Sibling Rivalry: The 208 GTi vs 208 PureTech

Malaysia is no stranger to the old 1.6 liter, non turbo 208 that was launched back in 2012. We love the way it looks, inside and out, and there’s no questioning the safety credentials of the car.

On the other end of the 208 spectrum you have the extra hot, cranked up to 10, fire spitting 208 GTi, with 200bhp, 275Nm and a good old fashion, macho, manual 6 speed gearbox.

Now though there’s the updated versions of both cars, and having driven both of them back to back on the Tour de Peninsula mega drive, organized by Peugeot GTi Club Malaysia, I’m beginning to feel the gap between the two cars are closer than ever. So here’s a list of what’s same and what’s different about the updated variants of the 208. Let’s start with the similarities.

  1. Both have snails

And we are not talking about the garden variety. It’s the turbochargers under the hood. The PureTech 208 now comes with a 3 cylinder 1.2 liter Turbocharged engine and it is a feisty little firecracker. We have established that this engine is mighty when it comes to fuel consumption figures in our Hypermilling challenge. We managed to stretch its 50L fuel tank to 939km before needing to fuel up again. What we discovered in Tour De Peninsula is that this engine is more than capable of leading a pack of curve-hungry GTi’s. Truly a dual personality syndrome.

  1. Both come with 6 forward ratios

In keeping with the times, both cars come with 6 speed gearboxes. Of course the GTi’s manual gearbox is spaced much more closer and geared towards acceleration on mountain roads.

The PureTech’s gearboxd is still very responsive despite being a conventional automatic, quite smooth and very eager to drop a gear or two depending on how you command it using your throttle pedal. And with no dry double clutch system at work, there will be a peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to suffer those bag of problems.

  1. Both have start / stop systems

Despite the hefty RM54,000 price difference, quite a lot of kit is shared between both cars, namely the Stop-Start system. This system has proven itself to be extremely helpful during the Hypermille run, especially when waiting at the toll booths and traffic lights, saving those precious few millilitres of fuel to maximize range. Both are seamless in action too, especially in the GTi.

  1. Both have THAT beautiful tri-claw tail lamps

No explanation, just look at them, and go WOW……… I suspect it would be the Number 1 modification every pre-facelift 208 owner (GTi owners included) will do!

  1. Both produce more than 200Nm of torque

The mighty GTi weighs in at 300Nm in facelift form, the pre facelift car punched out 275Nm. The PureTech, incredibly, produces 205Nm of torque from its 1.2 liter engine. To put that into context, the Accord 2.4 produces only 20Nm extra at 225Nm. And the PureTech only has less than 1200kg to pull around. This makes it one of the most powerful cars on sale in its segment!

But here’s where the similarities end, and this is where you see the RM54,000 price difference.


  1. Bigger Rims and Tyres

The GTi comes with 17 inch 205/45/17 tyres. The PureTech comes with 195/50/16 tyres on 16 inch rims. Very comfortable, and low in terms of rolling resistance, but this is where the differences start to show in the corners.

  1. Bigger Brakes

The GTi’s brakes are noticeably beefier in terms of bite and feel. You do get the feeling that something heavy duty is at work under the GTi’s pedal. The 208 however is just about there.

  1. Revised suspension and chassis

Here is where the most difference between both cars are seen, and arguably the most amount of money spent to differentiate them. The GTi comes in only 2 doors, while the PureTech is currently available in the 4 door configuration only. The GTi feels a lot stiffer and rigid in comparison to the PureTech.

The damping is much more stiffer and controlled, with major bumps not affecting the GTi, even at really ‘exciting’ speeds. The PureTech’s comfort orientated setup is the only thing holding back its B-road speed.  And eco-based tyres also don’t reassure as the GTi ones do on some of the most demanding Malaysian B Roads.

The basic balance between both cars remain similar though.

The Conclusion

Ok this was an unfair comparison, the GTi is a class leading hot hatch, and in my opinion one of the best performers on Malaysian B roads. This is a car that can humble some big names on our demanding country roads.

The fact that on these very roads the PureTech came this close dynamically was an amazing praise. None of the PureTech rivals come close to what this car can do. For RM89,000 this car can return you 900km on 45 liters of fuel, and still cope with a 208 GTi’s pace on twisty and demanding roads. This is a mad car. And if you ask me, it’s only a suspension and brake upgrade away to closing the gap with the GTi. Stay tune for more in depth review of the 208 PureTech!

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