Peugeot’s pint-sized performance car is about to undergo a major growth spurt, with the 208 GTi's iconic three-door body shape to be axed in favour of the first-ever five-door version that will have grown in every dimension.
An all-new Peugeot 208 is expected to be revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, and international reports point to the new model being offered exclusively with five doors only - marking the official end of a three-door GTi, the current version of which has been on sale since 2012.
That car is the spiritual successor to another three-door icon, the super-light Peugeot 205 GTi. The new model will be the first time the French brand's smallest performance car has been offered with five doors.
Peugeot has already confirmed the new 208 will be built on its Common Modular Platform (CMP), designed in partnership with Chinese company Dongfeng Motors, and will focus on electrification as a powertrain option. International media reports suggest that, along with a range of 1.2-litre engines, a hybrid powertrain that combines a petrol engine with a 50kWh battery will be launched toward the end of 2019, offering an all-electric range of 350km and induction charging.
The last three-door Peugeot 208 GTi.
What’s less clear, though, is exactly what will power a new performance-flavoured GTi variant. With the current 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine unlikely to survive ever-stricter European emissions targets, it is understood a new engine will be required.
In the meantime, the GTi badge is expected to be put into cold storage, with the current car to be discontinued globally and the model to be run-out in Australia. Rumours abound of a going-away party for the current car, in the form of a limited-run special edition.
Peugeot Australia says any performance hiatus will be temporary, telling carsguide that a (presumably bigger) GTi will feature in the 208 lineup in the future.
“Australians are huge consumers of performance variants, and those halo models play a hugely important role in a model lineup,” said Peugeot’s Australia PR chief, Tyson Bowen.
“Both the GTI badge and Peugeot Sport are highly respected and regarded, and we see nothing but potential in Australia for those things in the future.”
Will you miss the three-door 208 GTi when it's gone? Tell us in the comments.