Peugeot 308 II GTi Buyer’s Guide & History (2015 – 2021)

When the T9-series 308 GTi launched in 2015 it was one of the most potent road-going cars Peugeot had ever produced. It quickly gained praise from car enthusiasts and motoring journalists alike for its excellent performance, fantastic handling and great overall package of features and price.

In this buyer’s guide we are going to give you all the information you need to know when looking to purchase a Peugeot 308 GTi 2015 to 2020. We will look at common problems to watch out for, the reliability of the car, its history, specifications, and much more.

Using this Peugeot 308 II GTi 2015 – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

There is a lot to go through in this guide, so use the table of contents below to skip to the section you want to read. To begin with we will look at the history and specifications of the 308 GTi T9. Following that we will go into any common problems to watch out for, the reliability of the car and how to conduct an inspection. To finish off we have more general buying advice such as how to get yourself the best deal and some common questions you should ask when inspecting any used motor car.

The History of the Peugeot 308 II GTi (T9)

Credit: Peugeot

Peugeot would unveil the second-generation (T9) 308, along with the new generation 208 and 508 cars in May 2013. A full launch would happen later that year at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The new 308 generation would receive a completely redesigned exterior and the interior was designed to be more refined and upmarket. Peugeot also claimed that the new generation car would be much more dynamic and outgoing than the outgoing 308, a vehicle that had a bit of a reputation for a somewhat unenthusiastic driving experience.

Peugeot Launches the 308 II GTi

Credit: Peugeot

When the standard T9-series 308 launched in 2013 there was no word on a hotter, faster version of the car. However, eager buyers didn’t have to wait too long to hear some news on such a car, with rumours circulating in October 2014 that Peugeot wanted to bring a GTi version of the car to market.  It was also speculated that Peugeot was looking to introduce two models, one with a 250 PS (184 kW) engine and another with a power unit that produced 20 PS (15 kW) more.

The rumours would be proven to be correct when Peugeot officially unveiled the 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport in June 2015. Like the rumours suggested, the car would come in two variants. Both cars would be equipped with Peugeot’s 1.6-litre THP engine, but one would come with 270 PS (200 kW) and the other 250 PS.

With 169 hp per-litre, the most powerful version of the 308 GTi featured the highest specific output in its segment at the time of launch. The impressive amount of power helped propel the 270 PS model from 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in as little as six seconds, while the less powerful version wasn’t too far behind at 6.2 seconds.

By comparison, the 229 PS (169 kW) VW Golf GTI Performance was only capable of hitting 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds. However, the top spec Golf R with its 280 PS (206 kW) power unit and all-wheel drive system had the Peugeots beat with a low 5 second time.

To help rein in the higher performance engine of the new GTi 270, Peugeot’s team installed massive 380 mm (14.96-inch) ventilated carbon discs at the front and 268 mm (10.55-inch) ones at the rear. The GTi 250 would receive the same discs at the rear, but the fronts were downgraded to 330 mm (12.99-inch) discs.

The increased going and stopping performance was complimented by improved handling. The 308 GTi now sat 11 mm (0.43 inches) lower than the standard car and the tracks were increased to 1,570 mm at the front and 1,554 mm at the rear. This was then complimented by Michelin Super Sport tyres (235/35 R19) and lighter weight 19-inch alloys on the top model. The less powerful GTi came standard with Michelin Pilot Sport T3 tyres (225/40 R18) and 18-inch Diamant wheels, however, buyers did have the option to upgrade to 19-inch Carbone alloys.

Peugeot also implemented a number of changes to the suspension system at the front, with the GTi receiving stiffer springs and differently calibrated shock absorbers. The rollbar was also calibrated to be more malleable to ensure a better match with the rear axle, and the stiffness of the rear beam and silentblocs was increased from 30 to 500 daN/mm lateral and 170 to 490 daN/mm vertical. Peugeot also implemented similar changes at the rear, with stiffer springs, recalibrated dampers and stiffer cushioning being the main alterations.

Apart from the additional power and stronger brakes, the GTi 270’s other major performance draw was its Torsen limited-slip differential. This was not available on the less powerful model.

Exterior and Interior Changes

The new 308 GTi models were available in a number of different finishes including Ultimate Red, Perla Nera Black, Hurricane Grey, Pearlescent White, and Magnetic Blue. A special paint scheme that combined the Ultimate Red and Perla Nera Black colours was also available exclusively on the 308 GTi 270. Labelled the “Coupe Franche”, this special paint finish was complimented by matt black trim pieces to separate it even further from the standard car.

On the inside, Peugeot continued the sporty theme continued with red stitching on the dashboard, door panels, shifter, floor mats, and other upholstery. A smattering of GTi and PEUGEOT SPORT badges also remined you that you are driving no ordinary 308.

The 270 model was given special PEUGEOT SPORT bucket seats finished in leather and Alcantara and a more compact GTi labelled steering wheel. Buyers of the less powerful 308 GTi were given different seats as standard, but they could opt for PEUGEOT SPORT ones for an additional fee.

Another noticeable change was that the instrument panel/display now featured a special red coloured theme that gave the car a more performance orientated feel.

Lastly, the Driver Sport Pack added a “Sport” button on the centre console which when pressed switches the display colour from white to red and shows additionally information such as power, torque, boost, lateral and longitudinal acceleration.

Updates in 2017

Credit: Peugeot

In 2017 Peugeot launched a new facelifted version of the 308 for the 2018 model year. The most notable change was at the front of the car, with a new more upmarket look being introduced. All versions of the 308, including the GTi, received new projector headlight clusters with integrated LED daytime-running lights. Additionally, Peugeot’s design team gave the car a horizontal-slatted front grille and all GTi models got full-LEF headlight bulbs. At the rear, the entire 308 range received LED tail-lights that had a “three claw” pattern.

In the cabin of the updated 308 GTi you are greeted by a new touchscreen infotainment system that is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. The cabin materials were also revised to give the car a more premium feel.

Peugeot Drops the 308 GTi 250

With the launch of a number of very capable and feature rich competitors since the 308 GTi first launched in 2015, Peugeot decided to drop the lower-powered model with the introduction of the facelifted 2018 car. The 308 GTi 270 would be the only model still available, however, in some markets an e-THP car with 263 PS (259 bhp/193 kW) was available.

2020 Colour and Interior Changes

One last revision was made to the second-generation 308 range in 2020. Peugeot introduced their digital i-Cockpit design, which was first seen on the 3008. They also made a number of trim and colour changes as well, before production of the 308 T9 ended in 2021.

Peugeot 308 GTi II (T9) Specifications

Model308 GTi 250308 GTi 270
Country/LocationFranceFrance
Years2015 to 20172016 – 2021
LayoutFront-engine, Front-wheel driveFront-engine, Front-wheel drive
Engine/Engines1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged
Power250 PS (247 bhp/184 kW) @ 6,000 rpm270 PS (266 bhp/199 kW) @ 6,000 rpm Note: in some markets this model is detuned to 260 PS (256 bhp/191 kW)
Torque330 Nm (243 lb-ft) @ 1,900 rpm330 Nm (243 lb-ft) @ 1,900 rpm
Gearbox6-speed manual6-speed manual
Brakes Front330 mm (12.99-inch) discs380 mm (14.96-inch) discs
Brakes Rear268 mm (10.55-inch) discs268 mm (10.55-inch) discs
Wheels Front (standard)18-inch19-inch
Wheels Back (standard)18-inch19-inch
Tyres Front (standard)Michelin Pilot Sport T3 tyres (225/40 R18)Michelin Super Sport tyres (235/35 R19)
Tyres Rear (standard)Michelin Pilot Sport T3 tyres (225/40 R18)Michelin Super Sport tyres (235/35 R19)
Suspension FrontMcPherson struts and coil springsMcPherson struts and coil springs
Suspension RearCoil springs and torsion barCoil springs and torsion bar
Weight (Kerb)1,280 kg (2,822 lbs)1,280 kg (2,822 lbs)
Top speed250 km/h (155 mph) – limited250 km/h (155 mph) – limited
0 – 100 km/h (62 mph)6.2 seconds6 seconds

Peugeot 308 II GTi Buyer’s Guide

Credit: Peugeot

While French cars can have a bit of a reputation for reliability issues, the truth is that it is far more down to maintenance and how a particular car has been looked after. However, the 308 GTi has got some known issues that we will discuss in the following sections (most notably the front brakes, but more on that later). Before we look at what to watch out for when inspecting a used second gen 308 GTi, we have included some things that you should think about before an inspection.

