Peugeot unveils hot 308 GTI

Peugeot 308 GTI

Peugeot has fired its first shot in 2015's hot hatch war with this, the 308 GTI.

Due to arrive in showrooms in October, priced from around £26,500, the new range-topping 308 model will go head-to-head against performance hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus ST, Renault Megane RS and Seat Leon Cupra.

However, unlike most of its rivals, the 308 GTI eschews a 2.0-litre turbocharged motor for a more frugal 1.6-litre unit lifted from the RCZ-R coupe, which endows it with class leading CO2 emissions of 139g/km. Fuel economy is rated at 47mpg.

The GTI will be offered in two states of tune: 247bhp and 266bhp, with the more powerful version capable of cracking the 0-62mph sprint 0.2 seconds faster at 6.0 seconds. Both are available solely with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Peugeot 308 GTI

Peugeot 308 GTI

The more powerful version, however, is fitted with a front differential, larger wheels and brakes and grippy sports tyres, though both get a drop in ride height, as well as stiffer suspension.

Stylistically, the 308 GTI follows the conservative design favoured by the likes of the VW Golf GTI, so don't expect the aggressive wings and gaping vents of the Honda Civic Type R. In fact, you'll have to look closely to notice the gloss black grille mesh, chunky side skirts, rear diffuser and twin exhaust tailpipes that mark it out as the GTI.

Those looking to attract more attention, however, will be pleased to hear that the GTI is available in the same two-tone red and black colour scheme as the original concept model, for an additional £1,300.