Peugeot 308 Mk2


Debut: 2013
Maker: Peugeot
Predecessor: 308 Mk1



 Published on 8 Sep 2013 All rights reserved. 


Since 306 was introduced in the early 1990s, Peugeot 30X series has been a strong player in the global C-segment. We love the 306's looks, packaging and driving dynamics very much, but the next 307 was the most commercially successful, having sold 3.8 million copies worldwide as of today (incredibly, it is still being sold in some developing countries). Its continuous presence actually hurts the following 308, which recorded only 1.25 million units of sales from its launch in 2007 until the end of 2012. The number may continue to grow in the next few years, but it will be hopeless to reach the 2 million mark, let alone the record of its predecessor. That is not much of a surprise as the 308 fails to excel in the increasingly competitive segment.

The successor of 308 should be 309, but wait, wasn't that name already used by the predecessor of 306 in the 1980s? You might remember that the original 309 did not follow the logical step of nomenclature because it was not an in-house project but taken from the defunct Talbot division. Now Peugeot finally runs out of numbers. As it wants to keep the signature nomenclature with a zero in the middle, it decides to freeze the name from now on, just like other car makers. To me it is a sad decision, as I always prefer to distinguish different generations of cars from their names. To the marketers of PSA, however, this might save their effort to register new trademarks on each market. Moreover, 308 is a lucky number in Chinese, pronouncing like "lively" and "fortune". It should be beneficial to the sales in this important market.



A first glance to the second generation 308 will find it to be very conservative. It looks a lot boxier than the old 308. There are very few curves in its exterior, although all edges and corners are smoothened. The irregular-shaped headlights (with LED daytime running lights incorporated like many cars these days) and C-shape taillights attempt to inject a bit spice, but just a little bit is not sufficient to change your general perception. The upper front grille is quite boring, failing to raise your interest. Turn to the sides, it has the same self-restraint as a Volkswagen Golf. Yes, this is the French Golf. It sacrifices the traditional core values (innovations and strong taste) of French cars in a bid to win more average buyers. To me that is not something to cheer about.

The exterior dimensions are not remarkably different from the old car. It is just a tiny bit shorter and narrower, but the margin is too small to mention. More noticeable is the height, which is dropped by 40 mm. Admittedly, the old car was too tall at nearly 1500 mm. Now the new car is close to the class norm. The 2620 mm wheelbase is just 12 mm longer than before, so don't expect the new car to offer class-leading space. Much better is the boot, which can swallow 435 liters, plus another 35 liters beneath the boot floor.


However, the most remarkable thing about the new car is not more but less – built on the new EMP2 platform that has been first seen on Citroen C4 Picasso, it is said to be 140 kg lighter than its predecessor. Weight saving comes mainly from the use of more high-strength steel, aluminum parts (bonnet, front fenders and some suspension components) and plastic composites (tailgate and boot floor). As a result, a range-topping 1.6 THP model tips the scale at only 1165 kg. According to my figures, it actually undercuts its direct predecessor with the same engine by 162 kg. It is even lighter than the new Golf VII, which is already renowned for lightweight MQB platform. Going from the heaviest to the lightest in the class, Peugeot has done a great job.

I suspect the interior also plays a role in the weight saving. This is the most minimalist cabin in the family car class. Its center console is free of buttons and switches as 90 percent of functions have been put onto the 9.7-inch touchscreen. The design theme is built on the strength of 208, just finished in high-quality plastics and trims, although you can still pick holes when compared with the impeccable Golf or Audi A3. As in 208, the instrument pod is positioned above the small-diameter steering wheel so that you see them above rather than through the wheel. Thanks to a better driving position, the wheel rim doesn't block the view to instrument as much as the smaller Peugeot. Overall, this cabin looks stylish and pretty upmarket. On the downside, the rear seats remain cramped, offering limited legroom (and headroom as well if the panoramic glass roof is opted). Six-footers will find them unbearable. It should have spent more space to rear passengers than luggage.



Peugeot's powertrain range is rather narrow. It relies heavily on the BMW-engineered 1.6 THP direct-injection petrol turbo and its own 1.6 e-HDi turbo diesel. Both engines are available with 2 states of tune (125 hp or 156 hp for 1.6 THP and 92 hp or 115 hp for 1.6 e-HDi). Thanks to the low kerb weight, the higher power petrol is good for 0-60 mph in sub-8 seconds, more than good enough for any family car buyers. The diesel is slower, but its superior low-down torque is punchy enough for everyday use. In contrast, the entry-level 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine is obviously underpowered at 82 hp. Fortunately, its turbocharged version is arriving next year, ditto a super-frugal 1.6 BlueHDi.

