Peugeot confirms hybrid powertrain a chance for new-generation hot hatch

PEUGEOT Sport officials have not ruled out adding hybrid power to its next generation of hot hatches, following in the tracks of the brand’s 308 R Hybrid concept of 2015. While the current 308 GTi has received just cosmetic and driver-assist changes as part of a foreshortened midlife update, the next-generation car could benefit from an electric motor to supplement its petrol engine.

Peugeot Sport technical manager Patrice Delannoy told GoAuto that the next 308 GTi will benefit from an updated powertrain, and acknowledged that a hybrid version is under consideration. “We have not decided which way to go,” he said. “But one of the future ways is to make a sportscar based on a hybrid.” The 308 GTi has a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is capable of producing more than the current maximum power output of 199kW.

Peugeot’s Racing Cup car, for example, makes more than 225kW from the same engine by simply using a larger turbocharger unit. The car-maker also previewed a triple-motor version of the 308, known as the R Hybrid, at the 2015 Shanghai motor. The wild concept uses a pair of 85kW electric motors front and rear to supplement the stock 1.6-litre engine, producing 368kW and 730Nm in the process.

Ditching the front motor would lower the power output to around 295kW – still more than enough to make it the most powerful production-model hot hatch on the market. GoAuto understands that the R Hybrid’s Achilles heel was its robotised manual gearbox, and that the high torque levels generated by a petrol/electric combination meant that no automatic transmission in the PSA Group could be slotted in behind the potent powerplant.

However, the 3008 SUV – released in Europe in early 2016 and landing locally in August – will be offered overseas in a petrol/electric hybrid guise in 2018, and will be equipped with an auto transmission.

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