We thought the hot hatch version of Peugeot’s mid-size hatchback would be called the 308 R. Thankfully, Peugeot has stuck with tradition and called its most powerful hot hatch ever the 308 GTi.

Actually, its full moniker in the press release is ‘Peugeot 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport’, but the entire world will simply refer to it as the 308 GTi.

But enough of that. How has Peugeot gone about turning a sensible family car into a rip-snorting road burner?

Toughened up the styling, for a start, with a surprisingly subtle bodykit consisting of new bumpers, deep side skirts and big wheels. There are myriad small detail changes, but overall you have to know what you’re looking for to spot the 308 GTi. It’s a bit a sleeper, which is what a hot hatch should be – the Ford Focus ST looks a bit chavvy in comparison. Incidentally, the ‘Coupe Franche’ colour scheme you see here is a £1,300 option.

The real work has gone on underneath. Power comes from Peugeot’s 1.6 THP four-cylinder turbo petrol engine. It’s actually available in two states of tune, either 248bhp of 268bhp, designated GTi 250 and GTi 270. Both produce 243lb/ft of torque.

The more powerful version is marginally quicker from 0-62mph – 6.0 seconds playing 6.2 – but both are limited to 155mph. Likewise, both return the same 47.1mpg and emit 139g/km of Co2.

The main difference is that the GTi 270 gets a Torsen limited-slip differential, lifted from the RCZ R coupe. That diff transforms the RCZ from a merely perfectly competent handler into a proper Tarmac terror. Hopefully it’ll perform the same trick in the GTi 270.

Both versions have lower, stiffer suspension with wider tracks front and rear. The GTi 250 has 18-inch wheels, while the GTi 270 rolls on 19s. The brakes are a lot bigger, with 380mm discs at the front, clamped by four-piston calipers.

Inside, there’s a plethora of GTi-specific details – steering wheel, gearknob, pedals, door sills, even the graphics on the infotainment system and head-up display. The GTi 270 gets a pair of body-hugging Alcantara seats, as well. Equipment-wise, pretty mcuh everything you can have on a 308 comes as standard.

Prices have been set at £26,555 for the 308 GTi 250 and £28,155 for the 308 GTi 270. That’s pretty competitive against the Ford Focus ST, SEAT Leon Cupra 280, Renaultsport Megane and Volkswagen Golf GTi opposition.

Order books open soon; deliveries should start by the end of the year. It makes its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month.

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By Only Motors