Peugeot 208 GTI Concept: The French Rediscover Hot Hatches

American enthusiasts have long complained that European consumers get a better crop of attractive and hot hatchbacks to choose from. Now, Peugeot is just making us more jealous by way of the the 208 GTi and 208 XY Concepts, which will debut at the Geneva show next month. The GTi takes a more aggressive stance than other 208 three-door models, thanks to a 36 mm wider track and a prominent rear spoiler. The plain black plastic grille has been traded out for a metal checked-flag motif complete with a brushed-aluminum GTi Concept logo, which can also be found adorning the C-pillars - a throwback to the venerable 205 GTi from the 1990s. The 208 GTi Concept also sees the addition of lower body spoilers and sill skirt extensions, four disc brakes with red calipers, and double chrome exhaust tailpipes lined with red paint. Large, five-spoke wheels make the GTi's sporting intentions clear, and either a Union Jack or the French "Le Tricolour" flag adorns the lower air intake below the grille. Front and rear Peugeot badges are colored red, as has all of the interior trim. The steering wheel and seats are both wrapped in black perforate leather with red contrasting stitching, and the dashboard has been swathed in alcantara with grey stitching. Brushed aluminum pedals, shift knob, and gauge backgrounds complete the interior's makeover. The Peugeot 208 GTi Concept is powered by the same 200-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 used in the RCZ coupe. Here, it's mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which directs power to the front wheels. Despite being sized closer to the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo, the 208 GTi could give the likes of the 200-hp VW GTI and 181-hp Mini Cooper S a run for their money. An equal amount of power in a lighter, sexier package? Oui, s'il vous plait... Making its debut alongside the 208 GTi Concept is the 208 XY Concept, which suggests the 208 could also serve as a premium, upscale compact hatchback. Decorated inside and out in a unique Crimson paint color, the XY Concept boasts pearl grey leather seats, purple LED accent lighting, chrome trim, and a panoramic moonroof. Outside, the Peugeot 208 XY Concept is decked out with 18-inch alloy wheels, horizontal chrome grille bars, and full LED headlights. Since the XY is more about prestige than power, it uses only a 116-hp form of the 1.6-liter I-4 found in the 208 GTI show car. Both the Peugeot 208 GTi and XY Concepts will make their official debuts next month at the Geneva Motor Show. No production plans have been officially announced, but neither concept seems that far removed from reality. Stay tuned to Automobile Magazine for all the full coverage from the show. Source: Peugeot

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