The 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed promises to be quite an event for Peugeot. Few manufacturers will be able to ‘do Goodwood’ with greater confidence and with such an armoury of new metal.
For many people it will be a chance to see the new RCZ R for the first time, with the Festival also marking the UK debut of the new 108 city car. And let’s not forget Sébastien Loeb, who will be attempting to set a new hill record in the 2013 208 T16 Pikes Peak car.
To shamelessly borrow the old ad line, the lion is going from strength to strength.
But as far as PetrolBlog is concerned, the biggest news has to be the arrival of the Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary Limited Edition. Built to mark the 30th birthday of the iconic Peugeot 205 GTi, we were concerned that it would be little more than a smart paint job and a numbered-plaque.
How wrong we were.
The obligatory numbered-plaque is there, but the Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary looks to be a proper job. The car the 208 GTi should always have been. Should the Ford Fiesta ST be worried? We reckon so. You only need to take a look at the specs.
Power has been increased to 208hp (of course), as has the amount of torque, now a healthy 221lb ft. But the real promise comes as a result of the work carried out by Peugeot Sport. The Torsen limited slip diff and six-speed ‘box have been taken directly from the really-rather-good RCZ R.
But the 208 GTi 30th Anniversary also benefits from a wider track, lowered suspension, larger brakes, bucket seats and 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. Good lord, could this be the unexpected hit of 2014? The Peugeot 208 GTi we have been yearning for? Don’t bet against it. The RCZ R is proof that Peugeot Sport is able to transform the good into the exceptional.
Peugeot also claims that the ESP and traction control have been recalibrated to be “less intrusive” when driving, with the steering also tweaked following extensive road and track development. Once you take into account the new damper settings and spring rates, you begin to feel that Peugeot has taken this special edition very seriously, perhaps keen not to mess up such an important milestone.
We’re getting too old to appreciate the garish two-tone red and black paintwork, choosing to opt for either the Ruby Red or Pearl White versions instead. But we do approve of the matt black finish found on the grille surround, the fog lamp bezels and door mirror shells. In fact, the car looks all the better for its chrome detox session.
Priced keenly, Peugeot may find demand far outstrips supply, perhaps leading to another Clio Williams scenario. Peugeot 208 GTi 31st Anniversary and 32nd Anniversary edition anyone?
Naturally, the Peugeot 208 GTi got us thinking. Had the Goodwood Festival of Speed been around in 1984, could you imagine the excitement surrounding the 205 GTi? The birth of an icon – just think of the impact it would have had.
In an instant, the little upstart from France stole the hot hatch crown from the Golf GTi, becoming the benchmark for on-the-limit fun. A fact we’ve all been reminding Peugeot about ever since.
The 205 GTi completed a performance car hat-trick for Peugeot, joining the 305 GTi and 505 GTi. It’s little wonder Peugeot embarked on a massive advertising campaign, keen to shout about its “new sensations on the road”.
By today’s standards the 205 GTi figures may seem pretty tame. The 1.6-litre engine could only help propel the 205 GTi to 60mph in a little over nine seconds, before reaching a lowly 118mph top speed. But for £6,645, few cars came close to offering such B-road thrills. What Peugeot would give for the 208 GTi to achieve such greatness.
Elsewhere on the Peugeot stand at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 1984, we’d have witnessed the arrival of the 1.8-litre diesel engine in the 305, along with the 305 GTX, which shared its 1.9-litre engine with the Citroën BX GTi. Oh, and the Goodwood public would have been beside themselves with the news that the 604 now offered a rev-counter and alloy wheels as standard.
Fast forward to the 1994 Goodwood Festival of Speed and had the event grown to the extent we see today, there’s little doubt that the new Peugeot 306 Cabriolet would have been one of the stars of the show. The Pininfarina-designed drop-top looks as good today as it did 20 years ago, proof that good design can last forever.
Also on the Peugeot stand in 1994 would have been the 205, now very much in the twilight of its glittering career in the UK, its baton now passed firmly across to the 106. Naturally, PetrolBlog would only have eyes for the 106 XSi, 306 XSi and 405 Mi16.
Tomorrow, PetrolBlog will make its fourth pilgrimage to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Our first priority will be to take a look at the new Peugeot 208 GTi. We’ve always felt there was more to come from the hot 208. Our fingers and toes are crossed. Please let this one be as good as the specification suggests.
In the meantime, we’ve got a 3am alarm call to think about.