Setting Up an Inspection of a 308 GTi 2015 – 2021

  • Try to look at the 308 II GTi in person or get a reliable friend or third party to do the inspection for you – While buying cars without doing a physical inspection first has become a lot more popular, it is still generally best to do a physical inspection first. A thorough check over may reveal some hidden issues that the listing photos or description did not show. If it is not possible for you to inspect a particular 308 GTi T9, it may be best to get a reliable friend or third party to do so for you.
  • Take a helper with you – Bringing along a friend or helper is always something we try to do as two pairs of eyes, ears and hands are more likely to find hidden issues than one. Additionally, the second person can give you their thoughts on the 308 II GTi and whether or not they think you should buy it.
  • Inspect the Peugeot 308 GTi at the seller’s house or place of business – We often recommend this as it may give you the chance to see how and where the 308 II GTi is regularly parked/stored. All things being equal, a vehicle that is always kept out on the streets in the elements is probably going to have more bodywork problems than a car that is always kept in a nice dry garage. Additionally, try to check the roads around where the car is stored. If they are really rough and full of potholes we would pay extra attention to the wheels, tyres, suspension, etc. as there may be a higher chance of premature wear or damage.
  • View the Peugeot in the morning if possible – Not something you have to do, but it can be a good idea as it gives the seller less time to warm up their Peugeot 308 II GTi and clean up any potential issues such as a big oil leak.
  • Ask the seller not to drive or pre-warm their 308 GTi if possible – A warm engine can cover a multitude of sins, so check that the motor is cold when you begin the inspection. If the seller has to drive the car to the inspection this isn’t obviously going to be possible.
  • If the Peugeot 308 II GTi is being sold at a dealer, don’t let them know you are coming to see it – While this is not always possible depending on how the dealer operates, it can be a good idea. If the dealer knows you are coming it gives them a chance to clean up any potential issues and pre-warm the engine.
  • Try not to inspect a used 308 GTi in the rain – Water can cover up a number of different issues with the bodywork and paint. If it does happen to be raining when you inspect/test drive a 308 GTi, try to go back for a second viewing before making a decision on the car.
  • Be cautious if the seller has just washed the car – This is largely for the same reason as above, but some sellers will also wash the engine bay and underside of a vehicle to hide an issue (or anywhere a leak/issue may occur).
  • Get the seller to move their Peugeot 308 II GTi outside if it is in a garage or showroom – Lighting in places such as garages and showrooms can cover up issues that direct sunlight may have revealed.

Buying a Used Second Gen Peugeot 308 GTi With Serious Problems

In a perfect world it would be best to buy a used 308 GTi 250 or 270 with no problems at all. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and while most of the information in this guide tries to steer you in the direction of buying the cleanest 308 GTi possible, all cars you look at are going to have some sort of issue (major or minor).

Minor issues like stone chips or scuffed trim material tend to be fine and are to be expected on used cars. However, what you want to avoid is purchasing a GTi with very serious mechanical or bodywork issues, unless you understand what the problem is, what is involved in fixing it and are happy with the cost to do so. Even if you can get a 308 GTi with serious mechanical issues at a bargain price, it is still generally more financially sensible to go with a car in better condition.

When looking at any second generation Peugeot 308 GTi, try to find as many problems as possible (this guide should help you with that). Note them down and try to work out how much they will cost to fix before purchasing the car.

When you do find any issues, try to use them to get a discount, especially if they are more serious. Be mindful of the fact that the problems you find could be more extensive and expensive to repair than first envisioned, so it can be a good idea to add a bit more to any quote you receive.

In short, it can be okay to buy a 308 GTi with serious problems if you know what you are getting yourself into, but we still recommend that you avoid those sorts of cars and go for one that has been looked after well and is in good condition.

Where Can I Buy a Peugeot 308 GTi II?

Your usual auction/classifieds sites are going to be your best place to start your search for a second generation 308 GTi (think AutoTrader, eBay, TradeMe, GumTree, etc.). Most dealers and private sellers are going to use these sorts of sites to advertise their cars.

Along with the above, we also recommend that you check to see if there are any Peugeot clubs in your area. These sorts of clubs usually consist of enthusiastic owners who often know a bit more about their cars and how to maintain them. Here are a few examples of some clubs:

  • Club Peugeot UK – A club for all things Peugeot and definitely one to check out if you are in the United Kingdom.
  • Peugeot Forums – Another great forum with a section dedicated to the 2014 to 2021 Peugeot 308 (including the 308 GTi).

How Much Does a Used Peugeot 308 GTi II Cost to Buy?

We can’t really give you an exact answer here because it depends on a whole load of different factors from where the 308 GTi is being sold, what model it is (270 vs 250), what year it is, the condition, who it is being sold by and much more. For example, a last year 270 in excellent condition and being sold by an official Peugeot dealer is going to be worth a lot more than an early 250 GTi that has seen a lot of action.

Dealers, especially official Peugeot ones, are usually going to price their vehicles higher than a private seller. While the higher price is obviously seen as a negative, there can be a few benefits from purchasing from a dealer. The most notable are that you may get better buyer protection (depending on where you live in the world) and you can often get an extended warranty. Peugeot dealers are probably going to offer the best warranty on used 308 GTis, but this does depend on what is available in your local market from third-party dealers/services.

While we can’t give you an exact figure on how much you will need to get yourself a 308 GTi 250 or 270, what we do recommend is that you go on your local auction/classified or dealers’ websites and check the prices there. You can then use the prices from the currently listed cars to work out roughly what you need to spend to get yourself a 308 GTi in a particular spec or condition level. It is also a good idea to add a bit more to your budget to account for any unforeseen expenses that may pop up after you purchase the Peugeot.

Checking the VIN

It is always a good idea to check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of a car prior to purchase. The VIN is a series of 17 characters and numbers that manufacturers such as Peugeot assign to a vehicle at production. It can be used to find out information about a particular car, such as where it was manufactured, the model, year of manufacturer and more.

The VIN can also be entered into a VIN checkup/decoder website that may contain information such as whether or not the 308 GTi you are inspecting has any money owing on it or if it has been written off at any point. Most of these VIN checkup websites/services are region limited, so keep that in mind.

A Peugeot 308 GTi’s VIN can be found in the following locations:

  • Driver’s door jam
  • Bottom of the windscreen if the car is still running the original one

Engine

The Prince engines of old were known for being pretty unreliable, but the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine inside both the 250 and 270 models is generally considered to be fairly robust. However, it is quite a highly stressed engine (as mentioned earlier the 270’s engine featured the highest specific output in its segment at launch) and proper maintenance is needed to keep it in good working order.  

Beginning Your Inspection

To start your inspection, move to the front of the 308 II GTi and lift the bonnet/hood. It should open smoothly, and the struts should work as intended. If the struts have failed, it is not a major problem, but use the issue to drive down the price a bit if you still want to purchase the car.

Make sure you also check the catch and the hinges as if they look like they have been replaced it could be a sign of some sort of issue (accident damage for example). Here are some other things to check as well:

  • Cleanliness – How clean is the engine bay? A very dirty engine bay is never a good sign, but don’t be fooled by a spotless looking one as well. An engine bay that looks clean enough that you could eat your breakfast off of it could be a sign of somebody who is trying to cover something up (pressured washed to hide an oil leak for example).
  • Obvious Issues – Do a quick general check for any immediately noticeable issues such as leaks, broken or missing components and more.
  • Modifications – There are some engine mods available for the 308 GTi, so it can be a good idea to look out for any modifications. We don’t have a problem with a modified car, but it is important to make sure the mods are suitable for the vehicle. Poor tuning/unsuitable modifications can lead to reliability problems down the line, so keep this in mind.

Inspecting the Fluids

Don’t forget to have a good look at the engine oil and other fluids around the engine bay. The condition of these fluids can tell you quite a bit about the current health of the car and how it has been maintained.

