The car is officially just a concept model that’s being used to test public reaction at the Geneva, but the production version should look almost identical when it goes on sale around the end of the year.
See also: All Geneva motor show 2012 news
Like all three-door 208s, it features a bold side crease that slopes down towards the front of the car, and a double-bubble roof similar to the one on the Peugeot RCZ coupe.
The GTi looks even more dramatic, though, thanks to 18-inch alloy wheels, a large trapezoidal exhaust, and extended wheelarches and sills that give the car a wider, more ground-hugging stance.
There are some thoughtful styling details, too; the pattern on the front grille was inspired by the chequered flag at the end of motor races, while the bar that extends into the rear pillar is a nod to the one on the 205.
Inside, the 208 GTi gets part-leather sports seats with fabric inserts that have a pattern reminiscent of the one on the seats of the 205 GTi. What’s more, the dashboard is trimmed in Alcantara, there’s a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and the alloy instruments are surrounded by rings of chrome that light up red when you start the engine. Clever.
The engine in question is the turbocharged 197bhp 1.6 that’s used in the range-topping version of the RCZ and sister-firm Citroën’s limited-edition DS3 Racing. However, the 208 GTi is lighter than both these cars, so it should be even faster. Expect it to blast from 0-62mph in a little over six seconds.
Straight-line speed isn’t enough on its own, of course; Peugeot also has to make the 208 GTi feel fun and involving in corners. If it can do that, and keep the list price on the sensible side of £20,000, hot hatch fans may finally be celebrating a worthy successor to the 205 GTi.
More on the Peugeot 208
We invited readers to preview the new Peugeot 208. Take a look at what they thought of the car in the video below.