What is interesting to me is that I actually owned a 205 GTI for around seven years and only sold it a few months ago, and I rarely dwelled upon the likely consequences of flying off the road in it. I expect one would be very little worse than the other, but the perception is dramatically different. The Renault seems to be made out of crisp packets by comparison.
More bad news. It’s not quick any more. Not remotely in fact. Back then I put up with the fact I needed a choke to start it from cold, sometimes it wouldn’t start at all from hot and that I’d need to wade through a whole load of turbo lag before I could get to the good bit. But that was because when it did get going, it felt like ground to air missile. It doesn’t any more: it’s mildly amusing once on boost, but not much more.
Only its handling is as I remember it. In fact it might be even better. Back then it was certainly noteworthy that it weighed just 820kg, because the Peugeot was nearer 900kg, but today it seems barely believable. It’s lighter than a Lotus Elise for goodness sake. And it really does still roller skate around, offering amazing grip, stupendous agility, completely benign manners and probably the best steering of any front-wheel-drive car I’ve driven.
Which is why I’m so glad we met up. We’re both looking our age but the laughter returned as long and loud as it ever was when we were young. And if that’s the last time we’re together, that’s fine too, for I know we parted on good terms, and in any inherently finite relationship, that’s the most for which you can really hope.