If there’s one type of car the French have always been good at making, it’s the hot hatchback.
The Peugeot 205 GTi, the Renault Turbo and Turbo 2, the Renault Clio and all its hot variants, and the Citroën AX Turbo are all cars that I lusted over during my teenage years in the UK. But as you’d expect, they’re not models you often see in Japan.
So you can probably understand my surprise when I spotted a new Peugeot 208 GTi among the cars in the paddock at the recent Rev Speed Super Battle at Tsukuba Circuit. I really appreciate variety, especially if there’s a Japanese approach taken, and I have to say, I like everything about this car from Auto Pro.
The team had a few spare wheels in their pit, but when I passed by the car was sitting on a set of OZ Racing Superleggeras at the front and RAYS Volk Racing CE28Ns at the rear. Entered in the Street Class means it was allowed to run on S-tires – Yokohama Advan A050s to be precise, meanwhile braking is taken care of by a set of Endless front calipers and single-piece rotors.
The engine in the GTi may only be a 1.6-liter unit, but the THP (an acronym for Turbo High Pressure) allows for 200hp.
However, this one runs a modified turbo, custom piping, a BMC carbon air box and a reprogrammed ECU which takes the final number to around 260hp.
The interior is where FDM meets JDM; a few gauges are sprinkled around for good measure and there’s also a seat and steering wheel upgrade. I even spotted an iPad taped to the center console displaying the GTi’s OBD2 readouts.
I always enjoy finding quirky little cars like this at time attack events; they prove that the underlying need to standout and attempt something different still exists in Japanese car culture.
Dino Dalle Carbonare