Peugeot 308 Launch

You have read what we think of it and seen the Malaysian-spec car in our showroom gallery – now Nasim has officially launched the new Peugeot 308. The 2014 European Car of the Year makes its debut here in a single (high) spec, with a 1.6 litre THP 150 engine and six-speed automatic gearbox.

Peugeot’s ‘THP’ acronym stands for Turbo High Pressure, and the engine in question is a turbocharged 1.6 litre direct-injection four-cylinder unit with 152 PS (150 hp) and 240 Nm of torque made from 1,450 to 4,000 rpm. The benchmark 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 9.4 seconds, and top speed is 211 km/h.

Power goes to the front wheels via the AT6 six-speed torque converter automatic transmission sourced from Japan’s Aisin, with what Peugeot calls Quickshift technology. No steering wheel shift paddles, but manual selection is available the traditional way. Claimed fuel consumption is 6.5 litres per 100 km, or 15.4 km/l, on the European combined cycle.

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The new 308 sits on PSA Peugeot Citroen’s EMP2 platform, which also underpins the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso MPV. The Efficient Modular Platform alone is 70 kg lighter than the old PF2 platform. The reduction can be broken down to 27 kg from the use of select steels, composite materials and aluminium; 10 kg from the assembly processes (laser welding, hydroforming) and 33 kg through design (lighter modules, resizing of parts according to power).

Besides the platform, the new 308’s design and the choice of lighter materials contributed to a further 70 kg reduction. Examples include aluminium for the bonnet and front wings, redesigned seat frames (less >10 kg) and a thermoplastic tailgate that saves four kilos. Combined, a substantial 140 kg is shaved.

The 308’s proportions have changed by quite a bit. Overall length is 23 mm less than before, but the wheelbase is 12 mm longer, and the corresponding reduction in front overhang is obvious. Even more significant is the 41 mm reduction in height, which gives the new Pug a sleeker shape. The latter combines with a newfound restraint in design for a classy outlook.

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The single-spec 308 is very richly equipped. LED headlamps with LED DRLs, 18-inch ‘Saphir’ alloys (or Sapphire, the largest available globally) with 225/40 tyres; panoramic glass roof (with electric blind); manual sports seats with Alcantara centre section, electric lumbar and massage function; keyless entry with push start button; electronic parking brake; dual-zone auto air con and reverse camera are all standard.

A concept first seen on the 208, Peugeot’s unique i-Cockpit is very minimalist in design, and that is achieved by doing away with physical buttons for audio and air-con functions, which are accessible via a 9.7-inch central colour touchscreen. You can connect your smartphone to it via USB and Bluetooth.

Local cars also get the Driver Assistance Pack, which includes Dynamic Cruise Control (radar-based active cruise control that mirrors the speed of the car in front) and Emergency Collision Alert. The latter uses radar to detect an imminent collision and emits visual and audible warnings to the driver, alerting him to brake. Emergency Automatic Braking is then deployed to prevent or minimise impact. The five-star Euro NCAP-rated car also comes with six airbags, ESP and Hill Start Assist.

Nasim is keen to highlight that numerous precision-based tests to assess design, material, selection, assembly, soundproofing, and durability were conducted by Peugeot. These include 2.5 million kilometres driven pre-launch, 2,500 hours of vibration and climate testing, 250,000 cycles of air-conditioning monitoring and 4.3 million touchscreen press cycles without any failure recorded.

Buyers get a five-year unlimited mileage warranty (three-year factory, two-year extended), plus complimentary 24-hour Peugeot Assistance service and access to the Peugeot Lounge at Subang Airport.

Available in five colours – Pearl White (RM1,590 extra for this colour), Artense Grey, Mocha Brown, Rouge Red, Nera Black – the new Peugeot 308 THP is priced at RM132,888 on-the-road with GST and insurance, a fair bit lower than expected. Read our full test drive report to learn more.