One may not know, but Peugeot is actually one of the most successful rally players, right beside Citroen, with 5 World Rally Championship Manufacturers' titles, 4 times Dakar Rally wins, 3 times European Rally Championship and 3 times Intercontinental Rally Challenge winner under the belt. That’s an impressive track record for anyone, and just because they’re a French manufacturer, people don’t quite give them the recognition they deserve, they even enjoy decent success in other motorsports as well.
Peugeot 308 GTi Shoot
Although they obviously have enjoyed success in the motorsport world, it’s a pretty different story in the real world. They’ve been making mediocre cars for the past 15 or so years. So when Paul talked about photographing the new Peugeot 308 GTi, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. I read up on the car and, to my surprise, Clarkson has reviewed the car, and he was positive about it, so my hopes were up and spirits were high.
The 308 GTi features a very rally-inspired engine. 1.6 litres is all you get, but it features a turbo, and that, believe it or not, pushes the output to 250 hp. It sounds like a rally car, it goes like a rally car, but it looks just like a normal family crossover. This car just screams rally out of every single one of its cells. It looks bold, but I wouldn’t say it is a pretty car, so motion was the main thing for the photos and, being a crossover, urban landscape fits the car well.
Being in the car, it feels absolutely peppy, especially for a car that tricks your mind so well, with its above average ground clearance and practicality. With its sharp lines and red accents, aggressive angles worked for it. Moreover, the colour combination pops when you put the 308 GTi into dull places. If you look carefully, you will also notice that the Peugeot logo is written in red.
Small Details in the Wheels
In dim and grey places, the red accents further emphasize the large gaping grille of the car. It subtly tells you that the car is a big performer under the hood. The other thing that I really like about the 308 GTi is the really quite unique wheels. The spokes have those small crevasses that stands out from all the other wheels. I’ve never personally seen this kind of design in aftermarket wheels before, much less in factory specs; points for Peugeot here.
Gentle Body Lines
The rear lights also lead your eyes nicely to the bodylines running down the side profile of the 308 GTi. Overall, I think the car looks aggressive, but not so much that it becomes obnoxious, which is something that many car manufacturers fail to achieve. The rear of the car tells very little as well, bar the GTi badge, which some may even choose to remove.
Getting Inside with the Camera
Open the doors though, and it’s a completely different story. I mean, from the outside, the tell-tale signs that this is a special 308 is not obvious, but on the inside, almost everything tells you that you are in a crossover with ambitions. From the nice bulky steering wheel with GTi embedded on the bottom, to the rather quirky tachometer that sweeps from the right to the left. All these are details I wanted to capture, to truly bring out the sporty nature that is dressed so well under practical clothing.
Even if you were to be oblivious to the tell-tale signs, the alcantara bucket seats with ‘Peugeot Sport’ written on it should tell you what this car wants to do. Even the door sills have a piece of aluminium on it sporting the Peugeot Sport GTi badge. The interior is a lovely place to be, without many buttons the driver can be focused on the road, just as one should be in the 308 GTi.
A Little bit of the 205 GTi Encapsulated
Overall, I am glad for Peugeot. Why? Because they’ve created something like a gem that lies within the dozens and dozens of hot hatchbacks, sporty sedans, etc. It’s a car that I actually want to photograph, with good little details that will train your photographer’s eye to capture. In fact, I see a little bit of the 205 GTi encapsulated in the 308 GTi here. And that can never be a bad thing, can it?