The current 208 GTi, although never road tested, was not lacking in gusto – a good thing when you consider the marginal nature of the power increase enacted here.

Nevertheless, Peugeot claims a respectable 0.3sec reduction in 0-62mph time, and, two up, we corroborated it at Millbrook. The previous car’s problem was in the hooves rather than the horses, so it seems fair to credit the revised suspension geometry, new limited-slip differential and stickier tyres with the slightly better level of traction required to enable the 30th to cover the 0-60mph sprint in 6.5sec.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The new limited-slip differential stands out as the key mechanical change, but otherwise this is a hefty tweak of the 208 GTi's blueprint

That puts it in very good stead compared with the competition, making it almost a full second quicker than the spiritless Clio 200 and half a second up on the Fiesta ST. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Fiesta ST, powered by Ford’s similar-sized Ecoboost engine, remains the more characterful and responsive unit from low revs.

Peugeot’s own turbocharged four-cylinder motor, although as thrusting as ever from shorter gear ratios, still suffers from a brief contemplative moment of lag that just isn’t as noticeable in the ST. It isn’t irksome enough to be a serious demerit, but it does make the 30th’s undoubted liveliness harder to get at than it might otherwise have been.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • DS 3 Crossback 2019 road test review - hero front
    19 July 2019
    Car review
    French premium brand gets PSA’s new supermini platform first. Does it deliver...
  • BMW 318d front three quarters on the road
    18 July 2019
    First Drive
    Entry-level diesel is likeable addition to range but doesn't live up to...
  • MG ZS EV 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    17 July 2019
    First Drive
    Cheap, spacious and all-round endearing electric version of MG's ZS soft...

Once on stream, the engine’s willingness to rev is undeniably contagious, especially given the enthusiasm with which it careens into its 6500rpm limiter. It isn’t a particularly stirring experience, though, the classic hard-edged four-pot thrash being a strain on the ears compared with the bass-noted melody of the Fiesta’s symposer system.

Throw it all together – the peaky din, the throttle delay, the long-throw gearshift – and the 208’s performance can seem a little disjointed compared with better-rounded rivals. Nevertheless, the 208’s brio – that scurrying exuberance which makes a supermini seem convincingly hot – is never in question.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • DS 3 Crossback 2019 road test review - hero front
    19 July 2019
    Car review
    French premium brand gets PSA’s new supermini platform first. Does it deliver...
  • BMW 318d front three quarters on the road
    18 July 2019
    First Drive
    Entry-level diesel is likeable addition to range but doesn't live up to...
  • MG ZS EV 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    17 July 2019
    First Drive
    Cheap, spacious and all-round endearing electric version of MG's ZS soft...