Peugeot has switched the 508 from saloon to a fastback bodystyle for its second generation, as the segment battles growing SUV sales.
The new 508, which was revealed at the Geneva motor show, gets a new 5-door body style, as well as styling derived from the Instinct shooting brake concept, revealed at last year’s Geneva show.
Prices for the new fastback start at £25,000 for entry-level Active trim cars, with the 1.5-litre, 129bhp BlueHDi unit. Top-spec First Edition is the most expensive, at £37,400. This pricing puts the 508 £2970 above the entry-level Volkswagen Passat in S trim with 1.4-litre engine, or £995 above the entry-level diesel Passat.
The 508 will get a range-topping plug-in hybrid variant post-launch, with the powertrain taken straight from the 5008 plug-in, due later this year, but it will not have to sacrifice boot space or cabin room to accommodate its batteries like some rivals do, according to 508 project design lead Pierre Paul Mattei.
Mattei exclusively told Autocar that the 508’s EMP2 platform was developed from the very beginning with “tight packaging” in order to enable Peugeot to offer an electrified powertrain from mid-2019 without impeding practicality.
“Our team of designers spent a year and a half, which is longer than usual, with engineers to access the best technology and knowledge for this car’s platform,” he said. “We have been able to break the conventions for design proportions while keeping those performances [such as boot space] unaffected in the architecture.”
The car’s batteries will be located beneath the floor of the boot without impacting load space, although the space for the spare wheel is lost. This has enabled Peugeot to provide the PHEV with enough power to provide a 31-mile pure electric range (WLTP), which is six better than the plug-in BMW 330e offers.
The 508, formerly a staid-looking four-door saloon, is now a now a much more stylish bustle-backed five-door with frameless doors and “sharp and sculpted” lines. It is around 6cm lower than most rivals in its class, and looks low and sleek even though it is about 8cm shorter overall.