Frankfurt LIVE: VW Golf-fighting Peugeot 308

The next 308 is more tech-focused than the current model.

Peugeot has unveiled its new 308, a car that is monumentally important for the French automaker as it could play a significant part in pulling the firm out of dire financial straits.

Stretching 167 inches long and 57 inches tall, the second-gen 308 borrows styling cues such as its floating grille and its angular headlights from the 2008 crossover that was revealed earlier this year. The rear hatch is considerably more upright, giving it a profile that is closer to the seventh-gen Volkswagen Golf, its main rival, than to the outgoing 308.

The 308 adopts a futuristic interior with a simple dashboard design. The instrument cluster is made up of a TFT screen surrounded by two analog gauges, and a 9.7-inch touch screen mounted in the center stack allows passengers to use the infotainment system. Overall, the 308 is the most technologically advanced 300-series model Peugeot has ever produced.

Mechanically, Peugeot offers a wide panoply of gasoline and diesel-burning four-cylinder engines that make between 92 and 163 horsepower. Surprisingly, the range-topping offering is a GTi-badged model powered by a 1.6-liter THP four-banger developed jointly with BMW. Also found under the hood of the MINI Cooper, the mill sends 200 horsepower and 202 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

After debuting on the Peugeot stand in Frankfurt, the 308 will go on sale in Europe and in China in late 2013. A sporty three-door hatchback, a convertible with a retractable hardtop and a roomy station wagon are all expected to join the lineup in 2014.

Read more!