205 GTI Vs. Golf GTI

Production

The Peugeot was manufactured from 1983 to 1994. In 1990, it received the honorable distinction of being named the "Car of the Decade" by CAR magazine. In 1985, the VW GTI was named Car of the Year by "Motor Trend" magazine.

Engines

When the VW GTI was introduced in 1975, it was powered by a 1.6-liter inline-4 that produced 110 horsepower. Over the years, the powerplant evolved into ever larger and larger engines, first a 1.8-liter in 1984, when the MKII version was launched. This car reached the U.S. in 1985, and is more commonly referred to here as the A2 GTI. The motor produced 112 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque. In 1991 (1993 in North America), the MKIII GTI was introduced and was powered by a 2.0-liter, 16-valve hp motor that put out 150 horsepower. There was also a 2.8-liter narrow angle VR6 motor that made 174 horsepower.

Like the VW, the 205 GTi relied on an inline-4. Displacement was a 1.6-liter that initially produced 105 horsepower, though later versions produced 115 horsepower. In 1987, the 1.9 GTi was added to the range, which produced 130 horsepower when a larger, 1.9-liter was introduced. The two motors are based on the same architecture, and so are very similar. The 1.9 gained the added displacement by increasing the stroke of the piston. It also added an oil cooler and other minor differences.

Chassis/Suspension

Both cars were offered in a three-door hatchback form and were based on a front wheel drive platform. There were some special edition GTIs that were all-wheel-drive.

Performance

Though by current standards, the performance of these cars might feel a bit antiquated, both of them offered surprising performance for such inconspicuous packages, which is one of the biggest reasons for their overwhelming success. Both cars could get to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds, and could reach over 110 mph.

Competition

Both the VW and the Peugeot had the same success in racing. Most notably, a variant of the 205 won the World Rally Championship in 1986. In 1989, a 205 won the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally. The GTI has been campaigned extensively in road racing around the world. One of the longest standing hot hatch rivalries was the one between the VW GTI and the Peugot 205 GTi. While these cars are no longer made, Peugot and VW continue to compete for the hearts and minds of performance hatchback enthusiasts in Europe. Sadly, while U.S. buyers have had access to a version of the VW GTI since the model was brought here in 1983, Peugot elected to not import the equally impressive 205. Instead, they sold cars like the 405 sedan.