From £17,599
Top spec 508, although expensive, shows promise for the rest of the range

Our Verdict

Peugeot 508 SW
New Mondeo rival is better all round and should be a fleet favourite

The Peugeot 508 is is better all round than its predecessor, and should be a fleet favourite

17 January 2011

What is it?

Peugeot's new large saloon and estate, the 508 straddles (and replaces) Peugeot's 407 and 607 models. Peugeot claiming the 508 offers interior space to match the 607, but within smaller exterior dimensions, and that although it is 10cm longer than the 407, that it weighs an average of 35Kg less.

In addition to the two bodystyles the 508 comes with two alternative suspension configurations. Most models use a MacPherson Strut at the front, with a multi-link arrangement at the rear. However our introduction to the 508 comes by way of the range topping GT model, which not only features a new 2.2-litre 201bhp diesel (more efficient and lighter than the 2.7-litre V6 it replaces) but also double-wishbone front suspension.

See pics of the Peugeot 508 in action

What's it like?

Before any considerations on the way the 508 drives, the most obvious change over its predecessor, is a newfound sense of maturity. The exterior styling has lost some of the quirkiness of the 407, and potentially is a little more bland as a consequence, but the interior is an unqualified step forward. Comfortable spacious and noticeably more upmarket. Clearly this GT model represents the 508 in its best light, with full leather trim and full colour information screens, but in the design, arrangement and action of the main switchgear the 508 is class-leading.

As is overall refinement. Helped by a standard fit acoustic windscreen and dampers on the front axle to reduce engine vibration, the 508's cabin is remarkably hushed, in terms of wind, road and engine noise. Other engines in the range, which include two 1.6-litre petrols, and several diesels including an e-HDi version with stop-start and emissions of 109g/km, may be more vocal, but this 2.2-litre is impressively quiet.

There is however no choice of gearbox with this engine, a six-speed automatic mandatory. Although this remains a conventional torque converter auto, it is not embarrassed by rivals' dual-clutch systems. While the shifts are not quite as instantaneous they're still quick enough, and for slow speed manoeuvres a torque converter is still superior.

In drive the gearbox relies on the engine's plentiful supply of torque (332lbft from 2000rm) to minimise interruptions, in Sport it is keener to slip down a gear or two, but still less frenetic than some alternatives. And in either mode the result is encouragingly rapid progress. Peugeot claim 0-62mph in 8.2sec, fast enough to elevate the 508 GT beyond the mainstream pack.

While the 508 GT works well as a comfortable quiet cruiser, it also rewards those who want press on. Although Peugeot's engineers considered fitting the 508 with a fully electric steering system, they judged the loss of feel not worth the efficiency gains. An increasingly unusual decision, but one, as enthusiasts, we should be thankful for.

Because although the 508 is a large car (longer than both Mondeo and Passat) it is an easy car to place, its steering quick but precise and intuitive. There's also decent grip from the standard 235/45R18 tyres (19” wheels are optional) and a better balance than most front drive rivals.

And although the GT is reasonably firmly sprung, and therefore quick to react to bumps (particularly at slow speeds), intrusions do not resonate far through the cabin.

Should I buy one?

Good though the 508 GT is, at £28,750 (and £29,975 for the estate) it is treading in dangerous territory; you can have a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes C-Class for similar money (albeit without such a generous specification). The 508 makes more sense further down the model range where prices are broadly in line with mainstream rivals. However what we don't know just yet, is to what extent the lower grade suspension and interior will affect the overall appeal. But if the talent trickle down is relatively undiluted, Peugeot will have a credible competitor on its hands.

Jamie Corstorphine

Peugeot 508 GT

Price: £28,750; 0-62mph: 8.2sec; Max speed: 145mph; Economy: 49.6mpg; Co2: 150g/km; Kerbweight: 1736kg; Engine: 4cyls in line, 2179cc, turbodiesel; Installation: Front, transverse, front-wheel drive; Power: 201bhp at 3500rpm; Torque: 332lbft at 2000rpm; Power to weight: 116bhp/tonne; Specific output: 91bhp/litre; Compression ratio: 16.0:1; Gearbox: Six-speed automatic

Join the debate

Comments
63

18 January 2011

Wasn't the Focus 160PS TdCi touching £25K with the options?....Didn't hear any complaints in the test drive about Ford being in 'dangerous territory'... Anyway, Quite like the look of this, and the engine looks like a pretty decent grunter. Annoying to not offer it in a manual though...

18 January 2011

Good to see peugeot look like they are starting to make decent cars again - and good to have another decent big wafty french motor for sale again!

18 January 2011

What on earth is an "acoustic windscreen"? Does it play tunes? It never ceases to amaze me how the French makers keep trying to crack the luxury car market despite continued failure. No matter how good the 508 is, the brand will always be a handicap with conservative customers. At least it will give used car buyers something to look forward to in three years time!

18 January 2011

[quote LP in Brighton]No matter how good the 508 is, the brand will always be a handicap with conservative customers. At least it will give used car buyers something to look forward to in three years time![/quote]

Probably correct. Although if the pictures are anything to go by, it's a decent looking motor with fairly conservative styling. One of the better efforts from Peugeot for sometime.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

18 January 2011

[quote LP in Brighton]What on earth is an "acoustic windscreen"? Does it play tunes?[/quote]

hehe. No. It means it has an acoustic shielding to cut noise.

You're right about getting into a French barge three years from now. Pity people can't see past the badge when it's new though, because - and please don't hate me for liking it - the 607 I had a go in a few months back was really rather special. Surprisingly good to drive, easy to service (I presume), anonymous without being overly bland, and all dished up with limo levels comfort.

Under £10K buys you the 2.2 biturbo in a last of line car that'll still be under factory warranty. Incidentally it also has the most massive 80 litre fuel tank giving a near 1,000 mile range - a star barge for touring in!

18 January 2011

28K sounds like a lot but what does the top spec Mondeo cost? It can't be too far off that and this sounds as though it could be a serious rival...about time in my opinion.

18 January 2011

The Mondeo seems sensibly cheaper in terms of quality.

The acoustic windscreen is an automotive term. It's a 5 layers windsreen.

It lacks perhaps 6 pots at the top, for the image in particular.

18 January 2011

It will really struggle at that price

18 January 2011

[quote Wanos]28K sounds like a lot but what does the top spec Mondeo cost?[/quote] It will be interesting to see what Ford charge for the Mondeo when it gets this engine as it will shortly. I expect this Peugeot is using the Citroen C5 structure. Its use of double wishbone suspension on the front for top of the range models is certainly the same as the Citroen although the Citroen uses Hydropneumatic instead of springs on its higher spec versions. As a fan of PSA group cars since the eighties it is good to see some good looking cars being produced now.

18 January 2011

An acoustic windshield is typically a layer of PVB or similar damping material sandwiched between two layers of glass. Resultant noise transmission is significantly reduced; end result=less mid to high-frequency traffic noise getting into the cabin.

The real benefit is when it's fitted on the side-glass too. But because it's substantially thicker (typically 4-5mm+) than regular side glass, it can mean new regulator motors, sealing systems etc, and therefore is a much larger investment than treating the windshield. The new Buick Verano (Astra sedan) has this treatment and supposedly class-leading noise-levels.


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