Launched last year, the new Peugeot 308 is the latest successor to a line that was inaugurated 90 years ago, with the very first Peugeot 301 launched in 1932. But the most striking model in this “3” series is without doubt the second generation Peugeot 308, launched in 2013: a real commercial success to which we owe its successful exclusive strategy. Now mature, the 308 had to stay the course and returns with a third generation. Its appearance now shows a confident personality with lines that are both impressive, such as can be found on its front bumper, its muscular sides and its extended bonnet, but also subtle, as evidenced by its tapered optics: c It is also the first Peugeot to display the brand’s all-new logo.
For its part, this new generation of the BMW 1 Series, released in 2019, marks a real break with the previous ones: abandon the propulsion architecture that made this little Bavarian peculiarity. From now on, place for profitability: it actually adopts the platform of the Series 2 Active Tourer and becomes a front-wheel drive. This technical choice is also reflected in its design: one would almost see the lines of a compact minivan, so much its bonnet is short, its high height and its marked waist. It thus has a rather versatile look, despite this new front end equipped with impressive beans, as is now usual with BMW.
Practical aspects: two radically different universes
Inside, the two rivals are opposites of their universe: In the Peugeot 308, we step into a neat cabin where technology is omnipresent. Peugeot shows here the latest version of its famous i-Cockpit, which combines a 10-inch 3D digital instrument cluster located in the high position with a small compact steering wheel, finished with a 10-inch touchscreen located in the center of the impressive dashboard: just below this is accompanied by another touch screen with five custom shortcuts. The materials are nice, although we can notice the presence of hard plastic in the lower parts.
Diametrically opposed, the BMW 1 Series has a more classic interior, which offers an austere presentation but more careful materials. The technology is present, with a floating touchscreen in the center of the dashboard, as well as an instrument cluster with a digital screen, but it will not all disorient fans of the Bavarian company. Those who resist all-touch will appreciate the physical air conditioning controls of the Series 1 all the more, while the 308 has gone much further in dematerialization… A matter of taste and habit. On the other hand, we would appreciate the presence of a real automatic transmission control lever on the BMW, easier to handle than the small push button on the Peugeot. However, the French makes up for it with its small steering wheel, which is much more comfortable to handle than its German rival.
In both models, the habitability is correct and spacious for the segment, especially in the rear seats, which can comfortably accommodate two adults. A small advantage of the Peugeot 308, which has a more comfortable rear seat and front seats labeled AGR (a German organization for back health) that provide excellent support, while the BMW 1 Series suffers from harder seats and, above all, a narrower center seat at the back, with the presence of a prominent central tunnel.
On the trunk side, the Series 1 offers a volume of 380 liters when the bench seat is in place, and once it is folded down, this volume increases to 1,200 liters. On the 308, the boot is more generous with a capacity of 412 litres, rising to 1,323 liters when the bench seat is folded down. The BMW makes up for it with some small equipment not offered on the Peugeot, such as the 12 V socket in the trunk or the motorized tailgate (available as an option for €510).
Equipment: a good deal of technology
Our Peugeot 308 in the test is based on a top-of-the-range “GT” finish, which offers a lot of standard equipment, including many technologies and driving assistance systems such as automatic emergency braking, parking assistance front and rear, reversing camera, Matrix LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and speed limiter, and blind spot monitoring. Of course, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and start, or even the induction charger for smartphones are standard, as is the 10-inch touchscreen multimedia system and the 10-inch 3D digital handset. .
Our Series 1 model is a rather classy “M Sport” finish, which offers many standard equipment such as Park Assist, Full LED headlights, cruise control, the BMW Live Cockpit Navigation Pro multimedia system, automatic climate control or still front and rear parking assistance. . But to get certain standard equipment in the 308, you have to put your hand in your pocket and check many options offered in the catalog, such as the heated steering wheel (€210), dual-zone automatic climate control (€560) ), the hands-free entry and start ( €560), Advanced Full LED headlights (€610), induction charger (€460) and active cruise control (€460). Very quickly the addition becomes quite salty!
Budget: a better ratio between equipment and price for the 308
For the 136 horsepower “118i” engine with DKG7 gearbox, the BMW 1 Series is offered with five trim levels: 1 Series (€32,350), Business Design (€35,260), Sport Edition (€35,940), M Sport (€38,250) . €) and M Sport Pro (€43,000). Not surprisingly, the Peugeot 308 with the 130 horsepower PureTech engine with EAT8 gearbox is more available with five trim levels at a lower price: Active Pack (€29,220), Allure (€31,220), Allure Pack (€32,020), GT (€34,020) and GT Pack (€35,620).
Finally, with emissions of 128 g and 138 g CO2/km respectively, a fine of €50 for the Peugeot 308 and €260 for the BMW Series 1 count. Despite a more expensive price positioning, the Series 1 also has a higher expected rating than the 308, which compensates for that with better reliability and a repair cost that should be lower than its German rival.