Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI: the ultimate hot hatch?
Hot hatches are now ubiquitous, but things weren’t always that way. The Golf GTi paved the way, but the 205 1.9 GTI became a legend. Harry Metcalfe takes one for a spin to find out if they still live up to the hype.
The Peugeot 205 GTI was launched in 1984 with a 1.6-litre, 104 hp engine and soon found a loyal following for its fizzy performance, sharp handling, light weight and good looks.
The 1.9 GTI followed in 1988 with 120 hp and disc brakes all around – ten more horses than an 8v MK.2 Golf GTi, nine less than the 16v but way lighter at under one tonne. For this reason, it gained a reputation for being a bit of a hooligan and a favourite of joy-riders.
It makes you feel a bit of a hero…Harry Metcalfe
The 205 Group B rally car achieved 16 World Rally Championship victories in just three seasons which happily for petrolheads spawned the mighty 205 Turbo 16 homologation special. The sales success of the GTI also saw the development of the less expensive but hardcore and now very collectable 205 Rallye and the 205 GTI’s legend was written into automotive history.
Does the 1.9 GTI feel like a legend today? Harry puts one through its paces to see if it is as good as he remembers.
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Images courtesy of The Hairpin Company. To view or buy the car featured in the video, visit their website.