Sporty in all but name: Peugeot 308 e-THP 110
Car of the Year? Arguably. Engine of the Year? Indubitably
Vulture at the Wheel Peugeot’s recent mid-sized hatchbacks have been a less than inspiring bunch. The 307 and the original 2007 model year 308 were dull, globulous mediocrities and not very well screwed together to boot. The all-new 308 however is a rather more interesting bag of bananas.
To start with, it follows in the design and engineering footsteps of the altogether rather excellent Peugeot 208 that we reviewed on these pages in GTi form. Indeed, it beat the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S to the European Car of the Year gong for 2014. In other words, it trumped two cars that I would happily sell my left testicle to own.
The exact model that I’ve been using and abusing is the e-THP 110 Allure, which packs the brand new three-cylinder, turbo-charged 1.2L 110bhp PureTech petrol engine. Like Ford’s EcoBoost motor, it is one of the new generation of forced induction small engines that produces an unfeasibly large amount of power and torque from a block that is positively miniscule in both size, weight and displacement.
1.2L 3-pot turbo is a damn fine engine – click for a larger image
On paper it boasts a CO2 emissions figure of 107g/km and EU combined cycle fuel consumption of 61.4mpg, both of which are pretty impressive numbers.
Before we get onto the Peugeot 308 itself, a few words really do need to be said about that PureTech motor. Not to beat about the bush, but it’s a little jewel of an engine. It's eager, refined and more than willing to rev right up the redline. It’s the sort of engine that will put an smile on the face of anyone with even a modicum of technical sympathy.
Nose follows the Pug family style
Now, I’ll grant you that the combined effect of 110bhp and 151ft-lb of torque doesn’t exactly hurl the 308 towards the horizon like a howitzer shell. Yet 95 per cent of that torque is available from 1,500 to 3,500rpm. As for turbo lag, there is none. So this new Pug hustles along much more rapidly than the official 0-62mph time of 11.8 seconds suggests.
Pleasing hand job: gear change is light, positive and slick
Pressing on is made that much easier by the very positive and slick short-throw five speed manual gearbox. Not that you actually have to swap the cogs all that often if you don’t fancy it. If you are feeling lazy, the 308 has you covered. I pulled away from near walking speed in a motorway jam in fifth gear without any commotion or hesitancy on the part of the drive train. Keep the pedal to the Axminster and the 308 will casually romp up to 117mph which is more than enough for man or beast.