If the oil level is too low or too high it can lead to some very serious issues. We would probably avoid any 308 GTi with incorrect fluid levels (especially oil and coolant) as you simply won’t know how much damage has been caused. It can be handy to bring along some paper towels/kitchen roll when checking the oil level.

Open up the oil filler cap and use a torch/flashlight to look inside. The main thing to watch out for is any black sludge, which indicates that the oil hasn’t been changed frequently enough. If you notice any metallic particles or grit in the engine oil as well it could be a sign of a serious problem such as bearing failure. Metallic particles can also be a sign of other things such as a recent rebuild, so keep that in mind if the car has just had some major engine work (although we wouldn’t expect to come across a 308 II GTi with a rebuild engine as they are still relatively new, but you never know).

Don’t forget to check for any foamy, frothy, or milky looking oil. If you notice any of these issues it could be a sign of a number of different problems with the second gen Peugeot 308 GTi’s engine. These issues could range from an engine that has been overfilled with oil, condensation in the oil, or possibly even a blown head gasket.

While it isn’t completely necessary, it can be a good idea to get the oil analysed prior to purchase. Oil testing can help you determine if there are any unwanted particles in it. Additionally, it can also tell you if the vehicle needs more frequent changes or if it can go further between servicing.

When Does the Oil and Oil Filter Need Replacing on a 2012 – 2019 208 GTi?

There seems to be some conflicting information about when to change the oil and oil filter on these cars, with some places/service books suggesting that it needs to be done every 32,000 km (20,000 miles), while others state it needs doing much earlier at 15,000 km (9,000 miles). Some of this may be down to facelift vs non-facelift models and the market that the car was originally sold in. However, all service manuals state that a service needs to be done every 12 months regardless of mileage, so check to make sure that has been done. If it hasn’t, we would be cautious of the car and if there is any manufacturer warranty left on the vehicle it may be invalid due to this.

Peugeot recommends a high quality fully synthetic 0W-30 or 5W-30 engine oil for the 208 GTi (Castrol GTX Magnatec or Mobil 1 for example).

Oil Leaks on a Peugeot 308 GTi II

Here are some of the main oil leaks to watch out for when it comes to a 2015 to 2021 Peugeot 308 GTi.

Timing chain tensioner

The THP engine used in the 308 GTi, 208 GTi, and RCZ is known to have a slight issue with leaks from the timing chain tensioner. This leak usually looks like it is coming from the back left side of the engine and many owners also report a strange smell with it. Another indication of this leak is high oil consumption, but you probably won’t notice this on a short test drive unless it is gushing out (and then you should definitely walk away).  

Another thing to keep in mind is that a leak from the timing chain tensioner is sometimes only noticeable when the engine is given a good amount of revs, so make apply plenty of throttle once the 308 GTi is warmed up.

The main cause of this problem is a failed seal/O-ring that is often the result of an engine that has been overfilled with oil. Alternatively, the timing chain tensioner can become loose which may be the cause of the leak. You can see a good explanation of this leak in the video below:

Rear main seal

This leak doesn’t seem to be very common on 308 GTis, but we have mentioned it as if there is a problem here it can be extremely expensive to fix. Another thing to keep in mind is that a rear main seal leak can often be confused with the timing chain tensioner leak we discussed above.

Timing/valve cover

This is a common leak on most used cars and is usually down to the timing cover gasket. Leaks from around the timing cover aren’t usually too quick and replacing the gasket isn’t usually too much of an issue, but make sure you use it as a bargaining point.

Oil filler cap

A number of owners have reported a slight leak around the oil filler cap. Changing the cap should sort the issue, so it is not a major problem.

Excessive Oil Consumption on THP Engines

Unlike some older Peugeots, the 308 GTi 250 and 270 models aren’t known to drink oil excessively. However, a few owners have reported issues so it is always work asking the seller if they have noticed excessive oil consumption (they probably won’t be honest but you never know).

It is generally stated that 1 litre per 1,600 km (1,000 miles) is normal for the THP engine, but most 308 II GTis should consume significantly less than that. If the Peugeot you are looking at does have excessive oil consumption issues it could be caused by a wide range of different issues from something like a leak (timing chain tensioner for example) to worn piston rings and much more.

PCV Valve Whistle

Listen out for a whistle when you lift off the throttle as this is usually down to the PCV valve. Unfortunately, if it is the PCV the timing/rocker cover will need to be replaced as the valve is part of it.

Timing Chain Issues

While the timing chain should theoretically last the lifetime of the engine, there have been reports of issues on a number of cars featuring the THP power unit. We struggled to find any complaints from 308 GTi owners specifically, but it is still something to be aware of, especially as these cars age (it was quite a common problem on earlier THP vehicles before redesigns were done to reduce the likelihood of the problem occurring) .

Most of the time if a failure has occurred it is due to either the timing chain stretching, a problem with the tensioner or the timing chain guides. Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate that there is a problem on the 308 II GTi you are looking at:

  • Death rattle – This can be a rattling sound during engine start/when the engine is cold. It usually occurs around the 1,8000 to 3,000 rpm mark. A rattling sound can also be caused by the turbo waste gate, but this tends to be a higher pitched sound and occurs when the engine is warm as well.
  • Misfiring and general rough running (some liken their car to running a bit like a diesel).
  • Engine warning light/message
  • Hesitation when accelerating (often a sign of a stretched timing chain)

If you notice a combination of the problems above, we would definitely get the 308 GTi checked out by a Peugeot specialist or mechanic prior to purchase. Fixing timing chain issues on these engines can be very expensive depending on what needs to be done. Sometimes a simple oil change/top up can eliminate the problem, but we wouldn’t count on it.

Another thing to be aware of is that poor maintenance and a lack of oil is more likely to result in timing chain problems down the track.

Coil Pack and Spark Plug Issues

If you notice any stuttering or hesitation during a test drive of a 308 GTi II it is probably down to the coil packs and/or spark plugs. Some owners believe it is down to the high pressure fuel pump which is known to cause issues on the 208 GTi, but Peugeot introduced a revised part in 2015/2016 that largely fixed any problems, so it is unlikely to be that. Here are some other signs of bad coil packs/spark plugs:

  • Misfiring – quite a few 308 GTi owners have reported misfiring. Other causes of this problem could be injectors, fuel pump, etc.
  • Stalling – Other causes of this problem could be injectors, fuel pump, etc.
  • General rough running and down on power
  • Warning lights/message
  • Failure to start
  • Poor fuel economy (portably won’t be able to determine whether or not this is the case during a short test drive)

Some owners recommend upgrading the coils to get a bit more longevity out of them, so it may be worth checking to see if this has been done.

Peugeot only recommends one spark plug model for the 308 GTi and lots of dealers like to charge handsomely to replace them (They were apparently developed specifically for the 308 II GTi/208 GTi by NGK). You can get them online cheaper, but they are still tend to be more expensive than your standard run-of-the-mill plugs. The spark plugs are also recommended to be changed as part of the yearly service, so make sure this has been done (however, we are not sure if this is the case for all markets).

High Pressure Fuel Pump

While the updated fuel pump fitted to the 308 GTi seems to not be as much trouble as the one on the 208 GTi, we still think it is good to be aware of the symptoms of the problem as the cars share the same engine. This is just in case it becomes more of a problem as 308 II GTis age.

What usually happens is that the car goes into limp mode and then a number of warnings/messages are displayed on the dash. Juddering, bucking and power loss are also indicative of this problem as well, along with a slight stuttering during acceleration. Some owners have also reported a smell of fuel in the cabin, but this doesn’t seem to be as common as the other problems.

Once again, this is more of a problem on 208 GTis and you shouldn’t worry too much about it on 308 GTis. However, it is something we wanted to make you aware of as the parts and labour to fix this problem can be extremely expensive.

Cooling System

A proper functioning cooling system is vital to prevent catastrophic engine damage from occurring, so check for the following:

Coolant Condition

Have a look at the coolant tank on the left side of the engine bay (when looking from the front). If it is the stock one, it should be round in shape with a black cap. The stock tank is somewhat transparent, so you should be able to see the colour of the coolant without opening it up.

