ONE look at the twin exhausts protruding like cannons from each side of the Peugeot 308 GTi tells you instantly that this is not the family hatchback you normally associate with this model.
And if you had any doubts, the price tag of £29,000-plus – compared to the entry level 308’s £16,000-plus price – will tell you that this one is something special.
The 308 GTi 270 is a car for drivers who are looking for high end performance but who also need all the comforts and space of a family hatchback.
It’s a car which has been specially developed with the aid of Peugeot Sport and sets a new record for power to weight ratio in its segment.
With this car the sporting arm of the French car company has managed to squeeze a whopping 272 brake horsepower out of a 1.6-litre engine.
That means a top speed of 155 miles per hour and a 0-62 miles per hour time of just 6.0 seconds.
This really is one of the hottest hot hatches on the road.
The flagship of the 308 range sits 11mm lower than the standard model and is equipped with stylish 19inch black and silver alloy wheels, a deep air intake, two under-bumper spoilers, full LED headlamps and an exclusive radiator grille with gloss-black finish. Inside, too, there’s a sporting bias with special Peugeot Sport bucket seats in leather and Alcantara not only looking impressive but holding you firmly in place at all times.
They also come with a massage function to help ensure you don’t get any back ache on long journeys.
A central touchscreen is used for most of the car’s functions which means a definite lack of switches and buttons on the dashboard.
As with other sporting Peugeots there’s a tiny steering wheel, allowing you a clear view over the top of the speedometer and rev counter. And I liked the generous use of brushed aluminium to lighten the predominantly anthracite colour scheme.
On the road the GTi 270 is a real tour de force. It’s as responsive as any supercar and the power is instant.
Activate the sports button near the gear shift and you get a power, torque and boost readout appearing on a central screen and the illumination on the dials turns from white to red, probably as a warning of what is to come.
The increase in the car’s performance is dramatic thanks to a change in accelerator pedal mapping which sees a massive surge in acceleration as the car takes on a whole new persona.
Skip through the gearbox and the power just keeps coming. This really is a thrill-a-minute hot hatch which delivers all the power you need for dynamic motoring.
But the nice thing is the car always feels stable with plenty of grip thanks to firm but compliant sports suspension and the incorporating of a limited slip differential into the transmission.
Switch the sport button off and you can drive the 308 GTi 270 as docile as you like, so you get the best of all worlds – happy family motoring and seat of the pants blistering performance when you want it.
And that goes a long way to justifying the hefty price.
Model: Peugeot GTi 270
Mechanical: 1,598cc, 270 bhp four cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox.
Max speed: 155 mph
0-62mph: 6.0 secs
Combined mpg: 47.1
CO2 emissions: 139 g/km
BiK: 24 %
Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles