The 106 line made its debut in 1991 but it wasn’t until the phase two models arrived in 1996 that a GTi-badged model arrived. Sure, there had been brisk 106s beforehand - the pre-facelift car enjoyed XSi and Rallye versions (and the latter remains one of our favourite classic hot hatches) - but the GTi was hottest of all.
Peugeot managed to squeeze a full 1.6 litres under the bonnet, the TU5J4 unit boasting a double overhead cam 16-valve head. This allowed for a peak power figure of 120bhp, and a stout 107lb ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission handled drive to the front wheels. Front suspension was by MacPherson struts linked by an anti-roll bar, while trailing arms, a torsion bar and another anti-roll bar suspended the back half of the car - all typical Peugeot hot hatch stuff. A kerb weight of 950kg is nothing special for a car as small as the 106, but it endowed the GTi with a respectable power-to-weight ratio - higher than that of the 1.8-litre turbocharged Volkswagen Golf Mk4 GTI. As such, it sprinted to 60mph in only 7.4 seconds and only narrowly avoided hitting 130mph.
Visually, 106 GTis were distinguished by new front and rear bumpers (with round fog lights at the front), a set of wheel arch extensions, and a set of pretty 14-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 185/55 rubber. Inside there was little to truly distinguish the GTi (Rallye models were more overt in their sporting intent), though the cloth seats of earlier cars made way for leather and Alcantara items in phase 2 cars, as well as white-faced instrument dials. The easiest way to distinguish one of these later models is the deletion of the plastic side rubbing strips.
The 106 is still a widely used car on track days due to it's low weight, rev happy engine and a lot of performance parts being available for the little lion.