Less is more, or so they say. It’s often better to be more subtle, more focused on an objective, more straightforward. This is most definitely the case when it comes to cars. Yes, it’s nice to have a machine laden with kit, but if you want true performance and crystal clear driver engagement, you need to trim the fat. That’s exactly what Peugeot did with its Rallye range of cars. They were simple and without thrills, no front fogs, no air con, no electric windows, no sun roof and even cloth trim that was designed to be lighter than the trim found in the GTi-6 version on which the Rallye was based. The result was a car that tipped the scales at a Slimming World-pleasing 1,215kg.
Of course, being lightweight means nothing if you’ve not got the right engine. Happily, the 306 Rallye did. It packed the same 167bhp, 142lb ft 2.0 16-valve engine as the GTi-6, along with, as the name hints, a six-speed manual transmission. This meant the Rallye could sprint to 60mph in a mere 7.8 seconds. Nippy today, but downright impressive for the late ‘90s. Add in a top speed of 135mph and you’ve got a true hot hatch on your hands.
You might already be sold on the Rallye, but we’re not done yet. You see, the Rallye really shines out on the road. It’s not about the performance figures, it’s about the drive, and the Rallye drives like nothing else. Everyone is keen to dote on the 205, but that was just the beginning for Peugeot’s ace-handling cars. The 306 Rallye takes things to another level, the chassis is compliant and well-behaved when you need it to be, but press on and it tightens up and leans into the task at hand with a pleasing eagerness. The steering is sharp and direct, with ample feedback sent through to your arms. The engine is never happier than when it’s at the top of the rev range, and as such eagerly encourages you to hold onto each gear for as long as possible.
The 306 Rallye is a car for the driver. For the person who cares not for impressing anyone but themselves. It’s a B-road warrior, a hot-hatch king, a no-frills, focused fun machine.
The car we’re looking at here is a 1999 model, meaning it’s a facelift car (the models range was refreshed in 1997). In black, it’s arguably the best colour for a Rallye, especially as the dark hue serves to highlight the Rallye graphics to those in the know. It’s also the rarest colour. The 306 Ralley was a limited run of 500, of which 200 were white, 200 were red and 100 were black.
The seller keenly states that he has all the paperwork for the car, including detailed service history. He has recently had the timing belt and water pump changed, there are two keys with the car and the car has been garaged, meaning it’s in tip-top condition. It also has a full MOT, though the very honest seller states there was an advisory on the brakes (we had a look, the discs and pads are just a little low), but he’s including a full set of discs and pads with the car.
It looks to be in astounding condition, and seems to have been cared for. At just £3995 this is a car that’s never going to lose its value, but more than that, it’s a car that you will never, ever get bored of driving. It’s worth the asking price for that alone!