Disappointingly, the driving dynamics has taken a backward step from its predecessor. In order to steal sales from Golf, Peugeot opted for a soft setup on its MacPherson-struts and torsion-beam suspensions. This does deliver a supple ride that French cars are traditionally renowned for, but the flipside is a lot of initial body roll before it settles in corners. This hurts driving confidence and makes the 308 Mk2 far less enthusiastic to steer than its key rivals. Moreover, the electrical power steering on this car is too light and numb. It fails to weigh up progressively in corner, thus you have no idea how much grip is left at the front tires. For those who still remember 306, the new car is definitely disappointing.



The downgraded handling could have been forgivable if the car provided class-leading refinement, but it doesn't. Although this is generally a refined car, it can't quite match the new Golf, especially on highway, where the wind noise generated around the mirrors is excessive.

Overall, the new 308 leaves quite a lot to be desired – it looks boring; Its rear seat is cramped; Its engine range is not as versatile as rivals (especially the cheaper engines); and its handling is unexciting. The old Peugeot magic has gone.
Verdict: 
 Published on 18 Jan 2015
All rights reserved. 
308 GT


There is a huge difference between GTi and GT. When Volkswagen introduced Golf GTi in 1976, the “i” meant “injection” engine. Somehow, it was not exactly a GT with a more powerful engine. Traditionally, the term GT meant a large and luxurious 2-door coupe which had a powerful engine and worked best as a cross-continental high-speed cruiser. In contrast, Volkswagen defined the GTi as a B-road hot hatch which emphasized on responsive handling and practicality. Having understood these terms, you can see what a Peugeot 308 GT is. While its offers more performance than lesser 308s, it still biases towards comfort and refinement. You may call it a warm hatch.

The second generation 308 GT is powered by the familiar 1.6 THP direct injection twin-scroll turbo engine with Valvetronic and twin-variable camshaft phasing. Producing 205 hp and 210 lbft, it is not as powerful as real hot hatches like Golf GTi (220 or 230 hp), Ford Focus ST (250 hp), Renault Megane RS (275 hp) and Seat Leon Cupra (265 or 280 hp). Peugeot has a 270 hp version of the engine, but it is reserved for the forthcoming 308 R, which should take on the hot hatches. As a warm hatch, however, the 308 GT is more powerful than Seat Leon FR and Kia Pro Ceed GT. It is good for 146 mph, though I would expect better acceleration than its 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds suggested, considering the car is remarkably lightweight at 1200 kg. On the road, the car feels brisk rather than swift. The small engine has more turbo lag than the larger engine of Golf GTi, too. Engine noise is subdued if not the artificial sound generated by speakers. The short-throw 6-speed manual gearbox is a joy to play though.


As in the cases of Ford Focus ST, Seat Leon FR or VW Golf GTD, you can opt for diesel power on the Peugeot. This version of 2.0 HDi motor produces 180 hp and 295 lbft of torque and works exclusively with an Aisin 6-speed automatic (the manual could not withstand the torque). With so much torque, it rarely feels slower than the petrol, but if you are hurry in corners you will find lots of understeer and torque steer to fight against. The extra 120 kg of weight at the nose also hampers its turn-in response and balance. It’s not as well engineered as its rivals.

Therefore it is better to turn our attention back to the petrol version. Its chassis is mildly tuned to deliver slightly better handling than the regular car. The suspension is set 10-20 percent stiffer. Ride height is lowered by 7 mm up front and 10 mm at the rear. Hydraulic bump-stops have been added to the shock towers to reduce noise. It also gets larger brakes and lower profile tires on 18-inch wheels. As you would expect, it is still far from a sharp driver’s car. Body control and steering response are half-way between a regular hatch and hot hatch, while ride quality and noise suppression are good. More disappointing, the steering remains as lifeless as the regular car’s, failing to weight up in corners. Switch to sport mode adds only more weight and more artificial self-centering without actually giving more feedback. This means the car has not much fun to drive. It is only a faster version of the 308. Some people might be attracted by the 308's quality cabin or understated looks, but that is not a reason to choose the go-faster version. Seat Leon FR is clearly a better warm hatch.
Verdict:
 Published on 24 Sep 2015
All rights reserved. 
308 GTi


The last time Peugeot built a C-segment hot hatch was the mighty 306 GTi. That was nearly 20 years ago! Things changed a lot during this period. Today the segment is no longer one-dimensional. On the one hand there are hardcore driver’s cars like Renault Megane RS275 or Honda Civic Type R, on the other hand there are everyday hot hatches like Volkswagen Golf GTi or Ford Focus ST. At the top there are also some very powerful and expensive models like Mercedes A45 or Audi RS3. The market is so diverse that no one can claim to be the King of hot hatches like the days of 306 GTi. So where is the new 308 GTi in the spectrum? It is pretty close to Golf GTi. In other words, it aims to be a high-quality and practical all-rounder instead of an all-out fast car.

