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First Drive: Peugeot’s 508 has all the ingredients to be a saloon for all seasons

First Drive: Peugeot’s 508 has all the ingredients to be a saloon for all seasons

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Peugeot’s hotly anticipated 508 saloon is finally here; motoring journo, Ryan Hirons, headed to Monte Carlo to put it to the test.

Should I buy a Peugeot 508?

  • Peugeot i-cockpit – one of the best head-up displays in the market
  • Lots of luxury – comes as standard and makes driving comfortable
  • Sleek & sexy – the 508 is a handsome salon
  • Drivability factor – a fun car to drive but well-mannered on the daily commute
  • Passenger comfort – carries four adult passengers in genuine comfort

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfW-Bt7Bi-A


What kind of car is the new Peugeot 508?

Peugeot has been on a design mission to upgrade its range, giving it a more premium feel and improving the spec. It recently introduced the innovative i-Cockpit tech into production and the range is winning plaudits across the board.

One piece has been missing though — a genuinely appealing saloon offering, something with a little French flair, which to be fair, has been missing from the Peugeot range  for a couple of decades. With the introduction of the Peugeot 508, it’s finally here.

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What’s new in the Peugeot 508?

This may be the second generation of the 508, but this is a total re-vamp of the model, designed to give it real appeal in this crowded market.

First up is the new design — taking its cue from Peugeot’s latest corporate styling and the 508 is no the flagship for this new design, with its sleek body and angular front fascia. The look continues inside the car, with the i-Cockpit, once again, the star of the show.

There’s plenty more tech on show too, including night vision — a claimed first for the segment — which allows drivers to ‘see’ obstacles in the dark, which would otherwise be invisible when driving in pitch-black conditions.

Red Peugeot 508 driving away from you


What’s under the bonnet of the Peugeot 508?

Ryan was  behind the wheel of the Peugeot 508 in GT BlueHDi 180 EAT8 flavour; de-coded, that means it’s powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine paired up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The powertrain develops 177bhp and 400Nm of torque, taking the 508 from 0-60mph in 8.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 146mph. Peugeot claims it can achieve 60.1mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 124g/km.

It’s an engine that loves to cruise. Sitting on a motorway in Comfort mode, it’s refined with very little road noise in the cabin. That said there’s enough poke for a bit more spirited driving, however, but it does fade away when strung out higher in the rev range.


What’s the Peugeot 508 like to drive?

The Peugeot 508 drives as it looks; agile and more than capable of taking on more or less anything you can throw at it when pushing it on a B-road.

Steering is very well-judged, while the chassis itself feels finely tuned — an engine with more poke under the bonnet could very well create a serious performance machine. (Anyone for a  508 GTI?).

Despite delivering on the hard-driving front, it remains an extremely comfortable cruiser. The suspension is supple and with the limited road noise, it’s a pleasure for passengers too. Switch on the adaptive cruise control (albeit once you’ve found the strangely located switch) and you could easily chew up a few hundred miles without much trouble. It is a little let down with poor rear visibility, which makes the 508 a little tricky in tighter spots, but with all-around sensors it’s not really a problem.

Red Peugeot 508 side on driving away from you


What does the Peugeot 508 look like?

We’re fans of Peugeot’s current corporate design and it definitely suits the 508.

The sleek, understated body means the sharp fascia and LED headlights to make a real impact and the walrus-esque daytime running lights create real drama. In our opinion it’s the best-looking Peugeot of the decade.

For us it would have to be the Ultimate Red paint finish, but then we do like to stand out from the crowd and it really makes the best of the sharp bodywork.

Red Peugeot 508 driving round a corner


What’s the Peugeot 508 like inside?

Inside the Peugeot 508 we think the application of the aviation-style i-Cockpit technology is Peugeot’s best to date — you feel the car was designed to fit around the interior, rather than vice versa, which, as a driver, is a really great feeling.

The jet plane-like effect works seriously well here, with the low-down driving position creating a real sense of being in a sports-focused machine and this is further enhanced by the compact steering wheel.

Some of the switchgear plastics do let the 508 down a little, they aren’t exactly unpleasant to the touch, but they’re not class leading either.

It’s definitely redeemed by its practicality with 487 litres of boot space, seating five full-sized people in comfort.

Inside the new Peugeot 508


What’s the Peugeot 508 spec like?

Prices for the Peugeot 508 start at £25,000, although our GT test car comes in with a steeper price tag of £36,400.

There’s plenty of equipment thrown in for that price; assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist, all-round parking sensors and blind spot detection.

Luxury kit is generous with electric seats including a massage function, along with heating, dual-zone climate control, the i-Cockpit cabin and a 10-inch infotainment display with support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

On top of all that, there are full LED headlights with automatic high beams and 19-inch alloy wheels an outward reflection of the 508’s inner sportiness.


Verdict

The Peugeot 508 is the best car the French manufacturer has produced for a long time. It’s genuinely desirable, something we’ve not been able to say for a while and it’s a car that deserves to be a success.

It achieves that tricky blend of being a good-looking car, that’s genuinely fun to drive, while also being capable of the daily commuting schlep. Of course the 508 isn’t perfect, but no car is and none of its flaws are deal-breakers, so nothing to discount the 508 in comparison with its rivals.