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Peugeot 205 GTi was a missile

The 205 was a type of car that cannot be built in 2013.

The 205 GTi hit like a missile when it was aimed and fired at youthful driving enthusiasts in 1983. It looked great, it was compact and responsive, it was affordable and it was so, so, so much fun to drive.

There was also a rawness about the car that I remember well from my first drive on roads around Canberra. The 205 was always egging you on, encouraging you to rev the engine, stand on the brakes, then exploit its go-kart grip and response.

It was a lightweight car but a heavyweight player as the world woke up to the potential in hot hatches, led by Volkswagen's landmark Golf GTi. But the 205 was a type of car that cannot be built in 2013. Today's safety regulations have added weight and complexity and customers demand much more quality and refinement.

To be honest, the 205 GTi was a bit ropey. I remember seats that flexed and wobbled, plastic trim that was well behind the Japanese pacesetters of the day, and even an engine compartment that was too crowded for power steering and aircon to share the space.

The non-steer 205 GTi was hard on your arms, but aircon is essential in Australia and the French eventually got with the program. Later. I'm looking forward to driving the 208 GTi but, despite all the hype, I'm not expecting a return of the 205.

The Golf GTi is light years better now than it was, delivering performance, safety, economy and quality that was just a dream in the late seventies and that's what Peugeot is promising. The cooking 208 is a nice car, comfy and refined, but it's too costly against its rivals and that's likely to be the biggest hurdle for the GTi.

We're expecting it to be more costly than a Polo GTi, and that car is a cracker, and it will have to battle the rapid Renault Clio RS I've just driven and enjoyed in Europe. But it's great to see that Peugeot is going rallying with the 208 GTi to build a halo for the car, just as it did with the 205 T16 that conquered the world in the 1980s.

This reporter is on Twitter: @paulwardgover