The 308 GTi looks probably too civilized for a hot hatch. Apart from mesh grilles and larger wheels there’s nothing distinguish it from the regular 308, which is already a dull design. There is no striking spoilers or diffusers, whereas the twin-exhaust is understated. The interior is better, as the dashboard design is striking and the GTi’s exclusive bucket seats add some visual appeal. Build quality is high for a French car, or just a tad below the level of Volkswagen.

The French car also mirrors its Volkswagen rival by offering two levels of performance. The base car provides 250 horsepower to enable 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the hotter model is good for 270 hp and 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Both have a top speed regulated at 155 mph. Powering them is yet another version of the long-lived 1.6 THP engine, which is remarkably small for the power they produce. The high-power version is practically the same motor as that of RCZ R coupe, although it is modified to comply with EU6 emission and added with automatic stop-start to save fuel. Both versions generate the same 243 lbft of torque which is also the limit of the RCZ R-sourced 6-speed manual gearbox.



As the 308 is unusually light at just 1200 kg – thanks to that small motor as well as the lightweight EMP2 platform – the 270 hp model is pretty fast on the road, certainly feels faster than Golf GTi Performance and close to the level of Seat Leon Cupra 280. The small motor is respectably responsive and punchy, with plenty of torque to avoid rushing the slightly ponderous gearshift. Meanwhile, its fuel economy and rated emission are remarkable. It satisfies the best of both worlds. The only weakness is the lack of a sporty soundtrack, as the exhaust note is deliberately suppressed to maintain refinement.

The chassis is predictably beefed up. Developed by Peugeot Sport, the 308 GTi has its suspensions lowered by 11 mm and all bushings stiffened. The front springs and rear torsion beam get 60 percent and 100 percent stiffer, respectively. The anti-roll bars, power steering and traction control are retuned. In addition, the 270 hp model gets larger (19-inch) wheels, larger front brakes (380 mm instead of 330 mm), grippier Michelin Super Sport rubbers and a standard Torsen LSD. As a result, its handling is transformed. Its new-found front-end grip enables a responsive turn-in and strong mid-corner bite. It can carry big speed into corner. Unlike a Megane RS, its handling is more about grip and less about throttle adjustability, but that doesn't prevent it from being an effective A-to-B machine. The ride is always slightly on the firm side, which is the result of lacking adaptive dampers, but it returns a taut body control and good high-speed composure. The tiny steering wheel gives an impression of sportiness, but it is actually light and short of feel. That, in addition to the secure rear end and dull exhaust note, means the 308 GTi is not very engaging to drive. What it lacks is not outright speed but driver interaction. In this respect, the slower Golf GTi Performance is actually better.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
308 1.6 HDi
2013
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Steel, aluminum, composites
4253 / 1804 / 1457 mm
2620 mm
Inline-4 diesel
1560 cc
SOHC 8 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
115 hp
199 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
205/55R16
1160 kg
122 mph (c)
9.6 (c)
-
308 1.6 THP
2013
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Steel, aluminum, composites
4253 / 1804 / 1457 mm
2620 mm
Inline-4
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves, VVT
Turbo
DI
156 hp
177 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
225/45R17
1165 kg
134 mph (c)
7.6 (c)
-
308 1.2 THP
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Steel, aluminum, composites
4253 / 1804 / 1457 mm
2620 mm
Inline-3
1199 cc
DOHC 12 valves, DVVT
Turbo
DI
130 hp
170 lbft
6-speed automatic
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
225/45R17
1150 kg
124 mph (c)
9.2 (c)
-




Performance tested by: -





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
308 GT
2015
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Steel, aluminum, composites
4253 / 1804 / 1447 mm
2620 mm
Inline-4
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
205 hp / 6000 rpm
210 lbft / 1750-4500 rpm
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
225/40WR18
1200 kg
146 mph (c)
7.1 (c)
-
308 GTi 270
2015
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Steel, aluminum, composites
4253 / 1804 / 1446 mm
2620 mm
Inline-4
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves, DVVT, VVL
Turbo
DI
270 hp / 6000 rpm
243 lbft / 1900-5000 rpm
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
235/35WR19
1200 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.7 (c)
-



























Performance tested by: -





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