To get a better look at the coolant you can remove the lid and check inside. However, only do this when the engine is cold and remove the lid slowly (once again, do not do this when the engine is warm and/or running).

Make sure the coolant is in good condition and is not brown or dirty. Sometimes the tank itself can go a bit brown/yellow with age, but this tends to be fine as long as the coolant looks good.

When the engine is cold, remove the lid slowly and check the coolant in the tank (Do not do this when the engine is warm and/or running!). Make sure it is in good condition and not muddy/brown in colour. It can also be a good idea to check in the service history and with the owner to see when the coolant was last replaced (if ever).

Coolant Leaks & Level

While you are checking the condition of the coolant, don’t forget to look for any leaks and make sure the level is correct. If the level is too low, you should be asking yourself why and has it caused the car to overheat.

Inspect around the coolant tank and lines for any leaking or crusted coolant. Also check around the radiator and any other areas where a leak may occur. If you notice any cracks or damage on the tank, it should be replaced as soon as possible.

Make sure you check for leaks both before and after a test drive. When you come back from a drive, let the 308 GTi sit for around 10 to 15 minutes if possible. Once you have done this recheck for any coolant leaks and any other leaks as well (oil, etc.). If you don’t see a leak, but you do get a whiff of a sweet aroma it indicates that there is a leak coming from somewhere (especially if you notice a drop in coolant height).

Failing Water Pump

The water pump is quite a common failure point on 208 GTis, but it doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue on the 308 II GTi (believe it is a different part number but let us know in the comments below if that is not correct). However, even though it seems to be less common on the 308 GTi, you should keep an eye and an ear out for the following signs of water pump trouble:

  • Coolant leaks & low coolant level – the water pump, coolant lines or expansion tank are probably going to be your most likely cause of a leak.
  • Whining and/or chuffing sounds
  • Slight knocking noises at idle
  • Overheating – It is a good idea to go for a reasonably long test drive as you may not notice the GTi overheating during a short test drive. Note: Overheating could also be a sign of something like a bad thermostat, radiator issues and much more, so keep that in mind.
  • Steam or smoke – Be on the lookout for any steam or smoke from the front of the car. If you notice this problem, it is best to walk away.
Test the Heater

It can be a good idea to turn the heater on as high as possible. The heater core requires proper function of the water pump for it to work correctly. If the pump isn’t working, fluid won’t be forced through the system.

When you switch on the heater you should feel a blast of hot air. This hot air should continue to come out of the vents if the Peugeot’s water pump is functioning correctly. If the warm air stops/gradually reduces it is a sign that hot fluid is not being cycled through the system and the 308 GTi’s water pump is not functioning correctly.

Note: No heat from the heater can also be caused by other issues as well such as low coolant, a stuck/bad thermostat, extremely low ambient temperatures combined with low engine load, an incorrectly bled cooling system that has too much air in it, some sort of restriction in the heater core or engine block water passages, and more.

Thermostat Failure

A malfunctioning thermostat is always something to watch out for, so keep an eye out for an erratically behaving temperature gauge. When a thermostat fails or sticks it often leads to issues such as the temperature gauge reading too cold or taking a long time to get up to temperature. If the temperature gauge is on the hotter end, it is probably due to some other sort of issue such as a failed water pump, low coolant, etc.

Look for Air Bubbles in the Coolant

It is a good idea to check for bubbles in the coolant (once again, do not open the coolant tank when the car is running or when it is hot). A few bubbles when the engine is warming up is quite normal, but there should be none once you return from a decent length test drive and the 308’s engine has been up to temperature for a while. Bubbles usually indicate that air has entered the system at some point, which can lead to overheating.

Air can get into the cooling system through several different ways from something like a bad radiator cap to air pockets in the radiator and possibly even a blown head gasket, so be cautious if you notice this problem.

Head Gasket/Cooling System Failure

Head gasket failure is a possibility on these cars, so keep an eye out for the following:

  • Overheating
  • Bubbles in the radiator or coolant expansion tank
  • White and milky oil
  • Loss of power
  • Spark plugs that are fouled (if you or a mechanic can get a look at them)
  • Low cooling system integrity
  • Smell of coolant from the oil
  • Sweet smelling exhaust
  • White smoke from the exhaust pipe (especially if you see lots of it)
  • Steam from the front of the 308 GTi

Head gasket repairs can be very expensive depending on what is required and what was damaged, so we would personally walk away if we suspected that a failure had occurred.

Exhaust System

Credit: Peugeot

Take a good look at as much of the exhaust system, making sure it is in good condition. While we wouldn’t expect to find too many issues (if any), it is always something worth checking as a damaged, corroded or leaking exhaust can be expensive to fix depending on what is required.

Rust shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but one owner on the Peugeot Forums reported strange rust in the ends of the tips. Corrosion may also become more of an issue as these cars age, so keep that in mind.

Make sure the exhaust is held on firmly. If it moves about a lot it may be a sign that the hangers are in a bad way.

Check for any strange noises such as rumbling, scrapping, rattling, ticking or whistling. A ticking noise that changes with engine speed is often a sign of an exhaust leak. If the 308 GTi has started in “cold start” mode, you may notice that it sounds slightly strange and louder than usual. This feature is designed to burn off moisture in the exhaust and occurs when the ambient temperature is greater than 15°C but the catalytic converter is colder than that. The noise should go away after a short time or if the 308 GTi is switched off and back on.

Catalytic Converter (CAT)

If a CAT has failed you could be in for some seriously expensive repairs as the part is a very pricey item. Keep an eye out for the following which may indicate a CAT failure (especially if you notice multiple of them at once):

  • CEL (Check Engine Light)/warnings/fault codes
  • Smell of sulphur or rotten eggs from the exhaust
  • Reduced acceleration and sluggish engine performance
  • Excessive heat under the 208 GTi
  • Dark smoke from the car’s exhaust
  • Emission test failure (obviously going to need to get a test done to find this out)

The fault codes are probably going to be your best method of determining whether or not the CAT has failed or if it is some sort of sensor, or another problem entirely. This is why we suggest that you get yourself an OBDII scanner and take it to any inspection of a relatively modern car (the OBDII standard was implemented at different times for different markets).

Some owners like to fit decat exhaust systems or if they want to do a cheap bodge job they may install a bridging piece of pipe where the CAT should be. However, be aware that the 308 GTi will probably fail emission tests with these sorts of “fixes”, which will make it non-road legal in some countries.

Another thing to be aware of is that the CAT may not have failed and it may have actually been stolen.

Aftermarket Exhaust Systems

Some owners complain that the 308 GTi’s exhaust note is a bit toned down when compared to its competitors. A common fix for this is to fix an aftermarket exhaust system. If the 308 II GTi you are looking at is running an aftermarket exhaust, try to find out the brand or manufacturer and check any reviews. A poorly reviewed or unsuitable exhaust system could cause a whole load of problems. Additionally, if the owner or a previous owner has cheaped out on upgrades/maintenance on the exhaust you should be asking yourself what other components are substandard.

What Is the Correct Idle Speed on a 308 II GTi

You should find that the idle speed sits around the 800 to 900 rpm mark when the engine is up to temperature. It is perfectly fine if it is a bit higher when the engine is cold and don’t forget that the 308 GTi has a “cold start” mode which also impacts the idle speed. However, once the car is up to temperature it should drop down below 1,000 rpm and settle inat the range we stated above.

Once warm you should expect the idle speed to be around 750 to 850 rpm. Don’t worry if the idle is around 1,100 to 1,300 rpm when the car is first started as this is perfectly normal. However, it should soon drop to 750 – 850 rpm once the car is warm. When you turn on the air-conditioning expect a slight increase in idle speed.

If you do notice any particular issues with the car’s idle (hunting, low engine speed, etc.), you are probably not going to be able to work out the exact cause of the issue during a short inspection. If the idle issue was a simple fix, the owner of the GTi probably would have got it sorted before putting the car on the market.

