Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 (Group B)

Published on: Jan 19, 2016 @ 18:16
Originally Published in: 2014 (old website)
(C) Jay Auger - website owner & author
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Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Peugeot brand wanted to shift their primary market to small, affordable sporty cars, so they thought that joining the ever more popular international rally scene would give them the publicity needed to promote the new models. One such model, the 205, was in final development and could use a much needed publicity boost from the new Group B racing category.



Peugeot 205 in GTi trim

To develop the Group B rally car out of the normal road-going 205, Peugeot first turned to the newly acquired Talbot brand (which was formed out of the defunct Chrysler Europe companies) since it already had extensive experience in rallying and had won the 1981 WRC manufacturer title with their Sunbeam Lotus, a similar small “hot hatch”. However, it felt important to Peugeot’s then Chairman, Jean Boillot, that this very important motorsport project should be headed by a fellow Frenchman. He appointed Jean Todt: a man with extensive experience as a rally co-driver and with a natural knack for management. Peugeot Talbot Sport (PTS) was formed under Todt’s leadership.

Initially coded “M24-Rally” project, the design of the rally car originally started in late 1981 at Talbot’s HQ in Coventry England under team boss Des O’Dell. However, the complexity and scale of the project would soon see it move to France. From their Coventry home, O’Dell and his team would nonetheless provide crucial input as to how a proper rally car should be developed, especially by keeping ease of service at the forefront.

Back in France, Jean Todt took charge of a team of twenty engineers led by Bernard Perron, André de Cortanze (chassis) and Jean-Pierre Boudy (engine). The design and build of what later came to be known as the 205 Turbo 16 came together very quickly.

Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 mock-up and Prototype

Budget for developing the Group B car was almost without limit. In fact, the only real constraint that the engineers had was to fit a high performance four-wheel drive package into the diminutive 205 bodywork. The normal production 205 was a front-wheel drive car but it was decided that, as opposed to the Audi quattro, the 205 Turbo 16 would be mid-engined for better weight distribution, traction and would be designed with a fully purpose-built chassis. However, for marketing purposes, it was paramount to keep most of the 205’s exterior body lines and features as intact as possible. Hence, the 205 Turbo 16 officially became a silhouette car.

205 T16 technical view

The engineers chose to build the motor around Peugeot’s new “XU” line of stout diesel engines but with a much modified DOHC 16 valve head to run gasoline. Since the engine was to be turbocharged, a displacement of 1775 cc was chosen due to the Group B forced induction x1.4 multiplier. The final adjusted figure would settle at 2485 cc thus maximising the 2000~2500 cc engine class which permitted a weight for the car as low as 890 kg (1,960 lb).

Originally, the engineers intended to mount the engine longitudinally and facing forward but there was obvious lack of space. Furthermore, such a layout would have made it nearly impossible to quickly service the belts and pulleys. So, in March of 1982, by strong suggestion of Des O’Dell they had settled on a transverse setup.

XUT8 engine fitted

The engine also incorporated the “DPV” (Dispositif Pre-rotation Variable) anti-lag system first seen on Renault’s turbocharged Formula One engines thanks to its creator, Jean-Pierre Boudy, joining the PTS team early on. The system uses a variable size hole to allow air into the turbocharger’s inlet side nearly at all times to help keep the turbine spinning off-acceleration and reduce lag. However the system was yet very basic in design and most drivers preferred a healthy dose of “LFB” (Left Foot Braking) to keep the boost levels up.

To keep a low centre of gravity it was decided to use a gearbox that was bolted behind the engine rather than below it (as in the usual transverse engine / transaxle setup). This would also help counter-balance the weight of the engine which was fitted behind the passenger seat on the right side of the car. It had also transpired that the entire transmission layout would revolve around the availability of a 5-speed, two-shaft and indirect gearbox. Luckily, such a transmission was available in the PSA parts bin: the Citroën SM – a proven and sturdy unit. It would save the engineers much time by not having to devise an entirely new transmission albeit they had to much modify its inner workings.

