Test drive: Peugeot 308 1.6 THP 200 CC GT
The TotallyMotor Verdict
Last but by no means least, we’ve got our TotallyMotor test drive review of the topless cherry on the new Peugeot 308 range; the 308 1.6 THP 200 CC GT. Or, to give it its short name; the 200bhp 308 drop-top. 200bhp? Should be spicy!
In white, like our test car, and packing the top-of-the-range GT-spec of all the (red) leather, big wheels and in-car-entertaining toys, the 308 CC GT, for me, wears the new facelift very well and gives off an exciting air. And in the metal the CC comes across as imposing and expensive-looking.
The 308 CC of old was no total hound of a car, but with the tidied face, smaller headlights and LED driving lights, the new CC looks every inch of the attractive convertible package that a drop-top for pure driving pleasure should be. We’ve got the new look, a luxury interior and the, until now, usually reserved for the range-topping RCZ coupe, 1.6-litre 200bhp THP engine, working with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
But, at just under £26k on the road, is it still a year-round convertible for the masses? If you want a more budget CC then the range starts with the Access 1.6 VTi at £21,295, but for us convertible motoring should come with a decent turn of GT speed.
This 200bhp turbo motor is already tried, tested and enjoyed in Peugeot’s RCZ coupe, and having blasted with the best of ‘em in that curvy coupe quite recently, it was with fond ‘n’ fast memories that we finally got behind the wheel of the new CC; eager to see how this powerplant powers the CC.
In short, it feels good. There’s not quite as much aural-opera in the CC as there is with the RCZ, with not as much grunt ‘n’ growl coming from the air intake box under the hood, but the gear-marching go-go is still mostly in full effect. The CC just delivers it in a more understated and respectful manner; no doubt with the buyer demographic in mind.
Don’t get me wrong; the THP CC is no shrinking violet, especially with its look-at-me looks, and should you choose to floor the CC you’ll certainly feel it.
For a relatively small (1600cc) and quite efficient (162g/km CO2) engine; albeit turbo-charged, the GT CC picks up quick as long as you are more or less in the right gear. Work with the easy to use, but not particularly accurate, 6-speed manual gearbox and the torquey little motor will dispatch the ratios hard and fast. So watch the speedo!
The 308 CC GT needs its six ratios to get the most from the engine’s performance, but it’s certainly not difficult to imagine this car, roof down and tunes up, carving the back lanes on a classic British summer’s day. And it’s this picture of quick yet accessible convertible motoring that has long been the mainstay of Peugeot’s CC (convertible / coupe), folding-metal-roof cars. No other manufacturer did or does make as many metal-top drop-tops as Peugeot. Clearly they're doing something right.
I wasn’t totally sold with the soft-side suspension I found on the 308 hatchback and SW variants tested before the CC drive, but with 200bhp-worth of bad attitude to keep under control, the CC GT feels stiffer, more direct into the turns, and generally more “up on its toes” and ready for action.
It’s a looker roof up or roof down and, fortunately, the roof-relationship is also unhindered out on the road with little in the way of intrusive scuttle shake apparent when the structure-giving roof is stowed. However, roof down and I did notice the sharp rake of the windscreen creeping close to my face as I climbed in and out of the car.
The interior continues the sense of speedy occasion started by the potent little 4-pot engine, and our test car’s red leather, individual bucket seats looked, felt and positioned perfectly. The rest of the interior is clean, tidy and of the right quality for the price, although there’s not much of the all-new in there. But I always judge a car, especially a sporting car, by its seats first and foremost and these are leathery lovelys.
There’s even a little warm air blower at back-of-the-neck-level that acts like a “scarf” when you can’t resist a roof-stow, even though the air is cold. And that’s just the way a fun-for-the-masses convertible should be – it should make you want to, and have the usability and technology to let you, drive it every day, and the latest CC from Peugeot does that trick just right.
Ten second sum up:
At just under £26k on the road for the fully top-spec Peugeot 308 CC, you might think that this car is getting expensive. But, take into account the all-year metal roof and wow-factor interior, and things should start to make sense. The brakes, suspension, chassis stiffness and 200bhp engine all perform well in the CC, and while the slightly vague gearbox drops the ball a little it’s certainly not a huge detraction from the blue-sky-good-times.
Prices and availability:
Prices for the new Peugeot 308 CC start at £21,295 for the Access 1.6 VTi 120 petrol 5-speed manual, rising to £25,845 for the GT THP 200, as tested here.
By Daniel Anslow
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