Bad Engine Mounts

Failing/failed engine mounts are always something to watch out for, especially on vehicles that have done a lot of miles and/or hard driving. Here are some symptoms of bad mounts:

  • Engine movement – Rev the engine and see if it moves excessively. Also check how the engine is at idle and check for any movement while looking from underneath the car.
  • Excessive vibrations/shaking – Often most noticeable at idle. In some cases, you may even notice the body of the car moving.
  • Clunking, banging or other impact sounds – These sorts of noises could indicate that the engine is moving slightly due to a failed mount

Sourcing and replacing the engine mounts isn’t too pricey, but it is always worth using problems like this as a way to get a discount. Additionally, keep in mind that the vibrations could also be caused by some sort of other issue as well.

Carbon Build Up

Carbon build-up isn’t nearly as much of a problem on the 308 II GTi as it is on some of Peugeot’s earlier THP equipped cars (207 GTi for example). However, as the 308 GTi’s engine is direct injection it is still something that can happen and you should be aware of the signs of the problem:

  • Failing Sensors due to Fouling
  • Black smoke from the tailpipes
  • Rough Idles, hard starts and general rough running
  • Misfiring
  • Warnings
  • Decreased engine performance and lowered fuel economy

Depending on where you take the vehicle to carbon build up can be quite an expensive problem to fix.

Air Conditioning

Don’t forget to check that the air conditioning/climate control is working properly. If you don’t feel any cold air or it seems very weak it could be down to a whole load of different factors from a refrigerant leak, a bad AC compressor and much more. Try to find out the exact cause of the malfunctioning AC system before purchasing the 308 GTi as if it is the compressor you could be up for some seriously expensive repairs.

Smoke from a Peugeot 308 GTi T9

Lots of smoke or steam from a car is never a good sign and would almost certainly make us walk away. A little bit of vapour from the exhaust when the 308 GTi starts up is perfectly fine, especially on a cold day. This vapour is usually just condensation in the exhaust and should go away in short order.

It can be a good idea to get the seller to start their 308 II GTi for you for the first time. We recommend this as you can stand at the back of the vehicle and see what comes out of the exhaust. Additionally, you can also see if the owner revs the car hard when it is cold as this is never a good thing to do to an engine. Here are what the different colours of smoke may indicate:

White smoke

As we have already mentioned above, a small amount of white vapour on engine start is usually just condensation in the exhaust.

If you notice lots of white/greyish smoke it is usually a sign that water/coolant has made its way into the cylinders due to a blown or leaking head gasket. Give the exhaust a good whiff and if it smells sweet, it is probably coolant. If the smoke is very thick and doesn’t dissipate quickly it could be sign that the block or cylinder head is cracked/broken.

White smoke can also be a sign that the turbo seals have gone bad as well,

Blue/Grey smoke

This colour smoke could be caused by a whole range of things including warn pistons rings, valve seals, turbo issues and more. To test for this colour smoke during a drive, get somebody to follow you while you are driving the Peugeot 308 II GTi. Take the engine through its rev range and see what comes out the back. If you don’t have a helper, get the owner to drive for a bit while you look out the back (good chance to see how they drive as well).

Black smoke

This sort of smoke is usually a sign that the engine is running too rich and burning too much fuel. There are quite a few things that could be causing this issue from something like dirty intake components to incorrect spark timing, problems with the injectors, and more. If the exhaust smells of fuel, the engine is almost certainly running too rich. Unburnt fuel being sent through the exhaust system can also lead to premature catalytic converter failure as well, so keep that in mind.

If the 308 II GTi has been modified and a remap has not been done (or not done properly) it is more likely to produce a bit of black smoke.

Turbo Failure on a Peugeot 308 GTi

While we wouldn’t expect this to be a problem yet, turbos can eventually fail, especially if the vehicle has been poorly maintained. Here are some of the signs of turbo failure that you should be aware of:

  • Strange rumbling, whistling or high-pitched metallic sounds – when the turbocharger is at full boost (drive at a slow speed and then accelerate moderately up to high rpms).
  • Distinctive blue or grey/whitish smoke – This happens when turbocharger’s housing cracks or if the internal seals become worn. The smoke will become more apparent when the turbocharger is in use, so get somebody to follow you and check while you are test driving a Peugeot 308 GTi. If there is a problem the smoke should appear around the 2,500 – 3,000 rpm mark or above. White/greyish smoke could be a sign that the turbo has failed catastrophically. Either way, it is probably best to avoid any 308 GTi with serious smoking issues.
  • Burning lots of oil – It will be hard to get an accurate picture of this during a test drive, but try to glean some information from the owner. Some oil consumption is to be expected, especially as these cars are getting on a bit, but excessive amounts indicates a problem.
  • Slow acceleration – Does the 308 GTi you are test driving feel particularly sluggish or slow? If it does it could be a sign that the turbochargers are failing or have failed. It is important to note that modified and unmodified cars will feel a bit different in terms of speed.
  • If the boost pressure comes on late – Both 270 and 250 GTis are known to have some pretty significant turbo lag when compared to other more modern turbocharged performance hatches. However, you should notice that boost starts to pick up past the 2,500 rpm mark. If it starts coming on much later (well over 3,000 rpm) there is a problem that needs to be looked into.
  • Check Engine Warning Light and fault codes – Could be caused by turbo issues or something else. Use an OBDII scanner if you have one to read the codes or take the car to a specialist/mechanic to get them to do it for you.

The issues listed above may also be the result of another problem as well, so keep that in mind.

Buying a 308 II GTi with a Rebuilt or Replaced Engine

This is another thing that you shouldn’t be too concerned about given the fairly new age of the 308 II GTi, but it will become more of a factor with time.

Some buyers are put off by used vehicles with rebuilt or replaced engines, however, we don’t have an issue at all as long as the work was carried out by a competent Peugeot specialist or mechanic who has experience with the THP engine inside the 308 GTi.

We also generally prefer rebuilds as there is a greater chance of knowing the history of the engine. A replacement could have come from any 308 GTi, but if it was a new replacement from Peugeot that would be preferable to a rebuild.

We wouldn’t expect to find too many home rebuild jobs, but if you do be very cautious as many home mechanics have more ambition than skill (however, there are some very good ones out there)If the work was done by a business/specialist, find out exactly who did the work and check any reviews (give them a call as well if you are really serious about the car as they may be able to tell you a bit more about it).

You are unlikely to come across any radical engine swaps with a 308 GTi, but if you do we would probably avoid purchasing the car. While, radical engine swaps can be okay, they are more likely to be an absolute nightmare and you don’t want to buy somebody else’s unfinished project.

We tend to recommend that you avoid fresh rebuilds or engine swaps with only a couple of hundred miles on them. This is because a Peugeot 308 II GTi that has travelled 10,000 km (6,200 miles) on a rebuild is more of a known than one that has only travelled a short distance since the work was carried out.

Compression/Leakdown Test

If possible, we suggest that you get a compression test done prior to purchase. A compression test can help you determine whether or not there is problem with the engine, however, it won’t necessarily tell you exactly what the problem is. If the owner doesn’t want a compression test to go ahead it could be a sign that they are trying to hide something from you.

Some owners will get a compression test done before sale and put the results in the advertisement. The most important thing with the results is to make sure that they are all roughly the same (within around 10% of each other).

Transmission and Differential

Credit: Peugeot

There are no fancy dual clutch transmission systems here, just a simple 6-speed manual transmission. The manual transmission seems to be pretty reliable, but some owners have complained of a strange moaning/whining noise when going around tight roundabouts, corners or doing U-turns. This is quite a common issue on Torsen LSD equipped cars, so it shouldn’t affect 250 GTi models.

Some owners have had luck fixing the problem with a fluid/oil change (sometimes after a couple of attempts). The problem was widespread enough that Peugeot issued a Technical Service Bulletin (B2CW015GQ0) which included the recommended service action:

  1. Drain gearbox fluid
  2. Refill using HBVFE 2 75W-transmission fluid – part number is 16 180 784 80 and amount required is 2.1-litres
  3. Add 75g/75 millilitres of STURACO FM 1992-KS additive – part number is S671 600 020

Some owners have had luck using other additives to fix the problem as the STURACO product can be quite hard to source in some markets.

