The 508 is tasked with helping push Peugeot into the premium sector. James Baggott tries it for size.
WHAT IS IT?
Peugeot’s offering to company car drivers. Aimed squarely at the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo, the 508 aims to attract fleet buyers and user choosers with a premium feel, sharp styling and a focus on comfort. Some 80 per cent of sales will be to the fleet market with economical diesel engines making up the majority of sales. Two body styles will be available from the April launch: a saloon and a rather good-looking SW estate.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?
A variety of fuel-sipping diesels and some surprisingly good petrol units. Most popular with buyers will be the 2.0-litre 140bhp HDi diesel unit. While emitting 125g/km and returning just shy of 60mpg, it still offers reasonable performance with 60mph achieved in 9.8s and a top speed of 130mph. Top of the range is a 2.2-litre, 204bhp diesel which has a potent 450Nm of punch which is great to drive.
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?
Average for the sector. Four zone climate control comes as standard on most models and there’s a tempting list of optional extras to ease a few extra pounds out of buyers. A head-up display, main beam assistance, keyless entry, automatic electric parking brake, and JBL stereo systems are all available. The SW has a stunning panoramic glass roof too.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Fun. Handling for a car of this size is pleasantly neutral with little body roll. It’s compliant when pushed and will certainly keep photocopier salesmen happy in the bends. The ride quality is excellent with the suspension coping well even with poor road surfaces and the refinement is equally impressive. It’s noticeably quiet at motorway speeds making for a relaxed way to travel.
WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK OF IT?
National newspapers were among the first to try it for size. The Independent was impressed with the new car, saying ‘these new 508s are desirable cars which make a nonsense of the premium obsession’. The Telegraph’s Andrew English likes it too, saying it is ‘a handsome, fine-driving saloon’, but added ‘the SW estate has all the panache’. Auto Express was more impressed with the SW out if the two bodystyles too, saying that it was ‘better looking’.
WHAT DO WE THINK OF IT?
This isn’t your usual big, French wacky car – the 508 is actually rather grown up. Build quality is excellent, refinement on a par with premium brands and the drive entertaining enough to make a trudge up the M1 just about bearable. We’re looking forward to the Hybrid4 model, which combines a 168bhp diesel engine with a 37bhp electric motor, which arrives next year. That will boast 200bhp and four wheel drive but with emissions sub 100g/km!
Click here to read why Peugeot UK’s product planning manager is so excited about the 508