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The History Of Peugeot 205

1995 Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

Peugeot 205

The Peugeot 205 is a supermini produced by the French car manufacturer Peugeot between 1983 and 1997. It was declared 'Car of the Decade' by CAR magazine in 1990.

The chic Pininfarina styled 205 is widely regarded as a modern classic. It's often thought that the 205 is a Pininfarina design, however Gerard Welter claims it as an in-house design, Pininfarina only styled the CTi model. It is often credited as the car which turned Peugeot's fortunes around. Before the 205, Peugeot was considered the most conservative of France's "big three" car manufacturers, producing large saloons such as the 504 and 505. The genesis of the 205 lay within Peugeot's takeover in 1978 of Simca, which had the necessary expertise in making small cars. Early 205s used the "Douvrin" engine from the older Peugeot 104, although these were later replaced with the newer XU and TU-series engines, which were of PSA design. Engines ranged from 954cc to 1905cc engine displacement, in carburetor or fuel injected petrol and diesel versions. Its use of the now standard PSA Peugeot Citroën suspension layout of Macpherson struts at the front, with torsion bar suspension rear suspension, that debuted in the Peugeot 305 estate, was a key ingredient of the success of the 205. This is fully independent using torsion bars (Torsion spring) and trailing arms. It is very compact and was designed to minimise suspension intrusion into the boot, giving a wide flat loadspace, while providing excellent ride and handling.

The diesel models employed the XUD7 PSA Diesel engine, lifted from the Citroën BX which was introduced in 1982. These XUD7 engines has a capacity of 1769cc and 1905cc and they're closely related to the XU5 and XU9 petrol engines in the BX16 and BX19 of the time respectively, as well as the engines later used in the 205 GTI 1.6 and Automatic (also 1.6) and GTI 1.9 respectively (other Peugeot/Citroën [PSA] products, such as the 305 and Talbot Horizon as well as the BX, used the XUD9 Diesel engine of 1905cc — the same capacity as the 205 GTI 1.9 and Citroën BX 19 petrol engined models). The XUD7 (and XUD9) Diesel Engines were world-beating and so petrol-like that many buyers were won over by the petrol car performance combined with the diesel economy. The 205 GRD (1.8 Diesel, 59bhp (44kW), 78lb·ft (105.8N·m)), for instance, was as fast yet smoother than the 205 GR (1.4 Petrol, 59bhp (44kW), 78lb·ft (105.8N·m)), due to the engine developing peak torque at much lower rpm, while using much less fuel.

In early 1994, the 205 DTurbo was announced, with the 205 XS three-door bodywork, wheels, interior and more instruments with a 16 valves turbocharged intercooled XUD7 engine (it seemed that the DTurbo models in PSA models used the XUD7 engine and not the XUD9!). Road tests were very positive! There was though a significant increase in fuel consumption over the normally aspirated diesel. The introduction of the XUD9 intercooled turbo diesel by PSA in the Citroen ZX and Peugeot 405 took diesel performance and refinement to another level. The ZX Volcane intercooled turbo diesel is reckoned by many to be the first true diesel 'hot hatch'. (From such roots eventually grew the 306 DTurbo as a specific 'sporty model'). This model is generally found sporting the "Accent" or "Forever" brandings. After the 205 GTI 1FM, the 205 DTurbo is the 2nd most rare model of the Peugeot 205. Only 400 were made. The production of the 205 DTurbo stopped in 1995, the last ones registered in May 1995.

The 205 was an instant hit, and the styling parameters that it set were echoed in every Peugeot model that was to follow. Incredibly, the styling was so right from the start, that it was never face lifted or significantly altered in its 15-year production run. There was a dashboard redesign for the 1988 model year, and in late 1990 the 205 received new door design and cards, clear front indicators, new 'smoked' rear light clusters, single point petrol injection and catalytic converters introduced, to meet the new 1992 pollution limits.

The Peugeot 205 was discontinued in the UK in 1996, 205s have been known to be registered as late as August 1996 putting them on a "P" plate, late 205 models are easily found registered in 1995 which puts them on an "N" plate both models are generally found sporting the "Style" or "Forever" brandings with decals on the doors and wings with a "205" decal on both doors. It is believed that the 1996 model 205s are most commonly found in two colours consisting of either Red or a Metallic Blue/Grey, the metallic colour more seldomly seen than the Red - but both cars on a "P" plate are quite rare. The single biggest visual difference between very late 205s (1993 on) and earlier ones, is the deletion of the black louvred plastic panel between the rear lights on the tailgate. It is just painted body colour.