205 T16 – Engine & Drivetrain layout

On February 23rd 1983, just about 14 months after the project debut, Peugeot had a working car: it ran for the first time at the Mortefontaine test facility. It was hoped that the 200 homologation road cars would be built by the end of that year so that the team could compete at the January 1984 Monte Carlo Rally. However, the only running prototype had only just begun testing, and the car shown to the press was merely the second prototype – a rolling shell without an engine and drivetrain. Hence, building 200 highly-specialised cars with factory-level quality in just about 8 months seemed frivolous at best.

205 T16 – rear subframe & chassis

To make the process as fast and easy as possible, Peugeot elected to make all of the road cars to the same specifications; dark charcoal grey in colour and left-hand drive in layout. The French body specialist, Heuliez, produced all the structures using as their base standard 205 shells which were then considerably modified. The cars were then shipped to the special factory at Poissy for final assembly. The Boulogne assembly-line would build the basic 20 evolution cars from which the works fleet of rally cars would evolve back at Peugeot Talbot Sport’s HQ.

205 T16 Evolution – technical drawing

Despite best efforts, the original deadline of January 1st 1984 would not be met. However, this gave PTS time to enter one car as a prototype in the Milles Pistes Rally where it finished second behind a much under-powered four-wheel drive Citroën Visa prototype. However, the 205 T16 used was a road-going model with prototype “Clubman” (PTS kit) specifications – far less sophisticated than the upcoming works evolution rally car. Jean Todt thought that the result was yet a satisfactory one.

A note from the test driver was that the car seemed to lack aerodynamic downforce and seemed to fly in an unpredictable manner over jumps. The problem was narrowed down to the transverse and offset position of the engine which gave the rear of the car a tendency to roll on its centre of gravity after cresting on a jump. It was an issue that unfortunately could not be fixed so late in the development process.

Peugeot 205 T16 Evolution & normal production 205 GTi

Contrary to other silhouette Group B cars, Peugeot Talbot Sport was able to design a masterpiece of engineering that still looked very similar to the normal production model.

In March of 1984, when the time came for the 205 T16 to be homologated, Peugeot decided to line up every single one of the cars built on a massive expanse of tarmac so that the FISA/FIA inspectors could see for themselves that all the cars truly existed, that no cheating had taken place, and there had been no double-counting of cars to make up the numbers. Homologation was duly granted on April 1st, by which time PTS had already made plans for the car to make its World Rally Championship debut in Corsica on the 3rd of May.

1983 – Peugeot Talbot Sport – project completion

The 205 Turbo 16 works evolution rally car combined small size, light weight and a 350 BHP mid-engine four-wheel drive layout which proved to be an immediate recipe for success – setting fastest stage times at its very first rally. The car became utterly unbeatable at the end of the 1984 WRC season and into early 1985 with a string of six straight stage-rally victories in the capable hands of Ari Vatanen and Timo Salonen. The little Peugeot had forced arch-rival Audi to completely revise their Sport quattro to hopefully remain competitive.


Peugeot did not rest on their success as in 1985 they took advantage of the evolution (ET) rules and created an updated “E2” version of their rally weapon; boasting more aerodynamics aids to fix the prior known ill-jumping issue, slight revisions were made to the powerplant such as a new Garrett turbocharger, and a switch to a more efficient air-to-water intercooler – effectively boosting power up to an incredible 550 BHP.

However, the rally engineers mostly kept the engines below 500 horses for better reliability. The DPV anti-lag system was now integrated electronically to help tame the extra turbocharger lag of the new output. In the latter part of 1986, shorter ratio six-speed transmissions were also used instead of the standard five-speed units – further helping in controlling turbo lag.

205 T16 Evolution 2

The rear stamped steel section was replaced with tubing hence greatly improving access to key mechanical components. At the same time the decision was made to integrate the roll cage into the cabin’s chassis which saw overall stiffness increase by approximately 30%.

