French automaker Peugeot has been slowly expanding its lineup of performance cars over the past couple of years, most recently with the 270-horsepower RCZ R coupe and before that with the 208 GTI. At the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show last month, Peugeot unveiled a high-performance concept car based on its Golf-rivaling 308 hatchback. The concept was called the 308 R and it featured the same 270-horsepower four-cylinder engine as the aforementioned RCZ R.

A high-performance 308 variant has already been spotted testing, though the prototypes don’t appear anywhere near as extreme as the carbon fiber-infused 308 R concept. This suggests that the prototypes are likely to be for a new 308 GTI rather than an actual 308 R.

That doesn’t mean a 308 R is out of the question. According to Peugeot director general Maxime Picat, a 308 built to similar specifications to the 308 R concept is very likely.

"We will create specific high-line versions of our cars,” Picat told Top Gear. “There is room for a 308 R that uses the same engine as the concept car at Frankfurt.”

The engine Picat is referring to is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder capable of delivering a staggering--for its size--270 horsepower and 342 pound-feet of torque (the version in the 308 R concept only had 243 pound-feet). It has been reinforced by a specific heat treatment prior to machining to improve durability. The twin-scroll turbo was also reinforced and the steel exhaust manifold designed so that it can handle higher temperatures than usual.

Equipped with this engine, a Peugeot 308 R would provide some worthwhile competition for the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R. Unfortunately, even if it were built the 308 R wouldn’t be sold in the U.S. due to the absence of the Peugeot brand on these shores.


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