In Continental Europe, 205 production was gradually slowed down following the introduction of the joint replacement models, the 106, and 306, and eventually stopped in 1997, but amid pressure from the market, the company finally built a direct replacement in the 206, which was launched in 1998. Over 5,278,000 Peugeot 205s have been produced, and a large percentage of them are still in circulation as of 2008.

The 205 was first available as a GTI in 1984 and was initially powered by a 1.6 petrol engine. The 1.9 GTI was launched in 1986 and the 1.9 engine was also used in the GTI version of the larger 309.


The 205 had a rather unusual trim level scheme for its models; three-door models (apart from the GTI) were badged 'X' and five-door models were badged 'G'.

Trim levels were:

  • XE, available with:
  • 1.0 petrol, 4-cylinder - 44bhp (33kW; 45PS) , 954cc
  • 1.1 petrol, 4-cylinder - 50bhp (37kW; 51PS)

Five-door versions were badged GE

  • XL, available with:
  • 1.0 petrol, 4-cylinder - 44bhp (33kW; 45PS) , 954cc
  • 1.1 petrol, 4-cylinder - 50bhp (37kW; 51PS)
  • 1.1 petrol, 4-cylinder - 55bhp (41kW; 56PS) , 1124cc (in Spain, Talbot engine)
  • 1.8 diesel 4-cylinder - 60bhp (45kW; 61PS)
  • 1.6 petrol, 4-cylinder - 90bhp (67kW; 91PS) Automatic

Five-door versions were badged GL (Note: The 1.0 GL was not offered in the UK). The 1.8 GLD diesel model was popular, and What Car? magazine recommended it as a Used Car Buy in August 1992. It was also a Which? magazine best buy for five years running in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was, (and is as a used buy), a better car than the 106 diesel that replaced it.

  • XR, available with:
  • 1.1 petrol, 4-cylinder - 50bhp (37kW; 51PS)
  • 1.4 petrol, 4-cylinder - 59bhp (44kW; 60PS) , 1360cc
  • 1.3 petrol, 4-cylinder - 65bhp (48kW; 66PS) , 1294cc (In Spain, Talbot engine)
  • 1.6 petrol
  • 1.8 diesel - 60bhp (45kW; 61PS)

Five-door versions were badged GR. The 1.4 GR was a five-door version only, launched in 1986. A 1.4 XR three-door was also available, 1991-92.

  • 1.2 petrol, 4-cylinder - 63bhp (47kW; 64PS) , 1204cc (In Spain, Talbot engine)
  • XT, available with:
  • 1.4 petrol I4 - 80bhp (60kW; 81PS)
  • 1.4 petrol, 4-cylinder - 85 bhp, 1360cc (In Spain, Talbot engine)

The five-door version was badged GT but this was not a true hot hatch.

  • 1.4 petrol, 4-cylinder - 83bhp (62kW; 84PS) , 1442cc (In Spain, Talbot engine)
  • 1.4 petrol, 4-cylinder - 85bhp (63kW; 86PS) , 1360cc (In Spain)
  • XS, available with:
  • 1.3 petrol, 4-cylinder - 65bhp (48kW; 66PS) , 1294cc (In Spain, Talbot engine)
  • 1.4 L petrol I4 - 85 bhp 1360 cc TU3S engine.
  • 1.6 L (1580 cc) petrol
  • GTX, only available in Spain with:
  • 1.6 petrol, 4-cylinder - 94bhp (70kW; 95PS) , 1592cc (Talbot engine)
  • GTX (UK Version), 1993-94.
  • 1360 cc TU3M/Z PSA engine with Bosch Mono-jetronic injection system with Catalytic converter.
  • Power output (75bhp) 0-62 mph in 10.6 sec.
  • Fuel consumption (MPG) constant speed driving: 56mph (90km/h) = 50.4mpg-imp (5.60L/100km; 42.0mpg-US) & 75mph (121km/h) = 38.2mpg-imp (7.39L/100km; 31.8mpg-US).
  • 3 and 5 door versions were available with sliding sunroof, remote central locking, 5 speed MA gearbox.

From 1994, the X/G trim scheme was replaced by Mardi Gras, Colorline, Forever and Accent. 'GT' versions were now offered only in Continental Europe with a 1.6-litre engine; the UK models were badged Mardi Gras. However, GTI versions continued unchanged.

205 GTI

The GTI version came in 1.6-litre and 1.9-litre, in-line four cylinder configurations, and is considered to be among the most popular hot hatches of the era. Compared to modern cars they can be tricky to handle, due to their tendency towards rather sudden lift-off oversteer during hard cornering, and a complete absence of electronic driver aids. However once mastered, or in the hands of a skilled driver, these cars are still known to offer a very rewarding driving experience. The 205 GTI was certainly one of the first front wheel drive cars said by many motoring experts to be as rewarding to drive hard as an equivalent rear-wheel drive car.