A system to control the damping temperature of the shock absorbers either via the engine coolant or a colder water tank also became available for specific events whereas the suspension would either be too cold or overheat, respectively. A sensor was placed at the right rear’s suspension, which was the most problematic out of the four corners, to which the co-driver monitored temperature via a dashboard readout and could activate a foot switch-controlled electric water pump and alleviate the issue.


The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E1/E2 turned out to be the most successful Group B rally car in the World Rally Championship with sixteen outright rally wins and two manufacturer and driver championships, even surpassing the legendary Audi quattro (thirteen wins / one manufacturer championship) which ran for one and a half seasons longer.

Peugeot expected the car to remain competitive until 1988 when the Group S regulations were scheduled to take over. However, it would not get the chance to shine further in the WRC since the FISA cancelled Group B for the end of 1986. A decision that much angered Todt and Peugeot since they had the best Group B rally car and no immediate Group A replacement.


In 1985, the FISA (former ruling committee of the FIA) announced a possible replacement class to Group B that was referred to as “Group S”. The new regulations would require only 10 cars for homologation and was essentially a “prototype” class for rallying. The class was originally scheduled to make its debut on January 1st 1988, then as a heavily revised replacement to Group B for 1987, but both were ultimately cancelled. To learn much more about the history of Group S, please CLICK HERE!

For the proposed 1987 Group S replacement formula, Peugeot actually wanted to perform what can be considered as a third evolution (E3) of the 205 Turbo 16. The main improvement planned for the car was in the drivetrain system, which was also marketed to the FISA as a safety measure. Unfortunately, Group S would suffer the same fate as Group B. The improvements would however carry on in the “Grand Raid” and hill climb specifications of the post-ban evolutions of the 205 T16 (see next section below). More information about the “E3 / Group S” car can also be found if you CLICK HERE!


1987 Pikes Peak version

After the official cancellation of Group B and S, Peugeot modified three 205 Turbo 16s for the 1987 Pikes Peak event, but eventually lost out to Audi. More information about these special cars can be found if you CLICK HERE. One of these hill climb cars was subsequently sent to compete in the French Rallycross Championship. The other two were transformed into 405 Turbo 16s.

1987 Paris-Dakar version

Peugeot also modified a few 205 T16s in “Grand Raid” form which saw much action in long distance endurance events such as the Paris-Dakar from 1987 through 1990. More information about this very successful version can be found if you CLICK HERE. These cars would serve as the base for the equally incredible 405 Turbo 16, which won two consecutive Pikes Peak events in 1988 & 1989, and also gave Peugeot subsequent victories at Paris-Dakar.

1991 Citroën ZX

The 205/405’s “T16” engineering was also the basis for the Citroën ZX endurance rally raid vehicle that competed very successfully at Paris-Dakar from 1991 to 1997. This means that the 205 Turbo 16 was a design that came to be competitive for over a decade; an achievement that is seldom seen in motorsport – a testament to Peugeot Talbot Sport’s engineering prowess and Group B’s lasting influence.


Group/Class B/12 Homologation number: B-262 (click on # for papers)
Years active / Production
  • E1: 1984~1985 (20 units)
  • E2: 1985~1986 (20 units)
Homologation start:

  • E1: April 1st 1984
  • E2: May 1st 1985

Homologation end:

  • December 31st 1990
Type XU8T, I-4, DOHC 16v, gas located middle transverse
Displacement 1775 cc WRC x 1.4 = 2485 cc
Compression ratio 7.0:1
Output power – torque
  • E1: 340~350 HP @ 8000 rpm
  • E2: 460~550 HP @ 7600 rpm
  • E1: 332 lb~ft (450 Nm) @ 5000 rpm
  • E2: 361 lb-ft (490 Nm) @ 5500 rpm
Materials block: aluminium alloy cylinder head: aluminium alloy
Aspiration E1:

  • KKK K26 twin scroll turbocharger
  • air/air intercooler
  • Bosch K-jetronic multipoint mechanical fuel injection


  • Garret T31 turbocharger
  • water/air intercooler
  • Bosch K-jetronic multipoint mechanical fuel injection

