The final production version of the new Peugeot 208 GTi, which was previewed in concept form at the Geneva Salon earlier this year, was officially introduced today ahead of its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show on September 27.
As with its 206 and 207 predecessors, Peugeot is once again making claims about "regenerating the values of the iconic 205 GTi".
Whether the new 208 GTi will live up to its promise is something we'll just have to wait to see, but the initial specifications are promising, starting with the fact that, at 1,160kg (2,538 lbs), Peugeot's latest pocket rocket is a whopping 165kg (364 pounds) lighter than the 207 RC (called GTi in some markets including the UK).
It's also more powerful than the 175hp 207 RC / GTi as it is equipped with the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol found in the flagship version of the RCZ Coupe, which generates an output of 197hp (200PS) and peak torque of 275Nm (203 lb-ft).
A six speed manual gearbox drives the front wheels with the French carmaker quoting 0-100 km/h (62mph) acceleration in less than 7 seconds, 0-1,000m (0.62 miles) in 27 seconds and 80-120km/h (50-75mph) in fifth-gear in less than 7 seconds. Peugeot has not yet released the car's top speed or fuel economy numbers, though it did reveal that it emits 145g/km of C02.
The corresponding numbers for the older 207 GTi / RC are: 0-100km/h (62mph) in 7.1 sec; 0-1,000m in 27.8 sec; 80-120km/h (50-75mph) in 5th in 7.0 sec and CO2 emissions of 171g/km.
Peugeot says it has uprated and re-tuned the steering system and the suspension that gains sport springs and shock absorbers, new anti-roll bars, plus enhanced front subframe and rear crossmember. The car's tracks are 10mm wider at the front and 20mm wider at the rear.
The 208 GTi now rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped around in 205/45 rubber, which house larger 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 249mm at the rear.
"The 208 was an excellent base for developing a sports hatchback," commented Marie Beaumont, 208 GTi Dynamics Manager. "We have worked with particular attention on the steering response, the chassis dynamics and the rigidity of the suspension. The 208 GTi successfully combines performance, safety and driving pleasure."
Exterior upgrades over the regular 208 three-door hatchback include a rather subtle styling package comprising a bespoke finish for the front grille, chromed mirror caps, side sills, a honeycomb mesh lower front grille, a black rear diffuser with trapezoid chromed double tailpipes, LED headlamps and a chromed trim strip with the GTi logo on the C-Pillar.
The interior of the 208 GTi has been luxed up with added equipment while it features unique trim and colors including the leather treatment with contrast stitching for the sport seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, gearbox and door panels, and the LED back-lit instrument panel. In addition, there are inserts on the dashboard and door panels that match the car's exterior color as well as aluminium pedals and footrest.
To celebrate the launch of the car, Peugeot will offer a fully-specified Limited Edition version adorned in an exclusive Satin Pearlescent White paint and 17-inch wheels fitted with red aluminum caps, while the lower bar of the front grille will bear the colors of the French flag. Inside, the special edition will come equipped with Satellite Navigation, a HiFi Pack, and a numbered plaque.
The new 208 GTi will go on sale in Europe in the spring of 2013.