The 1.6 GTI came with a XU5J engine, producing 105bhp DIN (77kW), for the 1987 model year the XU5J received the cylinder head with larger valves from the 1.9 GTI's XU9JA engine thus becoming XU5JA. The new engine was quoted for 115bhp (86kW; 117PS) . The 1.9 GTI came with an XU9JA engine producing 128PS (94kW; 126hp) , although later models with a catalytic converter produced 122PS (90kW; 120hp) . Internally these engines are very similar, the main differences on 1.9-litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6-litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9-litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTI and the 1.9 GTI are half-leather seats (1.9 GTI) vs. cloth seats (1.6 GTI); and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTI) vs. discs at the front and drum brakes at the back (1.6 GTI); as well as the 14 inch alloy wheels (1.6 GTI) vs. 15inch alloys (1.9 GTI).

The 205 is still mentioned to this day in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306. A cabriolet version of the 205, known as the CJ (or CT in France), was designed and partially assembled by Pininfarina of Italy. A CTi version, with the same plastic arches and wheels as the 1.6 GTI was also available. Some later models incorporated the catalysed 1.9 engine.

The main aesthetic difference between the GTI/CTi versions and other 205 models were the plastic wheel arches and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels on the GTI and CTi), and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked arb.

With the early success of the 205 GTI in Europe, Motor Trend reported in 1984 that Peugeot was seriously considering adding it to its US lineup, even though Peugeot had a more upmarket image in the United States. Nothing ever came of such rumours, however, and any talk of Peugeot expanding its presence in US became moot when it was forced to pull out in 1991.

Sales of the GTI in the early 1990s were badly hit by soaring insurance premiums, brought about by high theft and 'joyriding' of cars of this sort. Increasingly stringent emissions regulations meant the 1.6GTI went out of production in 1992, while the 1.9 was sold for a couple more years thanks to re-engineering of the engine to enable it to work properly with a catalytic converter.

A common modification for fast road/track use is to transplant a '16V' Peugeot/Citroen engine and ECU (XU9J4 Type D6C / XU9J4Z Type DFW), as used in Citroen BX 19 GTI 16V and the Peugeot 405 Mi16. This is a development of the 205 T16 engine, the XU8T, the essential difference compared to the car's original XU 8-valve engine is the 16-valve double overhead camshaft cylinder head. The engine will fit into the small Peugeot's engine bay with modifications (the provision of necessary clearance between the exhaust manifold / firewall and intake manifold / radiator), the method of installation varies depending on how professionally it is installed. Weight gains are negligible, and the rise of between 30 to 60 horsepower (depending on the original engine being replaced vs. the engine being transplanted) is startling in so light a car. Less common and also less reliable is the practice of turbocharging or even supercharging the standard XU 8-valve unit. Over 200bhp (149kW; 203PS) has been achieved from a standard engine with the correct fuelling using this method. More may be available, although the usual turbo problems of high exhaust temperatures, detonation and turbine lag will inevitably creep in.

Special 205 GTI editions

Peugeot produced some limited edition 205 GTI models over the car's life.

In 1990, 1200 GTIs were made in the then new colours of Miami blue (see photo above) and Sorrento Green (a very dark metallic green). The cars were made in an equal mix of 300 blue 1.6, 300 green 1.6, 300 blue 1.9 and 300 green 1.9. The cars had power steering and full grey leather interior as standard, together with grey carpets. These paint colours were then added to the list of available colours for ordinary models.

The Gentry was a limited edition with all-leather interior, 105bhp (78kW; 106PS) 1.9 engine, automatic transmission and some other extras. Gentries came in the color Sorrento Green and Aztec Gold (sometimes called Beige Mayfair).

The Griffe was a special GTI edition for mainland Europe, and was sold in France, Germany and the Netherlands. It was bright green ('Laser' Green or 'Vert Fluorite'), and came equipped with all available vendor options at that time except air-conditioning, but including full black leather interior, ABS, powersteering and sunroof. Approximately 3,000 Griffes were made, all in laser green and with dark grey anodised alloy wheels with a silver rim.

The 1FM was produced only in the UK in 1992 to coincide with the 25th birthday of BBC Radio 1. Only 25 were made and each car was individually numbered with a small brass plate. Every one was black and had dark grey anodised alloy wheels with a silver rim. The car had every extra as standard including ABS, air conditioning, catalytic converter, full black leather interior, power steering and remote central locking. A special stereo system including a CD changer and an acoustic rear shelf was designed by Clarion especially for this car. The car had unique 'Radio 1' badging, and Radio 1 ran a competition on air to win one.