  • E1: 20~22 psi (1.4~1.5 bar)
  • E2: 38~43 psi (2.6~3.0 bar)
Ignition electronic, firing order 1-3-4-2
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system dry sump
Type four-wheel drive
  • 5-speed gearbox
  • 1986: optional 6-speed gearbox
Gearbox ratios 1st: 2.923
2nd: 1.944
3rd: 1.407
4th: 1.129
5th: 0.969
R: 3.154
1st: 2.533
2nd: 1.789
3rd: 1.357
4th: 1.129
5th: 0.961
R: 3.154
Differential ratio front/rear 3.888/1 (35/9), center 1.130/1 (26/23) or 1.380/1 (29/21) or 1.217/1 (28/23) spiral bevel gears centre epicyclic differential with Ferguson viscous coupling, hypoid spiral bevel gears limited slip 25% front and 75% rear ZF differentials
Clutch ventilated double plate
Chassis / body
  • E1: steel monocoque 20C central frame enforced with tubular roll cage and one steel subframe for front engine bay & suspension and one steel subframe for rear suspension. 2 door hatchback steel bodyshell with polyester bonnets. Clamshells at front and rear made of polyester, and polyurethane bumpers.
  • E2: The rear stamped steel subframe was replaced with a tube chassis. Roll cage integration into the chassis. Front canard-type spoilers and larger rear wing to increase downforce were added.
Front suspension
  • double wishbones with coil spring, bilstein shock absorbers and antiroll bar
  • E2: damping temperature control available (activated by the co-driver)
Rear suspension
  • double wishbones with coil spring, bilstein shock absorbers and antiroll bar
  • E2: damping temperature control available (activated by the co-driver)
Steering system
  • E1: rack and pinion
  • E2: hydraulic power assistance added
2.5 turns lock to lock
  • Front: ventilated disks 273mm diameter with 1 cast iron/aluminium piston caliper, or 278/300mm diameter with 4 aluminium piston calipers.
  • Rear: ventilated disks 273mm diameter with 1 cast iron/aluminium piston caliper, or 278/300mm diameter with 4 aluminium piston calipers.
  • 1985+: front and rear 2 x aluminium/magnesium 4 piston calipers per disk (8 pistons total)
dual circuit with servo, adjustable ratio split front to rear
length: 3825 mm (150.6 in) width:

  • E1: 1674 mm (65.9 in)
  • E2: 1770 mm (69.7 in)
height: 1330 mm (52.4 in)
wheelbase: 2540 mm (100.0 in) front track: 1430 mm (56.3 in) rear track: 1430 mm (56.3 in)
Rims – tires 15″ Michelin TRX, front 20.69×390, rear 23.59×390
Dry/Unladen Weight
  • E1: 940~980 kg (2,075~2,160 lb)
  • E2: 910~1000 kg (2,000~2,200 lb)
 bias: F45/R55%
  • E1: 2.8 kg/HP (6.2 lb/HP)
  • E2: 2.0 kg/HP (4.4 lb/HP)
Fuel tank 2 x 54 = 108 lt, or 1 x 54 lt + 1 x 25 lt = 79 lt


Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 – Serie 200

Produced at the 200 required units, the homologation 205 Turbo 16 only came in the dark grey colour, except the very first one which was painted white with racing decals for promotional purposes.

The 205 T16 was four times more expensive than the top of the line 205 GTi model, but as opposed to many other Group B homologation models the car had a quality level interior and all of the usual road car amenities.

Yet, it was noisy, suffering from atrocious turbo lag in traffic, and its tame 197 BHP engine somewhat disappointed most of its audience when put in comparison with its rally cars siblings.

The Peugeot 205 T16 has since become one of the most coveted Group B homologation cars and can fetch a high premium at auctions.


From 1984 through 1986, Peugeot Talbot Sport (PTS) offered to 205 Turbo 16 serie 200 owners a complete “clubman” performance package priced at approximately 180,000 French Francs (almost doubling the price of the car), to turn their tame road cars into a more capable and “ready to race” rally vehicle. The “PTS kit”, as it most commonly known, was developed under the supervision of seasoned rally veteran and Peugeot test driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas.