Apart from that check for the general transmission related things. When shifting, make sure that the gearbox is not overly loose or sloppy. Remember to test the gearbox at both low and high engine speeds. If any one of the gears pops out during acceleration it could be down to a number of different issues. A simple fix may be all that is needed, but it could also be something much more serious and expensive, so we would probably pass on the 308 GTi if we noticed this problem.

Synchro wear doesn’t seem to be much of a problem at the moment, but we imagine it may become more of an issue as the 308 II GTis age. These cars also promote enthusiastic driving, which can make synchro problems more likely to occur. Modified 308 GTis running more power will also be more likely to suffer from worn synchros as well, so keep that in mind.

It is a good idea to see how the clutch and transmission performs during a hill start. Additionally, lift off after accelerating hard in second, third and fourth. If you notice any strange rattling noises it could be a sign that the gearbox bearings are in a bad way.

Clutch

The clutch will eventually need to be replaced and it can be very expensive to do so as the labour costs are quite high. Here are some tests you can do to make sure the clutch is working as intended:

Clutch Engagement – The first step is to make sure the engagement is good. To do this put the Peugeot 308 GTi you are inspecting into gear on a level surface and let the clutch out slowly. It should engage around 7 to 10 cm (2.5 to 4 inches) from the floor. Engagement that is early or too late indicates a problem.

Clutch Slippage – The best way to test for this problem is to shift into a gear that is too high for the speed you are going. You should notice that the engine bogs down a bit (don’t do this on a regular basis). The next thing to do is to accelerate. If you notice that the tachometer goes up out of relation to the speedometer and/or you notice jerkiness it suggests that the clutch is slipping.

Clutch Drag – Get the Peugeot 308 GTi on a flat surface and press the clutch pedal to the floor (do this while you are stationary). Rev the car hard (once it is warm) and see If it moves. If the car does move, the clutch is not disengaging when you shift and parts will wear prematurely.

Clutch Shudder – This is usually noticeable when you accelerate from a stop. A small amount is perfectly normal, but an excessive amount is a sign that the release bearings need to be lubricated.

Body and Exterior

Credit: Peugeot

Make sure you give the body and exterior of the 308 II GTi a good check over as problems here can be extremely expensive to fix.

Accident Damage

Crash damage should be one of your primary areas of concern when inspecting any used car. Here are some things that may indicate that the Peugeot 308 II GTi you are looking at has been in an accident:

  • Misaligned panels or large panel gaps – While some people joke about the poor build quality of French cars, modern ones tend to be very well built, so if you see any misaligned panels or unusually large or small panel gaps we would be suspicious. Inspect around the bonnet/hood and make sure everything lines up correctly. Check the door, bumper and boot/trunk panel gaps. If the panel gaps on one side look quite different to the other side, it could be a sign that the Peugeot 308 GTi has been in an accident.
  • Doors that drop or don’t close properly – If the doors drop or don’t open/close properly the 308 II GTi you are looking at may have been in an accident or there may be some other sort of other issue with the door hinges.
  • Inconsistencies such as waving, rippling or different coloured panels – Indicates a respray which may have been conducted as a result of accident damage or rust. Once again, Peugeot’s build quality these days is good enough that we wouldn’t expect this to be a factory problem and is morel likely the result of a respray (could also be down to paint fade, but that’s less likely).
  • If the bonnet/hood looks like it is popped when it is not – This may indicate that the 308 GTi you are inspecting has been crashed into something (even a light knock can cause this problem).
  • Damage to the mounting supports for the headlights or surrounds of the taillights – This can be very difficult to fix on any car and is a good place to check for any accident damage.
  • Bent or broken parts underneath the car – While inspecting the underside, check to make sure everything is straight. Look at the suspension and steering components as well. If the parts are different on one side compared to the other or much newer, it may be a sign that the Peugeot 308 GTi has been in an accident.
  • Rust in strange locations – Can be a sign of accident damage.
  • Paint runs or overspray – Very unlikely to be a factory issue on Peugeot 308 GTis and is far more likely to be due to a respray job. Keep in mind that a lot of dealers will do a respray on the front of the car due to stone chips, so this doesn’t always necessary the damage was serious. Check the seller’s shoes as well as we went to look at a used car once and the terrible respray job matched the specks of paint on the owner’s boots (more of a joke, but this happened to us one time).
  • Missing badges or trim – Could be due to repair work (body shop couldn’t find replacements) or a number of other things (stolen, etc.).

Most sellers will probably try to cover up or downplay accident damage, so make sure you ask plenty of questions and don’t rush the inspection.

If you do find out that the GTi was in an acciden, try to get an idea of the severity of the incident. Light to moderate damage that has been repaired by a skilled body shop/panel beater is usually fine. However, if the Peugeot 308 GTi has been in a serious incident and received major damage it is probably best to walk away.

If the owner can’t tell you much about the accident/damage it may have happened when a previous person owned the vehicle.

Rust

Have a good look around the bottom of the doors as some owners have complained about rust issues here. What seems to happen is that water collects in the door pockets (mainly the front but we would check the back as well) and can’t drain properly. This eventually leads to rust formation. The problem seems to be pretty rare at the moment, but it is definitely something to check closely as this could be expensive to fix if it is left untreated.

Another area where some owner have reported rust is on the roof. Doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem at all, but worth checking out. Give the rest of the 308 II GTi a good look over as well. Check around the wheel arches, sills, etc.

Rust can often be more serious than it first appears on the surface. If you notice any rust issues and are still keen on the car it is a good idea to get the vehicle properly checked out prior to purchase. Additionally, try to find a quote on how much it will cost to repair the problem (be mindful that the cost could easily expand over the course of the repair). If the 308 GTi is still under warranty, Peugeot should cover the issue for you, but if the car’s warranty has finished you will be on your own.

Factors That Can Make Rust More Likely on a 308 II GTi

  • The Peugeot 308 GTi has spent time in countries or areas with salted roads (Upper Midwest, Northeast, UK, Canada, etc.)
  • The vehicle has spent time in countries or areas with very harsh winters (often linked with the above)
  • Vehicle is often driven, parked or stored by the sea for significant periods of time.
  • Always kept outside (never garaged)
  • The 308 GTi is regularly driven in winter (garaging the car and not driving it in the winter will reduce the likelihood of rust issues)
  • Accident damage (stone chips or more significant damage)
  • Rubbing body parts
  • Old or no underseal

We recommend that you check with the owner to see if rust protection has been applied at regular intervals. This is less of a concern in countries that don’t salt their roads, but if you are in somewhere like the UK we would definitely check.

Watch out for black rubber undercoating as rust can often form underneath it. Additionally, some more dishonest owners get it applied prior to sale to cover up existing rust. Oily/wax-based undercoating is much better and you can still see what the original condition of the frame is like underneath.

We also recommend that you ask the seller/owner if regular washes of the underbody have been carried out during winter if you live in a country with salted roads. Cleaning the underside of the car can go a long way to prevent rust formation on the frame/undercarriage and if they have done it, it shows that they probably care quite a bit about preventative maintenance.

Looking for Rust Repairs

It is not only important to look for present rust, but you should also keep an eye out for signs of past rust repair (mismatched paint, paint overspray etc.). Watch out for any areas that may have been resprayed or cut out and replaced. You should also check the service history and with the owner (however, don’t trust what the owner says completely as they may be trying to hide something from you).

Use a magnet on steel sections of the car (cover it with a cloth so you don’t damage the paintwork) or a coating gauge thickness tool such as this one to find any areas that may have been repaired.

Brakes

Credit: Peugeot

The brakes, especially on the 270 model, should be one of your biggest areas of concern. Peugeot enlisted the help of Tamworth-based specialists, Alcon, to produce the brakes for the more powerful model.

The 380 mm (12.99-inch) discs created by Alcon for the 308 GTi provide some serious stopping power, however, they are also mind-numbingly expensive to replace. Some owners have reported that Peugeot has quoted up to around £1,700 to replace the front discs and other brake components. When we asked Peugeot in NZ they quoted nearly us nearly $4,000 (US2,400 at the time of writing), so we can confirm that they are very expensive to replace. What makes this high replacement cost even worse is that some owners have found that they need new discs as early as 24,000 km (15,000 miles).

