Our favourite diesel engine is the 128bhp 1.5-litre engine, which was recently introduced to replace the ageing 118bhp 1.6 – a unit that had been available since the car’s launch. The 1.5 is flexible, so you rarely have to rev it hard, and it makes the 308 feel reasonably brisk. It's also more efficient and economical than the previous unit, despite having more grunt.
Unsurprisingly, you have to work the entry-level 99bhp 1.6 diesel pretty hard at times, but it doesn’t feel significantly slower than the higher-powered version when you do. The 2.0-litre diesels are the quickest but, given the 1.5 isn’t far behind them, we’d stick with that and save some money up front.
The 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engines are worth a look, too, if you don’t do lots of miles. The 109bhp unit is decently punchy at low revs and is the pick of the petrols – and our favourite engine of the range. The 129bhp version of the 1.2 feels more urgent and is usefully brisk, but isn’t worth the extra cost.
The higher-powered 1.6 petrols are reserved for Peugeot’s GT and GTi models. They’re very strong with their turbochargers spinning, bringing superb performance. Of course, the penalty for this speed is a noticeable thirst for fuel.