- Great to drive
- Plenty of advanced tech
Peugeot is about to launch a new 508 flagship sporty looking coupé-cum-hatch, and it's good enough to rival anything from the German big hitters.
Packed with kit including a segment first with night vision available on top grade models, the new 508 is up with the likes of the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series.
It also drives in superlative fashion and comes with the choice of five engines, two petrol and three diesels, with power outputs ranging from 130bhp to a healthy 225bhp.
Most are mated to Peugeot’s 8-speed electronic automatic gearbox, and only the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel is available as a 6-speed manual.
Sitting lower than the previous model, the new 508 is also some three inches shorter and more than an inch wider, and with coupé-like styling it's a very good-looking car.
The stylish effect is compounded with frameless door windows, LED running lights and indicators which run in a strip curving down from the headlamps and a rear end that features a delightful light display that appears to run the width of the car.
Stylish it is, but that's done nothing to diminish its practicality and not only is it roomy inside, but boot space under the high opening and powered hatch ranges from 487 litres to a maximum of 1,537 litres with the rear seats down.
There's plenty to set the new 508 apart and the flair for design continues inside with Peugeot’s high end i-Cockpit and a range of advanced technology.
A bank of piano keys below the 10-inch high definition colour touchscreen in the centre of the dash give easy access to system settings and below those are haptic buttons for the heated seats, heated rear window and the like.
It’s all very sensibly laid out, simple to use and the instrument panel ahead of the driver can be configured in a variety of ways with displays ranging from conventional dials to sat nav information or the night vision system which highlights objects in the dark that could be hidden.
The estate model is just as stylish, while the plug-in hybrid powertrain offers an EV range of just over 30 miles.
Two versions of the new 508 were tested in GT Line trim and powered by a 2.0-litre diesel and a 1.6-litre turbo petrol PureTech engine, both developing 180bhp.
Neither was lacking, and on the performance front there's little between the two with both having a top speed of 143mph and a 0 to 62mph acceleration of around 7.9 seconds for the petrol and 8.4 seconds for the diesel.
On paper the real difference is with fuel economy which is rated at 62.8mpg for the diesel and 51.4mpg for the petrol with respective emissions of 120g/km and 125g/km.
Both cars were fitted with adaptive suspension – an additional option on GT Line but standard fit on the higher grade GT and First Edition models – which worked well, and the car handled in quite sublime fashion.
Good, precise steering was responsive and accurate and allowed for some sporty driving using the variable drive modes which also include an eco setting as well as paddle shifters for the auto box.
That’s another option on GT Line and GT models, but is again standard fit on the fully-loaded First Edition cars.
All versions of the 508 come with sat nav, starter button ignition, and an electronic parking brake, while standard safety features include automatic emergency braking.
GT Line additions include upgrades to the interior, wireless phone charging on top of a reversing camera. They also sit on 18-inch wheels and come with a studded-effect front grille which really sets the car off.
Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist were further options, but these are standard on the models higher in the range, as is a Focal audio system.
All in all, the new 508 is a suave, stylish and sophisticated – a fine alternative to anything else in this league. Whether it carries the right badge for bragging rights is a different matter, but alongside Peugeot’s new generation of SUVs, the 508 is another example of the brand’s move upmarket and part of its mission statement to become the finest ‘mid-to-high end generalist carmaker’.