Wraps Come Off New Peugeot 307


t's been worth the wait. Development versions of the facelifted Peugeot 307 range have been on test for months and now we can bring you all the news on the actual car.

And it's not only the five-door you can see here - we've got confirmation of a hot hatch, and on Page 10 there are first pictures and full details of the estate, SW and CC convertible.

The updated line-up should hit UK showrooms in time for the 55-reg plate change on 1 September, and features a range of cosmetic improvements and equipment upgrades. Most obvious are the alterations to the external styling.

The gaping grille gives the 307 the firm's family face. Five black horizontal bars will feature on mainstream models, while sporty versions get four chrome slats. Above the intake are a pair of striking new projector headlamps.

The styling was first used by the larger 407, and has since featured on the 1007 supermini-MPV and the newly launched 107 city car. Small foglights with black plastic inserts above them integrate neatly with the bumper to complete the look. Changes at the rear have been kept to a minimum, where revised light clusters are the most obvious modification.

The updated units are designed to ape the look of the striking LED items fitted to the current CC convertible, and will now feature across the range. Other external cosmetic enhancements include two new alloy wheel designs and five fresh paint colours.

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There's good news for hot hatch fans, too. The new line-up will include three and five-door models fitted with
the 180bhp 2.0-litre unit found in the 206 GTi. But according to a spokes-man for the French firm, the five-speed model is set to disappoint enthusiasts - in badging terms, at least. "We've yet to decide on a name, but it definitely won't be called GTi," he confirmed.

Instead, it's likely to use the Féline name, in common with the French market version. It will wear 17-inch alloy wheels and feature an aluminium gearlever inside. Chrome-rimmed white instruments will also mark out the sporty model. The rest of the range is set to benefit from a cabin make-over, too. Lesser models will get updated trim, but the layout and design are largely the same as before.

In terms of equipment, Peugeot has concentrated on boosting safety, so tyre pressure sensors, audible passenger seatbelt warnings and a hands-free Bluetooth wireless phone kit should all be available on top-spec models. Dual-zone climate control also makes an appearance, along with a range of new stereos, although exact specifications have yet to be confirmed.

Under the bonnet, the engine line-up has been carried over from the outgoing model. However, the existing 2.0-litre petrol engine fitted to XSi models has been re-engineered to provide 140bhp, up from 138bhp. Both the 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol units are available with Peugeot's Tiptronic automatic transmission as before.

Official prices have yet to be announced, but they're unlikely to rise significantly, despite the revisions. An all-new replacement, which will be badged the 308, isn't due until 2008.
Ross Pinnock