Peugeot's decade of madness

Peugeot's decade of madness

Peugeot's decade of madness

by July 26, 2016

When you think of Peugeot, what springs to mind? French, obviously, stylish design maybe, and probably practical, thanks to cars like the 308 hatchback or 2008 SUV.

Crazy doesn’t necessarily leap to mind, but for about a decade Peugeot had a serious wild side. Here are seven cars that proved Peugeot could push the boundaries. 

Peugeot 205 GTI

Peugeot 205 GTIOur story starts in 1984 with the introduction of the 205 GTI. A small 1.6-litre hatchback might not seem too crazy, but the 205 quickly developed a hardcore reputation thanks to its appetite for oversteer. This adventurous handling balance makes it one of the most revered hot hatches ever.

Peugeot 205 T16

Peugeot 205 T16 jumpLater that year Peugeot returned to the World Rally Championship with the 205 T16, built to the new Group B regulations. It was an immediate success, its agile handling and 260kW 1775cc turbo engine propelling Ari Vatanen to victory in three of the final four rallies that year.

Peugeot 205 T16 2 drivingAround 12 months later, Peugeot introduced the 205 T16 ‘E2’, with a six-speed gearbox, massive wings and up to 400kW. It was the most successful Group B car, winning 16 rallies and two world championships. 

Peugeot Quasar 

Peugeot Quasar frontPeugeot used the rally car mechanicals to built the wild Quasar concept. The 1.8-litre engine was boosted to 450kW, but instead of stickers and a roll cage there was acres of red leather, a space-age electronic dash and scissor doors!

Peugeot -Quasar -rear

Peugeot Proxima

Peugeot Proxima conceptPeugeot’s next concept, the Proxima of 1986, made the Quasar look almost normal. Its 2+2 cockpit was accessed via a fighter jet-style sliding canopy, and at the rear was a twin-turbo 2.8-litre V6 producing a claimed 500kW, which could push it to 348km/h…supposedly.

Peugeot Proxima interiorInside was more retina-searing red trim and more electronics than a Nintendo factory.

Peugeot 405 T16/Dakar

Peugeot 205 T16 driving Following the death of Group B, Peugeot branched out to other forms of motorsport. Having lost to Audi at Pikes Peak in 1987, Peugeot returned in 1988 with the purpose-built 405 T16, Ari Vatanen’s record winning run captured in the classic film Climb Dance.

Peugeot 205 T16 Dakar Peugeot also dominated the Dakar rally during this period, winning four times in succession from 1987-90, the first two with a modified 205 T16 and the latter two with a off-road spec 405 T16.

Peugeot Oxia

Peugeot Oxia frontHigh on its incredible run of success, Peugeot built itself a supercar. And what a supercar. The Oxia used a carbon/kevlar body housing an all-wheel drive drivetrain with limited-slip diffs at both ends and all-wheel steering.

Peugeot Oxia front and backPowering it was a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 with 500kW/720Nm, which propelled the Oxia to 350km/h at Nardo, though a 670kW version of the same engine helped the WM P88 Peugeot hit 407km/h at Le Mans in 1988. Sadly, just examples of the Oxia were built.

Peugeot 905

Peugeot Oxia 905 front Having won everything there was to win off road, Jean Todt and his merry men turned to the tarmac. The 905 initially struggled with both speed and reliability, but the 905B update late in 1991 transformed it into a sports car par excellence.

Peugeot Oxia 905 front drivingIts F1-spec 3.5-litre V10 produced a screaming 533kW at 12,500rpm and the car won the 1992 Le Mans 24 Hour before filling all three podium spots the following year. It was a fitting end to an incredible decade for Peugeot.