French manufacturer Peugeot has a clear talent when it comes to creating bold little hot hatches that are more than capable of hitting well above their tiny weights. The iconic 205 GTI is considered to be one of the best handling cars of all time and is still considered a reference vehicle despite its almost 40th birthday.
Often compact and light, usually with a beefy engine for its size and a chassis that lends unearthly handling, some of the best Peugeots of the past can easily take on younger, more expensive models without losing face. The coveted 306 GTI-6, the crazy 205 T16 and the often overlooked 207 GTI are prime examples.
There is also another notable featherweight fighter whose petite nature shouldn’t be underestimated. A champion on the racetrack, in the forest and on the road, that is what you need to know before buying a Peugeot 106 Rallye or GTI
From the evergreen forests and muddy rally stages of Wales to the empty, deserted sand dunes of Dakar, Peugeot Motorsport has a powerful performance car to beat any harsh environment.
The 405 Turbo 16 used in 1989 had over 600 hp in a nearly 900 kg car, while the rally-bred T16 pumped 350 hp to all four wheels to ensure fast, sure-footed progress.
The 205 GTI
Regarded by most automotive journalists as the crown jewel in the rich history of Peugeot’s performance cars, the 205 GTI marks a pivotal point in the entire history of hot hatch cars as it redefined what enthusiasts and avid drivers should get from a vehicle should expect.
Whether with the easy-revving 1.6-liter 115 hp engine or the revving 130-hp 1.9-liter unit, the 205 GTI marched over its competition and caused an uproar by some of the so-called super sports cars of the time it extinguished when the road twisted.
The 106 XSi
Think of the 106 XSi as a cheeky little glimpse of what was to come someday. The front-wheel drive mini hatchback was available as either a 3- or 5-door model and was fitted with a naturally aspirated 1.4-liter, 8-valve, in-line engine that developed 103 hp.
Not a speed demon, the XSI would crash dead to 60 mph in 10 seconds and, thanks to its light curb weight of 870 kg, reach a top speed of 121 mph. Happy to return 38 mpg, the XSI was a complete hoot to drive.
The 106 rally 1.3
The 106 rally was born because the XSi had an engine that, at 1.4 liters, 100 cc was too big to fit into the rules governing participation in the extremely popular and lucrative motor sport under 1300 cc in the early 1990s Years of events were required.
As a homologation special, the rally was powered by a 1.3 liter, 8 valve, overhead cam, gasoline engine that produced a whopping 100 horsepower and 80 lb ft of torque. A sparse interior ensured it remained light, while its white-painted steel wheels became its trademark.
The 106 GTi S16
As part of the Phase II range, the GTI turned out to be the hottest of the 106 range as Peugeot squeezed a 120 horsepower 1.6 liter 16 valve engine with double overhead camshafts under its tiny bonnet and made it possible for it to do so to reach 100 km / h in 7.3 seconds.
Sporty new front and rear bumpers, wheel arch extensions, 14-inch aluminum wheels, a classy interior in leather and Alcantara offered a far more refined environment with white instrument dials that add a bit of style. The GTI was touted as a bargain service.
The 106 rally 1.6
The Phase II generation of cars included an updated rally that was still a homologation special with improved torque of 97 lb-ft.
While the S2 Rallye had to share the limelight with its GTI sibling, it countered the obvious difference between the two with a lighter and more agile package. A more focused and rougher driving experience, the rally had sharp throttle responses and a precise scalpel like the handling.
Very popular, largely because it was an inexpensive way to embark on a motorsport career in the 1990s, the sub-1300cc division soon realized that the 106 rally could be adapted and modified for all types of races with great success.
In addition to the 1.3-liter car, the 1.6-liter S2 rally also proved to be a kind of motorsport weapon. The 106 maxi rally car had a 207 hp naturally aspirated engine, a sequential 6-speed gearbox and reached 100 km / h in 5.2 seconds.
Tuning & ownership
Both the GTI and rally versions of the Peugeot 106 were affordable to buy and operate, and provided an excellent base from which enthusiasts and modifiers could not only improve their cars but transform them completely into something truly unique.
From the more popular GTI engine swap into a rally shell to the more radical turbocharger route, tuners let their imagination and skills run wild. Whether a wide body kit, cold air induction kit or just a set of rally-inspired wheels, the choice was endless.
Because of their potential for motorsport fame, a vast majority of the S1 and S2 Peugeot 106 rally specification cars have been modified for racing events and subsequently crashed or devastated by their teams and owners.
The GTI has also been called a modern classic and savvy collectors have already started chasing good examples as many have been left to decay due to rust and previously low prices.
208 GTI from Peugeot Sport
With the dwindling number of 106 survivors, and for those looking for Gaelic thrills but more modern trappings, the great Peugeot Sport 208 GTI will definitely tick the small, French and fiery box.
The 208 GTI seemingly captured the essence of its ancestors, has excellent handling and is powered by a 208 hp 1.6-liter turbo engine capable of going from 0 to 100 mph from 6, Reaching 5 seconds while reaching a top speed of 143 mph.
Yes, some of us actually like the original TT.
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