Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peugeot 205 GTI - hot hatchback and real successor of initial Golf GTI

When Volkswagen introduced the VW Golf GTI in 1976 they had no idea how successful the car was going to be. They had invented a new category. People with a wide range of backgrounds and income bought the car, because it was practical, nimble and fun to drive. When Volkswagen replaced the Mk 1 Golf with the Mk 2 in 1983 the GTI wasn't any more as attractive as before. Being heavier, uglier and less cool, made many people looking for something else as a replacement.
Peugeot was clearly an alternative and many thought, a better one. The Peugeot 205 GTI was a success, both with 1.6 and 1.9 liter engine. Power was comparable to the Golf with 105 to 128 HP and the handling was certainly equivalent to say the least. The car was very pretty, thanks to Pininfarinas design, and it was as practical as the Golf had been. The 205 GTI was economical too and it was one of the first cars for example to have with a catalyst in 1987 in Switzerland. Many reasons therefore spoke for this car and I got mine in white in 1988 with a black interior and the 1.9 liter engine. I loved it and it was a blast to drive in the hilly Swiss landscape.
I didn't have it for too long, as I moved on to a BMW, but retrospectively it certainly was one of the best cars I ever owned.
Peugeot took over the "hot hatch" category with this car, but they blew it with the 306 which was never a real successor of the 205.
Here's some technical detail right out of the sales brochure (pictured on the left): 1905 ccm, 104 HP (DIN), 3 way catalyst, 3.705 m long, 1.572 m wide, 900 kg light, vmax 190 km/h, 0-100 km/h in 9.5 seconds, average fuel consumption 7.9 liter per 100 km/h. Look at today's cars in comparison: Yes they are a bit faster, but not that much and the even use more gasoline and are much more difficult to park.

1 comment:

John L said...

Here in Australia there's another similar GTI from the same era. My son has a Nissan Pulsar GTI and it's a rocketship when the Turbo is working properly. I have a 1980 Bolwell Ikara which has an early Golf GTI unit mounted behind the driver, driving the rear wheels. It is the only turbocharged Ikara and goes really hard. I'm in the process of a rebuild and bought a very cheap 4-door Golf GTI for spare parts. Anyway, it was so nice that we decided to drive it as a second car. It doesn't matter now because I think a twin-cam might be the way to go for the Bolwell.