So the Feline feels eager and light on its feet, helped by having shed around 100kg compared with that 207. Its almost lag-free torque delivery extends over a very broad speed range, with useful urge right up to the 6800rpm rev limit, and the whole way the 208 moves is smooth and easy. Quiet, too, although enlivened by a little bass sputter from the exhaust on upshifts.
Unlike that 207, whose ride could be stiff and restless, the 208 Feline soaks up small bumps smoothly and quietly and has calm, authoritative damping over big undulations. There was a danger that the tiny steering wheel's necessarily quick response and hefty power assistance could make this fastest 208 feel artificially darty, but in fact it proves to feel the most natural of the 208s we've sampled to date.
It's surprising that it feels as normal as it does, given that the wheel has to be practically in your lap if you're to see the whole instrument display.
Downsides are slightly snatchy brakes and the occasional tug of torque steer, but overall this is a more satisfying 208 than we expected.
Should I buy one?
Depends on what you want. It almost comes across as a premium compact inside, but too much hard plastic lets it down. Ignore that and you have a more sober rival to a DS3 DSport, or a more comfortable, more relaxed, cheaper and not much slower alternative to a Cooper S.
It's a warm hatch rather than a hot one, but it's good fun to drive and augurs well for the GTI to come.
Peugeot 208 Feline THP 156
Price £16,895; 0-62mph 8.1sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 48.7mpg; CO2 135g/km; Engine 1598cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol; Kerb weight 1090kg; Power 154bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 192lb ft at 1750-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual