It's so stylish it can walk down the runway and make heads turn (and in fact it did). That’s how the new Peugeot 308 THP (Turbo High Pressure) was presented during the car’s officical launch in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Before the hatch was launched however, the French marque’s local distributor Nasim Sdn Bhd invited members of the media to take the 308 THP for a drive to Tanjong Jara Resort in Trengganu and back. The French do know how to make a statement and the 308 THP is dressed to impress.
It’s completely new and sleek exterior design and lightweight chasis by 140kg sets it apart from previous 308s.
And with the addition of the 1.6-litre twin scroll turbo engine mated to a six-speed automatic AT6 transmission with Quick Shift technology, makes this a serious contender among hot hatches. Just look at some of the official figures.
The 308 THP produces a maximum output of 152PS at 5000rpm and a maximum torque of 240Nm from 1450rpm. Top speed is at 211kph.
The 308 THP however, is not just about speed and power because the car offers practicality and functionality as well without compromising on style.
It has a spacious boot - 470 litres - for a hatch and the wheelbase offers enough space for occupants at 2,620mm. But what really stands out in this car is the driving experience and it’s mostly due to the 308’s design of the cabin.
Peugeot has dubbed it the i-Cockpit and it’s already been awarded “Most Beautiful Interior” at the 29th Annual Festival Automobile International. It’s not hard to see why.
The interior is minimally designed with an emphasis on driver focused elements. The push-start button for example, is located on the centre console in between the gear lever and electronic parking brake switch. The head-up instrument panel features a symmetric design with opposing needles for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges.
You won’t find any buttons for the dual zone climate-control as all of it has been relocated to the 9.7-inch touchscreen display. The only dial you will find is for the volume control for the CD player and this car comes equipped with the Arkamys sound system with six-speakers.
The steering wheel is compact and offers a really good grip and because of its small size, there’s less travel for your hands, making long drives less strenuous. And the sculptured Alcantara sports seats not only keep you in place but is also built for comfort.
The front seats even has electric lumbar and massage functions. To top it all off, you get a panoramic roof with an electric blind. The membrane of the blind is thin enough that natural light does get through but don’t worry, you won’t get sunburned or tanned.
Driving this car is calming and inspiring. Calm because the cabin is soundproofed really well with low noise, vibration and harshness levels. It’s so comfortable that it makes driving this car really fun and it keeps one fresh and focused behind the wheel.
I was really surprised that the 308 THP was as smooth and powerful a car with excellent handling and ride quality.
I expected it to be good before I got in but as I was driving this car, all I could think of was how fantastic this car is.
The power delivery and gear shifts were smooth and you are really cocooned in the cabin. The car is very stable going through windy stretches with hardly any noticeable body-roll.
As a driver, you are not overwhelmed by the car’s power and that’s a good thing because it makes driving the 308 THP a real joy. The only compromise here is the exhaust note or rather the lack of it. You can turn on the Sport mode button which can “digitally enhance” the sound through the cabin’s speakers though.
And where safety is concerned, besides offering six airbags, electronic stability programme and hillstart assist, the features in the 308 THP is pretty high-end for its class as it is fitted with the Emergency Collision Alert and Emergency Collision Braking which is a monitoring system that alerts the driver of a potential accident and even applies the brakes autonomously if a collision is imminent.
With a price of RM132,888 (on-the-road with insurance), the 308 THP is a really sweet ride.