spacious 470 litres rising to 1,185 litres if you want to fold the rear bench down. Unfortunately, it’s not as practical as it sounds, because the boot is awkwardly shaped.

Reliability and Safety

Good Euro NCAP crash test scores and decent owner feedback suggest the 308 should not be problematic

The 308 was crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2013 when the model was launched, and it scored impressively, bagging the full five stars. Adult protection was awarded 92 per cent, child safety 79 per cent, and pedestrian protection was rated 64 per cent.

The roster of standard safety equipment includes Emergency Braking Assistance, tyre pressure sensors and a speed limiter, while optional safety packs include such features as Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and even Speed Limit Recognition – albeit beware if you’re relying on the cruise control to match vehicle speed to the posted limits, as it happens after you’ve entered the new speed zone. 

From the reliability standpoint the 308 has fared pretty well in our Driver Power surveys, with decent build quality reported.


Peugeot offers a standard three-year warranty across its line-up, but only the first two years come with unlimited mileage. As soon as you pass the two-year mark a 60,000-mile limit comes into play for the third year. 


Service intervals are long, with the GTi needing a check-up only every 20,000-miles. It means owners shouldn’t be unduly troubled by the schedule.

Last updated: 16 Mar, 2018