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Peugeot 208 GTI here from May 2013

Back to the roots: The Peugeot 208 GTI concept that appeared at the Geneva show in February previews the production version that will debut in Paris in September.

Hot GTI and crossover SUV versions of new Peugeot 208 set for Australia in 2013

13 Jul 2012

16/07/2012PEUGEOT Australia will add some sizzle to its forthcoming 208 light-car range with the addition of hot GTI and luxurious XY three-door variants in May next year.

Both models will debut globally at the Paris motor show in September and are expected to mirror the thinly-veiled concept versions that appeared at the Geneva show in February this year.

Peugeot Australia also revealed that the standard 208 will not come with diesel power when the new range goes on sale locally from September this year.

The expansion of the 208 range does not stop with the GTI and XY, with the French company also set to show a crossover SUV version at the Paris show ahead of an Australian debut in late 2013.

Known internally as the A94 but likely to be badged ‘2008’ for production, the 208-based crossover will enter a growing market segment here against other expected newcomers such as the Holden Trax, Opel Mokka, Ford EcoSport and – potentially – the oddball Nissan Juke.

Further details are scarce, but expect the 2008 to resemble to the Urban Crossover Concept displayed at the Beijing motor show in April.

Peugeot Australia director Bill Gillespie told local media today it would have a “chunky, tonka-toy” look about it.

23 center imageFrom top: Peugeot 208 XY concept 208 Urban Crossover concept.

The introduction of the 208 GTI will return Peugeot to its roots, with the lightweight pocket rocket set to hark back to iconic GTI models such as the 205 and 206, with the new model to be more compact and lighter than its discontinued 207 GTI predecessor, which sold here from $33,490.

The concept was powered by the RCZ coupe’s 147kW turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and is expected to carry over into the production model, matched exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox.

The production GTI is also likely to feature a wider track than the standard 208, as well as larger brakes. The concept version featured 301mm brakes at the front and 249mm units at the rear.

The 208 XY – derived from the word ‘sexy’ – will be pitched as a rival for the DS3 from fellow PSA brand Citroen and will feature luxury touches including leather upholstery and a sunroof, but is expected to also come only with the manual gearbox.

Mr Gillespie said models like the GTI and XY were important for the company going forward in Australia because they would re-establish the brand’s sporting credentials.

“(It’s about) getting back to our DNA as more of a sporty performance brand than we have been,” he said.

“We need to give ourselves that sort of persona, and in Australia that will give us a point of difference. If you are a European brand, you’re going to need a sporty car.”

Mr Gillespie said the 208 range would launch exclusively with petrol power in September.

The five-door will be available in two highly-specified equipment levels and powered by 60kW/118Nm 1.2-litre three-cylinder and 88kW/160Nm 1.6-litre naturally aspirated units.

The 1.2 will be offered with a second-generation ‘EGC’ robotised automatic transmission as well as a five-speed manual, while the 1.6 will get the choice of manual or a conventional auto.

The three-door will initially be offered exclusively in highly specified Feline guise, powered solely by a turbocharged version of the 1.6-litre engine producing 115kW/240Nm and matched to a manual gearbox only, making it a sort of quasi-hot hatch.

Mr Gillespie said the company had been offered the chance to import the base European-market Access variant, but had opted against chasing a low starting price at the expense of a dearth of standard features.

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