The PTS package included most of the engine modifications of the E1 works rally cars; dry-sump system with oil cooler, higher duration cams, reinforced pistons, stouter sleeves, 30 degree intake valves, 50 degree exhaust valves, Champion BN 60 spark plugs, a 0.85 bar boost system upgrade (from 0.70), and a new exhaust system. These would effectively raise the power output to 300 BHP @ 6,500 RPMs. It is note to mention that the fuel injection system and intercooler remained unchanged. The DPV anti-lag system of the evolution version was not part of the kit.

The package required minor machining of some existing parts plus slight alterations to the intake manifold to install extra fittings. The cooling system was upgraded by the addition of a second radiator fan (a 25-amp circuit fuse replacing the former 10-amp). The full kit also included the shorter gearing transmission of the rally cars including a limited-slip centre differential via a Ferguson Formula (FFD) viscous coupling.

The structure of the car was also improved by seam welding and further reinforcement of the chassis made possible by use of box sections and gussets. The suspension was also more substantial with multiple pickup points for gravel and tarmac now available. The upgraded brakes featured 298 mm discs with four piston calipers. A basic aluminium roll bar / roll cage and seat harnesses could also be fitted.

Weight was also shed from the normal version by use of lighter composite panels. Overall, the PTS kit was said to reduce the weight of the car by 110 kg (240 lb).

A few lucky dozen (rumoured less than thirty) Peugeot 205 Turbo 16s are reported to have received the PTS package for use in both street and rally. Parts of the kit could also be ordered and installed independently, hence tailoring to the specific needs of its customers.


Class supermini homologation number: B-262 (click on # for papers)
  • 1982~1983 (1 prototype unit)
  • 1983~1984 (200 homologation units)
  • 1984 (20 evolution E1 units)
  • 1985 (20 evolution E2 units)

  • Poissy, France (serie 200)
  • Boulogne, France (E1/E2)
Type XU8T, I-4, DOHC 16v, gas located middle transverse
Displacement 1775 cc
Compression ratio 6.5:1
Output power – torque 197 HP @ 6750 rpm 188 lb~ft (255 Nm) @ 4000 rpm
Materials block: aluminum alloy cylinder head: aluminium alloy
  • KKK K26 twin scroll turbocharger
  • air/air intercooler
  • Bosch K-jetronic multipoint mechanical fuel injection
Boost: 0.7 bar
Ignition electronic, firing order 1-3-4-2
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system semi-dry
Type four-wheel drive 5-speed gearbox
Gearbox ratios N/A N/A
Differential ratio N/A max speed: 214 kph
Clutch N/A
Chassis / body
Type steel monocoque 20C central frame reinforced with one steel subframe for front engine bay & suspension and rear spaceframe tube design. 2 door hatchback steel bodyshell with polyester bonnets. Clamshells at front and rear made of polyester, and polyurethane bumpers. Cd: 0.35
Front suspension double wishbones with coil spring, telescopic bilstein shock absorbers and antiroll bar
Rear suspension double wishbones with coil spring, telescopic bilstein shock absorbers and antiroll bar
Steering system rack and pinion 3.2 turns lock to lock
Brakes front & rear rotor diameter: 273 mm
length: 3820 mm (150.4 in) width: 1700 mm (66.9 in) height: 1354 mm (53.3 in)
wheelbase: 2540 mm (100.0 in) front track: 1430 mm (56.3 in) rear track: 1430 mm (56.3 in)
Rims – tires 15″ Michelin 210/55 x 390 TRX
Curb Weight 1210 kg (2,670 lb)  Bias: F47/R53%
Weight/power 6.1 kg/HP (13.3 lb/HP)
Fuel tank


In the mid-1980’s then GM-owned Lotus received a contract to develop an array of active systems meant to be showcased by Chevrolet in the mid-engine Corvette Indy concept car and future products. For this very special project, Lotus chose to purchase the last two remaining Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 homologation cars from PTS as mules to develop and implement these special systems. Much more information on this fascinating story is available by CLICKING HERE.



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