205 Rallye

From 1988 to 1992 Peugeot produced another variant of the 205, the 205 Rallye, which was engineered and produced by Peugeot-Talbot sport. This edition of the 205 was positioned as a cost effective alternative to the 205 GTI, retaining its sporty character, but being less expensive to buy or maintain.

To achieve this, Peugeot used a derivative of the TU-series engine used in the post-1987 205s, which was designated TU24. The engine is essentially the same engine as was in the 1.1-litre 205 with the cylinders bored out to a total engine displacement of 1294cc, a sports camshaft and twin Weber carburetors. While only a 1.3-litre engine, it still produced 103PS (76kW; 102hp) at no less than 6800rpm. The car got the 1.9 GTI front suspension with ventilated brake discs, and the 1.6 GTI rear axle with drum brakes.

The 205 Rallye was completely stripped of almost all soundproofing, electrical systems or other luxury items, bringing down the weight to no more than 794kg (1750lb). Its minimalistic equipment, together with the high revs needed to unleash all of the engine's horsepower gives the 205 Rallye a very spartan character and makes it a difficult but rewarding car to drive hard, which is one of the reasons it is now very popular among 205 GTI enthusiasts. Around 30,000 Rallyes were produced, and they were only sold in some countries on the European mainland (at least in France, Belgium, Spain and The Netherlands). This, together with the fact that a lot of these cars have been wrecked because it is a difficult (and for some drivers even dangerous) car to drive makes the 205 Rallye a very rare car nowadays. It is almost impossible to buy one in good shape anymore because Rallye owners now tend to hold on to their cars, knowing it will be a classic in the not-too-distant future.

The distinctive aesthetic features of the 205 Rallye include the squarer wheel arches (which are different from GTI arches), the steel body-coloured wheelrims and the rainbow-coloured Peugeot-Talbot sport decals on the front grille and the tailgate. They were only available in white and yellow. The Rallye was sold with a reduced-weight interior with the Peugeot-Talbot sport logo embroidered in the front chairs.

From 1990 to 1992 Peugeot also built a 1.9-litre version of the 205 Rallye. Only about 1000 of them were produced and they were only sold in Germany, because the 1.3 version did not meet German road regulations. The 1.9 Rallye is just a 105bhp (78kW) 1.9 GTI with the Rallye bodyshell and the new-style clear indicators and rear light units. Although they are even rarer than the 1.3 Rallye, they are less popular among Peugeot enthusiasts, because they lack the raw and spartan character of the 1.3 Rallye and are 150kg (331lb) heavier.

After the 205 Rallye, Peugeot again used the 'Rallye' designation for some of its 106 and 306 models. Peugeot also released a Rallye version of the 205 in Britain, and used a 75bhp (56kW; 76PS) TU3.2 engine.

205 T16

To homologate the 205 T16 ("Turbo 16" in France) Group B rally car, Peugeot had to produce 200 road-going examples. A photograph showing the 200 cars was famously rumoured to be a fake. The road variants shared the transverse mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout of the rally car, but had much less power, at around 200PS (147kW; 197hp) . The T was for Turbo; the 16 stands for 16 valves, an uncommon feature at that time for turbocharged engines. Outwardly similar to a normal 205, the T16 had wider wheel arches, and the whole rear section lifted up to give access to the engine. Underneath, the complex drivetrain from the rally car was kept to abide by the Group B rules. All 200 built were left-hand drive, so few reached the United Kingdom.

Peugeot Talbot Sport's factory 205 T16s under Jean Todt were the most successful cars to compete in the last two years of the World Rally Championship's Group B era, winning the 1985 and 1986 Constructors' and Drivers' titles with Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen respectively against such notable competition from Audi, Lancia and Ford, with an Evolution 2 model being introduced for the latter of those two seasons.

Peak year for GTI derivatives was 1988, taking over 20% of 205 UK sales. During 1991, the 205 range accounted for 3.08% of all UK registrations, and was the nation's eighth best selling new car.

In 1994 the last 205 GTI rolled off production lines and only 8 were made.

Totals are the following for the limited editions that were available in the UK:

  • 1990 - 300 Miami Blue 'Limited Edition' (150 1.6; 150 1.9)
  • 1990 - 300 Sorrento Green 'Limited Edition' (150 1.6; 150 1.9)
  • 1992/3 - 408 '205 Gentry models'
  • 1992/3 - 25 'Radio 1FM' models
  • 1990/1 - 150 Roland Garros cabriolets and 350 Roland Garros hard tops, with a 1.4 "xs" engine with 85bhp (63kW; 86PS) , alloy wheels, half-white leather seats, electric windows, central locking, cabriolet hard electric roofs.
  • 1993/5 - 100 '205 DTurbo' models

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