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Peugeot 308 THP165 Allure: French finesse

By Ghaith Madadha - Aug 07,2017 - Last updated at Aug 07,2017

Photo courtesy of Peugeot

Peugeot’s answer to the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and other C-segment family hatchbacks, the 308 is a handsomely elegant offering with an up-market air, somewhat quirky driving position and a nice compromise between smooth ride and sharp handling. 

Driven in turbocharged THP165 guise with Allure specification the 308 boasts sprightly and confident near hot hatch performance but with a more subtle appearance rather than the boy racer attitude or go-faster styling. Instead, the Allure has an elegant and somewhat understated appeal with a sense of premium-ness about it.

 

Subtly assertive

 

Reconciling the elegant with the sporty, the Peugeot 308 Allure’s design features an uncomplicated yet athletic shape with subtly bulging convex and concave surfacing, strong waistline ridge running from bonnet to rear lights, and muscularly broad rear haunches.

With sculpted bonnet with the Peugeot lion emblem sitting in a concave groove, the 308 also features a classy yet understated two-slat trapezoidal chrome grille and smoothly flowing silhouette. Its lights, however, feature a more assertive design with lion motifs, including a sharp lower indentation in front and claw-like at the rear. 

Smooth and understated compared to sportier versions of the 308, the Allure driven Allure specification demo car did, however, feature wide and low profile 225/45R17 tyres, which provided a good balance between grip, feel and comfort. The driven model additionally featured auto-swivelling headlights and LED running lights which trail off to the cars side character line. 

Meanwhile, a panoramic sunroof and light interior and leather upholstery colours lent the 308 and airy and light cabin ambiance, contrasted with dark exterior tones and tinted windows, which lent a more conservative flavour to its taut sense of momentum.

 

Confident and comfortable

 

Powered by more garden-variety THP165 version of the same joint Peugeot and BMW developed direct injection turbocharged 1.6-litre engine that also powers 177BHP and 202BHP GT and 246BHP and 266BHP GTI incarnations of the 308, the non-hot hatch Allure delivers perky and confident performance and frugal fuel efficiency. Developing 163BHP at 5500rpm and 177lb/ft torque from just 1400rpm, the 308 THP165 is responsive off the line, with little turbo lag. Driving the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic gearbox, the THP165 dispatches the 0-100km/h dash in under 8.5-seconds and can attain in excess of 200km/h.

Subtly muscular yet eager to rev right to its redline, the 308 THP165 riding a plentiful wave of mid-range torque as revs rise, power accumulates and pace picks up neatly. Whether powering through corners and inclines or cruising and overtaking on motorways and in town with flexible confidence and versatility, the THP165’s is most comfortable in its broad and muscular mid-range sweet spot. 

Gear shifts are well-compromised between smoothness and speed, and one has to pull back rather than push the gear lever forward for manual “tiptronic” mode shifts, as one does in a BMW or Mini.

 

Sporty yet supple

 

Set-up for a well-sorted mix of agile and eager handling with fluently smooth ride comfort, the 308 Allure may be forgivingly soft-edged compared to a more sporting hot hatch, taking road imperfections in its stride, but is nevertheless a precise, responsive and intuitive drive. 

Quick and comfortable driving from point to point, the 308 Allure’s chassis is engaging and adjustable on throttle, while turn-in is tidy and alert, responding well to quick inputs from on centre. Its steering is light, quick and precise with decent road feel, while body control through corners is poised and reassuring, albeit with slight lean owing to its more comfortable set-up.

Responding well to early and tight turn-in, the 308’s front tyres grip well, while rear road-holding is reassuring. However, with weight shifting to the outside and rear through corners, its chassis proves agile, responsive and adjustably playful when one wants it to be, with a touch of mid-corner braking to pivot weight and tightening a cornering line. 

Composed, and stable at speed and refined, the 308 Allure is especially supple when dispatching bumps and cracks at a slight angle. Meanwhile, electronic stability controls are effective and un-intrusive in “off” position, where they remain active but allow more dynamic leeway.

 

Settled and stylish

 

Distinctly French in character and how it combines the sporty with the supple with finesse, the 308 Allure combines easily exploitable power with control and comfort. Taking lumps and bumps smoothly, the 308 pitches slightly vertically over swiftly driven peaks and crests, yet is settled and buttoned down on rebound.

Meanwhile, its tight turning circle makes it manoeuvrable in the city. With front and rear parking sensors, and reversing camera to better manoeuvre its bulging body in tight parking spaces, the features a low-set steering wheel and high-set instrument cluster to provide unimpeded front road visibility.

With a comfortable, supportive and well adjustable driving position, taller drivers might need a couple of attempts to find an ideal driving position with good instrument panel visibility and steering position. Refined inside, the 3008 Allure features classy finish and materials and user-friendly layouts with a stylishly minimalist ambiance. 

 

Spacious in front and with generous 470-litre boot that further expands with rear seats folded. Well equipped, Allure specification features include dual-zone climate control, six airbags, electronic brakeforce distribution, Isofix childseat latches, multi-function steering controls and a USB-enabled infotainment system.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 1.6-litre, turbocharged, transverse 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 77 x 85.8mm

Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection

Gearbox: 6-speed auto, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 163 (165) [121] @5500rpm

Specific power: 102BHP/litre

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 177 (240) @1400rpm

Specific torque: 150.2Nm/litre

0-100km/h: under 8.5-seconds (est.)

Fuel tank: 53-litres

Length: 4253mm

Width: 1804mm

Height: 1457mm

Wheelbase: 2620mm

Track, F/R: 1559/1553mm

Overhang, F/R: 863/770mm

Headroom, F/R: 895/874mm

Shoulder room, F/R: 1395/1365mm

Boot capacity: 470-litres

Kerb weight: 1225kg (est.)

Steering: Electric-assisted rack and pinion

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/torsion bar

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

 

Tyres, F/R: 225/45R17

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