Welcome, girls and boys, to the biggest automotive contradiction you’ll see today. This is an armoured Peugeot 205 GTI, and it makes sense on very few levels.
For starters, the GTI’s a car famed for its lithe kerbweight. As a 130bhp 1.9-litre, it weighs a mere 910kg, endowing it with a power-to-weight ratio still competitive among junior hot hatches today.
Yet adding some bulletproofing has added around 500kg to this one. A rise of over 50 per cent is enough for its power-to-weight figure to plummet down to the level of a basic Peugeot 108. There have been tweaks to the brakes and suspension to ensure the extra weight doesn’t unduly change what it’s like to drive, mind.
Which brings us to contradiction number two. The owner – Bernard Arnault, the boss of lots of French luxury firms – has commissioned lots of high-strength steels and thick glass to protect him from painful gunfire from those seeking to nab his wealth, but he’s applied it to a hot hatchback that’s notoriously good at finding rogue ditches and trees if you’re not on your A-game.
With the weight swelled by 50 per cent, the rear end’s propensity to snap might be heightened yet further depending on how the mass is distributed. The crash might hurt that little bit less with galvanised body parts, at least.
But to add to the contradictions, we’re not about to argue with Arnault’s logic. There’s a lot to like about a man who, rather than sit in the back of an armoured limo, has chosen to apply the same treatment to a bona fide driver’s car that he can tool about in himself.
“He wanted a car he could drive anonymously every day without a chauffeur,” reads the advert. Yes, it’s for sale.
“Mr Arnault used his lovely 205 GTI as a daily driver for some years before it was put into storage in his collection,” the ad continues. “It was recently serviced and works perfectly.”
It also has less than 10,000 miles on the clock, and at 37,500 euros – or about £32,000 – it’s in the same ballpark as a regular, unprotected 205 GTI would command with similar condition and mileage.
But wouldn’t you suddenly feel, y’know, vulnerable in one of those?