Part of the reason for this extreme cost is that while Alcon made the brake components, they were only available through Peugeot to buy. Third party manufacturers like Tarox and MTEC Brakes did eventually release their own versions of the brake components, but they are still reasonably expensive.

For some owners the replacement cost is simply too high, so they replace the Alcon brakes on their 270 GTi with the ones from the less powerful 250 model. However, this will obviously reduce braking performance significantly, but it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for regularly road driving. If you are looking at a 270 and want to confirm that the more powerful brakes are still fitted, check the calipers. They should be big red four pot ones with large 380 mm discs.

Apart from that do a general break check. If the standard brakes feel weak or spongy it is a sign of an issue as they should be perfectly adequate for regular road driving.

A shuddering or shaking through the Peugeot 308 GTi’s steering wheel when the brakes are applied is probably a sign that one or more of the discs are warped. This usually becomes first apparent under high-speed braking and is more likely to occur if the GTi has been regularly tracked/driven hard.

Another thing to check for is a seized caliper. If this has happened you may notice one or more of the following:

  • Car pulls to one side (may even happen when the brakes are not in use)
  • Car feels low on power as if the parking/handbrake is on (could also be a sign of diff issues)
  • Brakes get extremely hot and produce a distinctive acrid smell and in some cases smoke
  • You find that the 308 GTi doesn’t want to move at all
  • Loud thud-like noise when pulling away for the first time

There are a number of things that can cause a frozen/seized caliper. Sometimes a rebuild will get them back to normal, but if the calipers are in a really bad way new ones will be required. Replacing all of the calipers is quite expensive, especially on 270 models as noted above.

Make sure you physically inspect the brake components as well, looking out for any corrosion or component wear. Additionally, don’t forget to check the brake fluid condition and level. If it is dark it is a sign that it hasn’t been replaced in a long time.

Suspension and Steering

Credit: Peugeot

A number of owners have complained about suspension issues with their 308 II GTis. Problems range from bad top strut mounts that cause grinding/rumbling noises to shocks that need regreasing at a very low mileage and much more. Below we have created a bit of a checklist of things to watch out for that indicate suspension and/or steering issues.

  • Dipping and swerving when the brakes are applied
  • Excessive Rear-end squat during acceleration and rear end wobble over bumps
  • Tipping during cornering
  • High speed instability or floaty/nervous feeling through the steering wheel
  • Delayed or longer stopping distances
  • Uneven tyre wear
  • Excessive bounce after hitting a bump or when pushing down on the suspension (suspension should only rebound once when pushed down otherwise it may indicate that the shocks are worn)
  • Sagging or uneven suspension
  • Knocking, clunking or creaking sounds during a test drive – this is usually the shocks, top mounts and or drop links
  • Rattles – drive over some bumps – there should be no noise from the suspension components (however, you may hear some rattles from something in the cabin).
  • Clicking sounds (especially at full lock)

Make sure you visually inspect as many of the suspension and steering components as possible.  Use a torch/flashlight and a mirror to get a good view of hard to see areas. If the components are different or much newer on one side than the other it could indicate that the vehicle has been in an accident.

Check the Wheel Alignment

Remember to check the wheel alignment on an Peugeot 308 II GTi you go to look at. Find a nice flat and straight section of road and see if the car pulls to the right or left. Poor wheel alignment can lead to problems such as excessive and/or uneven tyre wear, leading to more frequent tyre changes. Additionally, it can even make a 308 GTi’s driving experience less safe and enjoyable.

If the wheel alignment is really bad it is a sign of an owner who probably doesn’t care much for their first gen Peugeot 308 GTi as they probably should have got it sorted before putting the car on the market.

Most of the time a simple realignment is all that is needed, however, in some cases bad wheel alignment can be a sign of serious suspension/steering issues or even accident damage.

Wheels

Check the wheels closely for any damage as a problem here could be quite expensive depending on the severity. If there is lots of curb damage it indicates that the 308 GTi has been owned by somebody a bit careless. A small amount of curb damage is expected on any car that is used regularly, but if the 308 II GTi has minimal mileage and has been garaged its entire life we wouldn’t expect to find any issues.

Make sure you also check for any dents, cracking or buckling on the wheels as these sorts of problems often require a new wheel. 

Aftermarket wheels aren’t a problem as long as they fit right and aren’t too big. However, be aware that bigger rims can impact ride quality and be more susceptible to damage. If the 308 GTi does have aftermarket wheels, check with the owner to see if they still have the originals as they will only add value to the car (if not try to use that to get a discount).

Tyres

The original Michelin tyres (especially the Super Sport ones on the 270) and other good tyres are expensive, so check for the following issues:

  • Amount of tread – If there is minimal tread left try to get a discount as you will need to get the tyres replaced in the near future.
  • Uneven wear – Wear should be even between the right and left tyres on the Peugeot 308 GTi. Additionally, make sure wear is even across the tyre itself.
  • Brand – They should be from a good or well-reviewed brand – if they are from a poorly reviewed brand it suggests that the owner has cheaped out on maintenance.
  • Same tyre – In terms of tyre make, type and tread pattern on each axle (preferably on all four wheels) – mismatched tyres can lead to poor handling performance, increased wear and may even be dangerous.
  • Pressure – It can be a good idea to check tyre pressures when conducting an inspection. If the tyre pressures are wrong it can cause the car to pull to the left or right during acceleration. Incorrect tyre pressures can also lead to increased wear and fuel consumption as well.

Interior

Credit: Peugeot

There isn’t too much to worry about here apart from the usual. Inspect the seats and other trim material for any wear, stains, tears, etc. The seat bolsters/side supports are always somewhere to check and make sure the seats have not collapsed. If the seats move during acceleration or braking it is incredibly dangerous and will be an MOT/WOF failure.

Make sure you check the carpets and rest of the cabin for any dampness or signs of a leak. Water can play havoc with the electronics if it gets in the wrong place and can lead to a nasty smell as well. Feel around the carpets and turn over the floor mats. If you see water residue on the bottom of the floor mats, it could be a sign of a past of present leak. While it is pretty unlikely, a leak from a strange place could also indicate accident damage.

Make sure you have a look at the headlining above the driver’s seat. If it is a slightly different colour it may be a sign that the Peugeot 308 GTi you are inspecting has been owned by a smoker. A smell test will also help you determine whether or not this is the case as well. While you are looking at the headlining, check to see it is firmly attached and hasn’t started to droop.

Have a look at the speaker grills and bottom of the door cards for damage due to people climbing in and out. See if the complete toolkit with jack and spare tyre parts are present as you want to make sure they have not gone missing.

Electronics and Other Things

Credit: Peugeot

Once again there isn’t really anything specific to watch out for here. Check to make sure the touchscreen and infotainment system work as intended. Test all of the lights, locks, massage seats (if it has those) and other things around the cabin. Electrical gremlins can be a nightmare to fix, so we would be cautious if you notice a problem.

Some owners find the infotainment system pretty clunky and unresponsive, so check to make sure you are happy with how it operates. It can also be a good idea to check that your phone can sync/connect to the system as there have been complaints about this and some owners even find that the whole system crashes during syncing.

Another thing to do is to check that the owner still has the two original keys that came with the car from new. Replacing the keys can be quite expensive, and if they are missing one we would want a discount. Additionally, even if they have both keys you should make sure that they both work.

If no warning lights appear during start-up it may be a sign of an issue or that they have been disconnected. Alternatively, if they stay on you need to investigate the issue further and possibly take the car to a Peugeot specialist to find out what is causing the warning light before purchase. You can also use an OBD2 scanner to read the codes as well if you have one on hand.

General Car Buying Advice for a Peugeot 308II GTi

Credit: Peugeot

How to Get the Best Deal on a Peugeot  308 GTi 2015 to 2021

This information applies to both dealers and private sealers. Knowledge is power and it can save you a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle.  

1. Research heavily –  Prior to starting your search for a Peugeot 308 GTi, figure out what specs and condition you are happy with. Do you want a low mileage, last year 308 GTi or do you not mind an older one that has travelled a bit further.

2. Shop around – It is always best to shop around a bit before you make a purchase. Peugeot sold a fair few of these cars, so there are plenty out there in different levels of condition and mileage, so don’t limit yourself to one seller, dealer, area or auction platform.

