Last year I drove the new Peugeot 508 in the South of France, with our base in Monaco, and it proved to be the ideal location to launch this very attractive French saloon, which did attract a lot of attention.
The new 508 has echoes of the 504 Coupe which was something of a head turner in its time. In a few weeks time I aim to attend the launch of another version of the 508, the SW and early pictures which I have seen certainly will keep the 508 range very much in focus. Currently Peugeot is delivering what the buyer wants, proof of that comes with their strong, distinctive styled SUV range.
However, when it comes to saloons, they do face a major challenge from the current wave of SUVs; clearly with that in mind, Peugeot with the 508 has delivered a stunner.
Several people simply stared when I appeared on the scene at the wheel of the 508 GT-Line which I had on test for a week. During that period I found some excellent, if demanding, roads in counties Fermanagh and Donegal and I availed of the opportunity to visit some favourites haunts such as Crevey Pier in County Donegal. I could be selfish and keep Crevy Pier to myself, but no, you must visit. It’s down a narrow winding road to the small harbour, which is overlooked by a small friendly hotel, just the spot to get away from it all.
In bringing their new coupe-styled saloon to market, Peugeot used the German brands as a benchmark and this is one French car that very well could provide an alternative to the competition from the big three premium German brands- offering much more for your money. The 508 has a major role to play, that of flagship for the lion brand. Down the years I have driven a number of Peugeots, after a week behind the wheel, it has become my firm favourite, will that change when I drive the SW, a case of wait and see.
The 508 is in the D segment of the market, an area which has struggled. Clearly Peugeot, all too aware of this, have really put the maximum effort into making the 508 a pacesetter. I have already noted that the inspiration came from an earlier car and with technology, that inspiration came from the DS7 Crossback. I am delighted to report that Peugeot still has faith in the diesel engine and it was a two litre diesel with a useful 163bhp allied to an eight speed automatic transmission which I had for my home test drive. Not only did it deliver sporty performance accompanied by low noise levels but wallet pleasing economy. Taking a look at performance rest to 100kph (62mph) in 8.4 seconds and on to a top speed (where legal) of 230kph (143mph). Equipped with a fifty five litre fuel tank, the 508 enjoys a good range with less visits to a fuel pump. The coupe lines of the exterior flow through to the interior, a mix of sports and luxury; my eyes immediately were drawn to the premium instrument panel and the very latest version of the i-Cockpit. This first appeared in 2012 and has proved extremely popular with such models as the 3008 and 5008. All of the controls fall easily to hand and full marks for the fitment of the large ten inch screen. Some do not agree but a feature which I have come to cherish with recent Peugeot models is the compact steering wheel surrounded by a variety of controls, not just as many as found on a Formula One car; however all designed to deliver that reassuring quality of drive.
Style is all very well, but several like me demand more from a car and the handling of the new 508 is very much like a sports car but with that addition of quality and the ride was superb. Just now with the armada of SUVs available we could be mistaken in thinking that a car such as the 508 is far from being practical. Nothing could be further from the truth, 487 litres of boot space and fold the rear seats and you have a generous 1,537 litres. The new 508 GT Line is a very complete package complete with all the safety and security, but above all it is a driver’s car.