Peugeot’s new competitor in international rallying is the 208 R5, which made its world premiere at the ongoing Paris Auto Show. Due to FIA’s new rules that were introduced to reduce costs and will come in effect next year, the 208 R5 is quite different to the car it replaces.
The R5 class consists of Group A cars that are based on a production model of which at least 25,000 units must have been built.
Under the new R5 regulations, racing cars retain many parts of the S2000 class such as the all-wheel-drive system with no center differential, a five speed sequential gearbox, widened tracks, aerodynamic aids and a minimum weight of 1,200 kg (2,645 pounds).
The main change is that forced-induction 1.6-liter units have replaced the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engines. The 208 R5 will utilize the brand’s 1.6-liter THP unit, which has already been tested in competition in the RCZ Racing Cup.
FIA regulations also stipulate that the maximum price for R5 class racers must not exceed €180,000 (US$231,400).
The 208 R5, which will be assembled at Peugeot Sport facilities in Velizy, will begin its testing program at the end of the year and will become available to customers during the second half of 2013.
Peugeot will build 54 examples, 29 of which will be heading to the United Kingdom. The French carmaker says it chose this number to represent each year since the UK launch of the original 205 GTi in 1984.
Each of the 208 GTi Limited Edition models will be numbered from 01 to 29, and will come with exclusive satin pearlescent white paint, 17-inch ‘Carbon’ Onyx Black Alloys, a Union Jack flag print on the lower front grille and extra standard features such as Satellite Navigation.
The special edition model is available for order now with an on-the-road price of £20,495.
Peugeot said production is scheduled for April 2013, with the 208 GTi Limited Edition to be handed over to customers about a month ahead of the regular 208 GTi’s launch in late May.
The R5 category consists of Group A vehicles derived from a series production model, with at least 25,000 sales. It was created by FIA to reduce costs for teams adopting the major assets of the S2000 category including four-wheel drive, five-speed sequential gearbox, no central differential and long travel suspension. FIA has also set the maximum price for the ‘R5s’ at €180,000 (US$238,700) excluding taxes.
The 208 Type R5 is powered by Peugeot’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine rated at 280hp at 6,000rpm and 400Nm (295 lb-ft) at 2,500rpm with a five-speed sequential transmission driving all-four wheels.
The new 208 GTi will live up to its promise is something we’ll just have to wait to see, but the initial specifications are promising, starting with the fact that, at 1,160kg (2,538 lbs), Peugeot’s latest pocket rocket is a whopping 165kg (364 pounds) lighter than the 207 RC (called GTi in some markets including the UK).
It’s also more powerful than the 175hp 207 RC / GTi as it is equipped with the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol found in the flagship version of the RCZ Coupe, which generates an output of 197hp (200PS) and peak torque of 275Nm (203 lb-ft).
A six speed manual gearbox drives the front wheels with the French carmaker quoting 0-100 km/h (62mph) acceleration in less than 7 seconds, 0-1,000m (0.62 miles) in 27 seconds and 80-120km/h (50-75mph) in fifth-gear in less than 7 seconds. Peugeot has not yet released the car’s top speed or fuel economy numbers, though it did reveal that it emits 145g/km of C02.
Peugeot says it has uprated and re-tuned the steering system and the suspension that gains sport springs and shock absorbers, new anti-roll bars, plus enhanced front subframe and rear crossmember. The car’s tracks are 10mm wider at the front and 20mm wider at the rear.
The 208 GTi now rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped around in 205/45 rubber, which house larger 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 249mm at the rear.
Exterior upgrades over the regular 208 three-door hatchback include a rather subtle styling package comprising a bespoke finish for the front grille, chromed mirror caps, side sills, a honeycomb mesh lower front grille, a black rear diffuser with trapezoid chromed double tailpipes, LED headlamps and a chromed trim strip with the GTi logo on the C-Pillar.
To celebrate the launch of the car, Peugeot will offer a fully-specified Limited Edition version adorned in an exclusive Satin Pearlescent White paint and 17-inch wheels fitted with red aluminum caps, while the lower bar of the front grille will bear the colors of the French flag. Inside, the special edition will come equipped with Satellite Navigation, a HiFi Pack, and a numbered plaque.
The new 208 GTi will go on sale in Europe in the spring of 2013.
The new 208 R2 was developed for the popular R2 rally category and features a raft of upgrades over the regular model.
These include the driveline that combines a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine tuned to deliver 185hp at 7,800rpm, linked to a five-speed, manual, sequential gearbox with the lever mounted on the steering column.
Peugeot’s engineers also made changes to the suspension, the brakes and switched the standard car’s electric power steering to a hydraulic unit, while the car rides on specially developed racing tires from Michelin.
The 208 R2 will make its first public appearance in full racing livery when it serves as ‘zero’ car for next week’s Tour de Corse (May 10-12), the fourth round of the 2012 Intercontinental Rallye Challenge.
Peugeot said that the gravel and asphalt versions of the 208 R2 will both be available in kit form including the engine with prices starting at €37,500 (US$49,500) as well as in fully built form for €57,500 (US$76,000).
The “Ice Velvet” will be available only as a 3-door model and gets its name from its exclusive, satin finish paint. Its bodywork sports chrome details, a black finish for the grille, fog lights, panoramic roof and side mirrors, and bright chrome on the window surrounds and the exhaust pipe, while it rides on bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
Standard features include front lights with LED daytime running lights, a panoramic glass roof with blue guide lights, a large touch screen on the center console, satellite navigation, automatic climate control and sports seats.
According to Peugeot, the 208 “Ice Velvet” is offered with a choice of two engines, a 120HP 1.6-liter gasoline engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and a 115HP 1.6 diesel that is combined with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 208 adopts Peugeot’s new design philosophy, the main highlights of which include the “floating” grille, the headlights that stretch well back into the front wings and the “boomerang” style tail lamps. The 208’s profile is also more sculptured, and overall, the new Pug looks quite different from the 207 it replaces.
Peugeot will offer two body styles for the 208 straight from launch next spring. The three-door model stands out thanks to the pronounced side curve that extends all the way back to the rear lights, a slightly more sloped roofline, thicker C-pillar and a smaller glasshouse that echoes the 206.
“The strength of the 208 lies in its style”, says Gilles Vidal, Peugeot’s Style Director. “It is a real ball of energy. It has the potential to please everyone, like a popular piece of music that touches the human soul regardless of culture.”
The French carmaker is also planning replacements for the 207 CC with the folding hardtop as well as the SW estate.
Contrary to the trend that makes every new model bigger and heavier than its predecessor, the 208 is both smaller (by 70mm in length and 10mm in height) and significantly lighter (by 110kg / 242lbs on average and as much as 173kg / 384 pounds) than the 207.