3. Go look at and test drive multiple MINIs if possible – While good Peugeot 308 GTis will get more difficult to find as time goes on, It is a good idea to test drive as many cars as possible This will help you determine what makes a good and what makes a bad first gen Peugeot 308 GTi.

4. Adjust your attitude – Never rush into a purchase. If you are desperate to buy a car you are more likely to get ripped off. Take your time when looking for a 2015 to 2021 Peugeot 308 GTi for sale and only go for promising looking cars (unless you are looking for a project vehicle).

5. Use any issues with the car to your advantage –  Take a mental note of any issues you find with the vehicle. When it comes to discussing the price, use these problems to try and drive down the price. For example, if the car needs new tyres or brake pads make a point of it and try to get the seller to reduce the price.  

6. Don’t trust the owner completely –  While some owners/sellers are honest about their cars, many will lie to get a quick sale. Take in what the owner has to say but back it up with a thorough inspection.

7. Go between sellers/dealers –  If you are looking at multiple Peugeot 308 GTis, let the owner/seller know. This way they will know that you have other options and they may try to undercut the price.  

8. Be prepared to walk away –  If you are not happy with the deal, simply walk away. You may miss out on the car or the seller may get back to you with a better offer.  

Mileage vs Condition  

Mileage vs condition is always a hot topic for debate, but we feel that it is always better to buy on condition and then on mileage. Lots of owners make the mistake of believing that they are preserving their car by not driving it. In reality, this is completely false and not driving a vehicle can actually do more damage than good.

Short distance trips do not allow the engine to warm up properly, which can lead to increased component wear and reduced engine life.

Rubber seals and plastic parts will fail regardless of mileage and can even deteriorate quicker on cars that don’t get used often. Letting a car sit will not prevent rust or stop the electronics from failing.  

Service History and Other Documentation 

It is incredibly important to check any vehicle’s service history and any additional paperwork that goes along with it. While the servicing doesn’t need to be done at a dealer, it should be carried out by a competent Peugeot specialist or mechanic (especially for major repair work). Home mechanic work is okay, but it is much harder to gauge the competence of a home mechanic than checking reviews for established businesses.

The service history will give you a good idea of how the Peugeot 308 GTi you are inspecting has been maintained. In addition to this, receipts and paperwork for modifications (if the car has any) can help you determine whether they have been done by an experienced tuner or a bad one.  

If the owner can’t or won’t let you see the service history, you should probably pass on the vehicle. A complete service history will only add value to any vehicle your purchase and will make it easier to sell the car in the future.  

Additionally, you can check websites such as CarFax (USA) and CarJam (NZ) for more information about the car you are thinking of purchasing. These sort of websites can be incredibly useful, but there is usually a cost associated with them. 

Questions That You Should Ask the Seller/Owner  

  • How often do you drive the car? 
  • When was the last service and who was it serviced by? 
  • How much oil does it use? 
  • What oil do you use in the car? 
  • What parts have been replaced?
  • When were the coils, spark plugs, leads changed?
  • What’s the compression like?
  • What modifications have been made to the vehicle? 
  • Has the vehicle overheated at any point or has the head gasket failed? 
  • Has the car been in any major or minor accidents? Is so, what repairs were made? 
  • Is there any money owing on the car? 
  • Have you got any information on the previous owners and how they treated the vehicle? 
  • How are the speakers
  • Is there any rust? 
  • Has rust been removed at any point? 
  • When were the brake pads replaced and have the calipers seized at any point in time? 
  • Where do you store/park the car usually? 

There are loads more questions you can ask the seller, but we feel these are some of the most important. 

Things That Would Make Us Walk Away from a Peugeot 308 GTi

Here are some things that would make as walk away from one of these cars. While you may be happy with a vehicle with these problems, we are not.  

  • Overheating problems or blown head gasket
  • Significant Crash Damage or poorly repaired roof 
  • Money owing on the car  
  • Stanced  
  • Modifications with no paperwork or carried out by a poorly reviewed tuner  
  • Excessive amounts of power
  • Bad compression 
  • Bad resprays 
  • Significant rust problems  
  • Engine swaps with non-standard engines  
  • Significant track use
  • Major engine or transmission issues  
  • Owner who is not forthcoming with information (could be trying to hide something) 

Notes on the Owner  

The owner is one of the most important things to think about when viewing any vehicle. You need to ask them plenty of questions when inspecting their Peugeot 308 GTi (however, don’t trust their answers completely). Remember, it is your problem if you wind up buying an absolute lemon. Here are some things to watch out for.  

  • How long have they owned the vehicle? If it is less than 6 months it tends to suggest that the car needs major work done to it that they can’t afford. It also could be a sign that they deal cars as well. 
  • Do they thrash the car when it is cold or continually launch the vehicle? If so, you are better to walk away. 
  • Why are they selling the vehicle? Could be a genuine reason or they may be trying to offload their problem onto an unsuspecting buyer. 
  • What sort of area do they live in? Is it a good area or a complete dump? 
  • How do they respond when you ask them simple questions? 
  • Do they know anything about the Peugeot 308 GTi and the model they are selling (250 vs 270, etc.)?
  • What can they tell you about previous owners? 
  • Do they have lots of cars on their drive? If they do it may mean they are a dealer. 
  • What is their reaction when you ask them about money owing on the car? Tell them you are going to do a check and see how they respond. 
  • What is their reaction to you asking for details for HPi check?  
  • How do they react if you ask to do a compression test on the vehicle?
  • How do they respond when you ask them to show you the service history and paperwork for the car? 

If you get a bad feeling about the owner, you are better off moving onto another Peugeot 308 GTi.

2015 to 2021 Peugeot 308 II GTi Buyer’s Guide Conclusion

Credit: Peugeot

The 308 II GTi was a brilliant car when it launched in 2015 and it is still a fantastic car today. There are a few problems to watch out for with the brakes and some of the other parts of the car, but the 308 GTi is generally pretty reliable if maintained well. Buy a good one of these cars and look after it well and it should provide you with plenty of years of enjoyable driving. However, just don’t assume those years will be as cheap as if you had a base-spec Toyota Corolla.

As the 308 GTi is still relatively new, we would expect more problems to pop up with these cars over the years. We will continue to update this article to make it the best Peugeot 308 II GTi buyer’s guide possible. If you have any additional information you feel should be included, let us know in the comments below.

References

Peugeot (18/06/2015) – 308 GTi by PEUGEOT SPORT: the ultimate hot hatch – PRESS KIT

Thaikormai (05/07/2021) – My journey from Swedish to French hatchback: Peugeot 308 GTi ownership report – 270 hp of FWD fun – My journey from Swedish to French hatchback: Peugeot 308 GTi ownership report – 270 hp of FWD fun : cars (reddit.com)

Australia Car Reviews – Review: Peugeot T9 308 GTi (2016-on) – Review: Peugeot T9 308 GTi (2016-on) (australiancar.reviews)

Anthony Lim (13/05/2013) – New Peugeot 308 – first details and hi-res photos – New Peugeot 308 2014 – first details and hi-res photos (paultan.org)

James Wong (07/06/2017) – 2017 Peugeot 308, 308 GTi fully revealed in new images, more details confirmed – 2017 Peugeot 308, 308 GTi fully revealed in new images, more details confirmed – Drive

ttimbo (15/05/2019) – 308 gti exhaust sounds weird – 308 gti exhaust sounds weird | Peugeot Forums

LowpugV2 (25/04/2022) – Any 308 GTi 270 owners here?   – Any 308 GTi 270 owners here? | aussiefrogs – The Australian French Car Forum Since 1999

ttimbo (5/08/2020) – 308 GTi 270 — LSD noise — use of transmission oil friction modifier – 308 GTi 270 — LSD noise — use of transmission oil friction modifier | Peugeot Forums

dan-308 (13/04/2022) – Rust on front doors – Rust on front doors | Peugeot Forums

Bugerbob (21/05/2018) – 308 GTi / RCZ R Alcon brakes alternatives – 308 GTi / RCZ R Alcon brakes alternatives | Peugeot Forums

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