Peugeot 205GT

Top model in Peugeot / Talbot's new "supermini" 205 range so far is the 105 mph GT, using the power unit of the Samba 5, which we recently tried. Unusually for a car in this class, it has five doors, and the extremely handsome lines enclose a very space-efficient interior, which benefits from the novel rear suspension developed for the 305. As a result, there is no intrusion into the boot-space, while split rear seats are a bonus. Driving comfort is good, with a nice upright position, although the instrument binnacle seems rather dated.

On the move the 79 bhp engine proves to be a willing performer, 0-62 mph coming up in 11.6 sec, but the real pleasure of this fwd hatchback is the taut feel to the stiffened suspension (Macpherson struts up ahead, trailing arms supporting the luggage, and anti-roll bars at both ends). Grip from the 165/70 tyres is reassuring rather than spectacular, while the ride is firm and flat. A five-speed 'box and a lower final drive ratio than on lesser models rounds off this £5,395 package — but the best news is that there is more to come.

Peugeot intend to emphasise a sporting flavour in their range, and to follow the 505GTi and the 305GTi, there will be a 205GTi with a 107 bhp 1,600 cc engine capable of over 110 mph. Although smaller, this three-door will be facing Golf and Astra, so let's hope it realises the potential the GT hints at.

In addition, following its second place achievement on its debut event, limited numbers of the complex 4wd Turbo 16 rally car, based on the 205, will go on sale next year at around £25,000, and a small proportion of these can be expected to find their way to Britain. — G.C.