Driven - January 2016

“Look at me!” says the new Peugeot 208 GT-Line.

Unashamedly stylish: Peugeot’s updated 208 GT-Line.

If being glamorous is your thing, then Peugeot’s refreshed 208 may be the car for you. In GT-Line guise, the car comes with a plethora of shiny aesthetic items. Chrome lining, dramatic black and red interior and a modern cabin make you instantly fall in love with the styling of the new car. The proverbial cherry on top of our test unit, was the unique textured paint which drew looks from passers-by at almost any place the car was parked.

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The GT-Line in Peugeot’s 208 really distinguishes the car against its more normal siblings. This is obviously a good thing. For petrol heads though, it can create some disappointment because as fast as the car looks, it only has a 1.2 litre turbocharged engine that is not built for speed, but rather for comfort and refinement. The engine in the GT-Line is perfect for those not performance orientated because the torque in the car is just enough to get you around town without having to make the engine scream.

The 208 GT-Line also offers two gearbox options, a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic. The model we tested was fitted with the latter. This gearbox was effective in traffic since our left foot was able to rest, but we prefer a manual in cars that use small engines such as the 208 GT-Line. The reason for this is because a manual gearbox allows you to explore the engines full capabilities in terms of being in the right gear at all times, especially in a small engine which relies heavily on the turbocharger for torque. As a result the automatic tends to be either in too high of a gear or the converse, which can be frustrating. Although if you’re in an enthusiastic mood, the selection of a “sport” mode can be made, which adapts the gearbox to work better with the driver in rushed times.

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As mentioned, the 208 GT-Line is not the performance flagship of the range, so one can’t be too critical because the car doesn’t live up to our boy-racer ambitions. If going fast is your thing and you still want the charming good looks of the 208, Peugeot has something else for you. That answer comes in the 147 kW, 1.6 litre turbocharged 208 GTI. As an everyday car, the GT-Line makes a great deal of sense. It is well sized, well built and relatively well priced at R 272 900. That price range barks up the tree of the likes of the current Polo TSI, which is the best-selling car in this segment.

That being said, the Peugeot appeals to a slightly different target market. The eccentric and the artistic are the ones who would truly appreciate the car for what it is, because like them, it’s different. In a world where we all want to stand out and be noticed, the GT-Line, especially with its interesting-to-touch textured paint is a car that says “look at me”.

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