GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Peugeot 306 S16

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306_s16.jpg

SPEX

Year Represented: 1999
Class:Compact Car
3-door hatchback

Country: France ````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2

Price: $31,000

Construction: unit steel
Length: 158.5" // Width: 66.0" // Height; 54.33"
Wheelbase: 101.5"
Overhang: 4 feet 9 inches
Track: 57.6" [F] 56.5" [R]
Ground Clear: 5.9"
Weight: 2,557 lbs.
Wgt. Dist: 64/36

Tires: 195/55R-15v
F. Suspension:struts / coils / anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: trailing arm w/self-steering axle / anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented discs
Layout: Front Engine / Front Drive
 
Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline 4
Aspiration: normal

Tested HP:
171 @ 7,500 rpm
Torque:
````145 @ 5,500 rpm

Lbs. / HP: 14.95
Hp per LIter: 85.6
Credits / HP: $181.28

Fuel Syst: EFi
Bore x Stroke: 3.39 x 3.39"
Valves/ Cyl: 4
Compression: 10.8:1
Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 8,000

Transmission: 6-speed manual


0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
0-100mph: 21.3 seconds

Mile:
16.454 @ 89 mph
1 KM:
29.647 @ 115 mph

Test Track: 1:56.775

Top Speed at 7,500 rpm
1st: 43 mph
2nd: 68 mph
3rd: 88 mph
4th: 111 mph
5th: 133 mph
6th; 149 mph @ 7,100 rpm
 

  
 

EXTERIOR---------------------------------

$31,000 may seem like a lot to spend on a hatchback, so that most drivers exploring Gran Turismo 2 will probably pass this one by. There seems nothing exciting about the Peugeot 306 S16, nothing that says ‘sports’ or even ‘sporty’. No oversized wheel-wells, no spoiler lip off the roof, not even an air dam up front--yet this car does have its advantages.

The 306 is limited to only four shades of color, which is rather strange. Don't the French want a bit of variety when they drop 30 large on a car? Even the money-trap Clio 16v can be delivered in up to twelve different colors!

The 306 has a standard weight of 2,557 pounds, which can be taken down to 2,352 with full reductions in place. Buy the red, white, & blue racing kit, and now we're down to 2,279 pounds. Not bad, but cheaper and lighter Japanese cars are always available by the dozen from the used lot, which makes the 306 not a popular choice. Is there any merit here in GT2? Any at all?

The money spent to remove weight (which doesn't seem to remove enough) and lack of shades are my main bitches about this car... everything else from here on is generally good.


ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN--------------------

This car has a 2.0 DOHC inline-4 engine and front-wheel drive (yawn). It starts with 171 HP and 145 ft-lbs. of torque, which is a decent beginning, but not earth-shattering. 3 steps of tuning (no turbos) and the big 3 engine mods will take the power up to 314 hp with 226 ft-lbs., which in a Stage 3 / 2,352 pound car translates to 7.49 pounds per horse. Not bad. Things could be worse.

You'll notice that engine modifications, and several other after-market parts like sports tires, cost up to several thousand credits more than usual. Is this because parts for French cars are harder to find? I don't know about the game, but in America, this is surely the reason...since there are no Peugeots sold in the states nowadays. But it seems that in the game, perhaps PD wanted to account for the fact that European cars aren't as ready & easy to tweak up like many a Civic? I'm just guessing.

The engine is good, but the REAL advantage of buying a Peugeot 306 is its 6-speed transmission. In the '90s, 6-speeds were usually only found in high-performance sports cars like the NSX, Corvette, and Viper. It makes TOTAL SENSE to put one in a small-motored hatchback to increase its sporting versatility on and off tracks, yet only in recent years has this become popular. In fact, it's becoming a bit of a fad to have a 6-speed available; even the new Mini Cooper S has one.

There are plenty of advantages here. This is the equivalent to adding a stack of gears to a BMX bike. For one thing, there's always free range to exploit all the available power possible when driving a 306.

