However this week Peugeot has chosen to celebrate the 30th anniversary since the launch of a predecessor to the 208 hatchback, the cult icon that is the Peugeot 205.
With the Peugeot 208 and its upcoming hot hatch specification, the GTi, the company had pledged that it would be able to deliver a new hatchback that could be deemed worthy of succeeding the 205, such is the lasting impact it made.
The Peugeot 205 was first launched on 15 February 1983, and while other hatchback models had come before it, Peugeot considers the 205 to be the car that truly put the brand on the world map. Little wonder Peugeot believe this, when taking into account the numbers sold and the general positive turn in fortunes the 205 gave the manufacturer.
An estimated 5.3 million models of the Peugeot 205 were made in the hatchback’s production run, which lasted all the way up until 1999.
One particular specification which unquestionably bolstered the 205’s success was the arrival of the GTi hot hatch specification. The 205 GTi was first sold in 1984 with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, before stepping up to a more potent 1.9-litre unit in 1986.
The 205 also went on to be sold in a cabriolet specification and in another distinctive hot hatch specification called the Turbo. The Turbo helped to enhance the image of the Peugeot 205 even further after it achieved championship success in the World Rally Championship, during the daring Group B category era.
Focusing back to markets, the 205 range was faced with only a few key competitors, including the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Nova and Renault 5. This left the hatchback especially well-placed during its production cycle to deliver success.
Over the years the range increased further, adding models designated; X, XL, XR (60bhp), XT (80bhp), Automatic, Junior, plus a number of attractive Special Series cars like the Roland Garros and Lacoste models.
Straight after the end of the Peugeot 205’s production run it was replaced by its immediate successor, the 206, this reached over eight million units during its production run. The 206 was then followed by the Peugeot 207, which since June 2012 has now been replaced in the UK by the latest Peugeot hatchback the 208.
Happily for Peugeot the successors to the 205 have achieved a similar success trend to the classic hatchback. In the past 30 years, Peugeot says it has produced over 17 million 2 series vehicles for the compact B car segment.
However none of Peugeot hatchbacks until now have quite captured the cult status which the 205 can boast. However with 220,000 sales already achieved in European markets, the 208 supermini could well be on its way of achieving a similar iconic status like the 30 year old 205.
The Peugeot 208’s chances of achieving such status will be helped in 2013 by the arrival of its own new GTi hot hatch specification.
The 208 GTi will open UK orders on 1 March 2013, with prices starting from £18,895. First deliveries of this hot hatch will commence across Britain in April 2013.
To make it stand out from the rest of the supermini’s range, the 208 GTi uses a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit, which has previously featured on other hot hatches like the limited edition Citroen DS3 Racing and is also available for the Peugeot RCZ coupe.
This engine is linked to a six-speed manual transmission, and it allows the Peugeot 208 GTi to charge through the 0-62mph sprint in 6.8 seconds.
Peugeot has also made adjustments to both the suspension and steering compared to the standard 208 hatchback, so that the GTi can deliver a greater handling and generally more engaging drive to those behind the wheel.
Standard equipment for the new Peugeot hot hatch will include 17″ alloy wheels, rear parking sensors and a DAB radio.
Current Peugeot models including the standard 208 hatchback are available now from Perrys Peugeot Dealerships found in Aylesbury, Blackburn, Bolton, Milton Keynes, Nelson and Portsmouth.[YouTube:6rPIQKsLbgg:BlockCentre]