Launched last year, the new Peugeot 308 is the latest heir to a line inaugurated 90 years ago, with the very first Peugeot 301 marketed in 1932. But the most striking model of this “3” series is undoubtedly the second-generation Peugeot 308, launched in 2013: a real commercial success that we owe to its successful upmarket strategy. Now mature, the 308 had to stay the course, and returns with a third generation. Its look now displays an assertive personality, with lines that are both imposing, which can be found for example 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 brand new logo.
For its part, this new generation of BMW 1 Series, released in 2019, marks a real break with the previous ones: exit the propulsion architecture which made the particularity of this small Bavarian. From now on, place to profitability: it indeed 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 in its lines those of a compact minivan, so much its hood is short, its high height and its pronounced waistline. It thus sports a rather all-purpose look, despite this new front end equipped with imposing beans, as is now customary at BMW.
Practical aspects: two radically different worlds
Inside, the two rivals are opposed by their universe: in the Peugeot 308, we enter 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 placed in the high position with a small compact steering wheel, completed by a 10-inch touch screen placed in the center of the imposing dashboard: just below, this is accompanied by a second touch screen offering five customizable shortcuts. The materials are neat, even if we can note the presence of hard plastics 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 touch screen in the center of the dashboard, as well as an instrument cluster with a digital screen, but the whole thing will not disorient fans of the Bavarian firm. 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 will appreciate the presence of a real automatic transmission control lever on the BMW, easier to handle than the tiny push button on the Peugeot. The French, however, makes up for it with its small steering wheel, which is much more pleasant to handle than that of 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. Slight advantage to the Peugeot 308, which has a more comfortable rear bench seat and front seats labeled AGR (a German organization for back health) offering excellent support, while the BMW 1 Series suffers from harder seats, and above all a narrower central seat at the rear, 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 litres. On the 308, the boot is more generous with a capacity of 412 litres, rising to 1,323 liters once the bench seat is folded down. The BMW makes up for it with some small equipment that is not offered on the Peugeot, such as the 12 V socket in the trunk or the motorized tailgate (available as an option at €510).
Equipment: a good dose of technology
Our Peugeot 308 on 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, front and rear parking assistance, reversing camera, Matrix LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and speed limiter, and blind spot monitoring. Of course, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, keyless access and start, or even the induction charger for smartphones are standard, as are the 10-inch touchscreen multimedia system and the 10-inch 3D digital handset. .
Our Series 1 model is a rather upscale “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 air conditioning or still front and rear parking assistance. But to obtain certain standard equipment in the 308, you will have to put your hand in your pocket and check off many options offered in the catalog, such as the heated steering wheel (€210), dual-zone automatic air conditioning (€560), the hands-free access and starting (€560), Advanced Full LED headlights (€610), induction charger (€460) and active cruise control (€460). Very quickly, the addition becomes quite salty!
Budget: a better equipment/price ratio 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). Unsurprisingly, the Peugeot 308 with the 130 horsepower PureTech engine with EAT8 gearbox is more accessible, 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 of CO2/km, count respectively a penalty of 50 € for the Peugeot 308, and 260 € for the BMW Series 1. Despite a more expensive price positioning, the Series 1 also has with a higher expected rating than the 308, which makes up for it with better reliability and a cost of repairs which should be lower than its German rival.