6th gear isn't needed much till we've got some engine mods; and once they're there, you'll find this extra gear helpful because this car will NEVER run out of steam down straightaways like many other small-engine/small cars equipped with 5-speeds. Full-modifyable gears are not needed for most racing. So, this transmission is what makes this otherwise mudane car rather unique. Not only will it be able to out-maneuver others thru those corners with good power-band flexibility, but the gearbox will ensure that the 306 will be able to roll faster and faster down the straights without an RPM limiter ruining the fun.

The unmodified car gets from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds, and hits a top speed of 149 mph down the test track. An interesting note here: I found a website with a VERY long name that tested a real 306 and got a zero to 60 time of 8.2, 400 meters in 16.5 (Gran Turismo test yielded 16.454) and 0-1000 meters in 29.9 (Gran Turismo = 29.647). The real car's top speed of 134 was the only major difference, mostly because in real life, one can't force a car's engine past the red-line much. Very good, PD.

Once you start tweaking the engine up, acceleration gets much improved. Stage 3 NA tuning is costly, but it's also worth it. If you're rich and want to see your Peugeot 306 S16 be all it can be.


CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------------

As can be predicted with a FWD, better tires are needed early to control understeer, preferably to sports, but skilled GT2 drivers can put this purchase off for awhile. The front-end is tricky, but not impossible. There are FWDs which are much, much worse. The back end also must be controlled--the 306 will oversteer lightly for the most part, but it can get sideways if one isn't careful. Since 64% of the weight is up front, the rear starts to lift once the Pug is steering into a corner, braking really hard.

But like I said, skilled drivers can get away with using stock tires for all beginner's races. The 306 features struts up front, and trailing arms with torsion bars and stabilizers in the rear. Real-life versions have done well with rally-racing, perhaps this has something to do with their pedestrian cousins being so well-behaved in our game.

Also in the car is a system known as a 'self-steering rear axle'. (**) On a convetional rear suspension system, the lateral forces experienced during cornering cause the rear wheels to steer slightly in the opposite direction to the front wheels, causing a destabilizing effect on the car. Conversely, the 306 has a rear axle design which acts to make the back wheels steer slightly in the same direction as the front wheels, which apparently helps the car stay stable under hard cornering.

**note, these were not my words...I lifted them off some website and now I can't find its name. It may even be defunct. Just don't accuse me of plagiarism!

Peugeot 306s have had some success against rival Volkswagen Golfs in rally races due to this design, and it doesn't hurt to have this feature working for us on paved surfaces, either.

PROS---------------------------------

1). 6-speed tranny comes standard!

2). Rally race-proven suspension helps this car out-handle many others even before tires and under-parts are upgraded.

3). Excellent brakes.

4). Here we have a wolf, er...actually a lion in sheep's clothing. :) This car can be made to do things one wouldn't expect, on and off-road.

5). 7,000 rpm redline.

6). Excellent cornering agility. Sports suspension makes the 306 extremely stable, too. For beginners, any understeer issues can simply be downplayed with a good set of soft tires.

7). Race-kit available.

8). The 306 S16 is one of those automobiles which only appears in GT2. You won't find it in any later Gran Turismos.


CONS---------------------------------

1). Limited availability of colors is lame when one's spending $31,000+ on a passenger car.

2). Nothing shocking about the 306's appearance. It just looks rather average. Perhaps this is PD's limited rendering, though, with inferior PS1 graphics. Many who know little about European cars will just buy a Civic anyways.

3). Back-end sway can cause the car to get sideways if you're not prepared.

4). Power never gets very high, even after spending up to $100,000 in engine mods, although this car does have good acceleration for a FWD.

5). Understeer. Yeah, you can get rid of it, but it's still CON #5. :)
 
6). Lots of racy front-drive models weigh-in lighter than the 306 S16 by several hundred pounds, even when they're stock.  
 

Originally Published: June 2, 2004

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