222bhp flagship sits a top a more petrol-friendly range, as Peugeot battles SUVs with a fastback saloon

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 is on show in Geneva, 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.

A rear light bar with LED lights is taken straight from the Instinct concept, and front-end styling draws from the car’s more aggressive look than the outgoing 508.

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.

The range is topped by a 222bhp Puretech petrol-engined variant, although six petrol and diesel engines are available from launch, with the entry-level car getting a 1.5-litre 128bhp BlueHDi unit - the only 508 available with a manual gearbox. 2.0-litre 158bhp and 178bhp BlueHDi diesels also feature, as does a 2.0-litre 178bhp Puretech petrol.

The 508 is expected to get a plug-in hybrid variant post-launch, with the powertrain taken straight from the 5008 plug-in, due later this year.

Other tech highlights include a raft of driver assistance systems, as well as an infra-red camera integrated into the car’s pedestrian detection system to aid in detecting pedestrians at night. Inside, the 508 gets Peugeot’s second-generation i-Cockpit system, with a 10in central touchscreen and 12.3in TFT display replacing conventional dials behind  the steering wheel.

Where the previous 508 sales were almost exclusively diesel, Peugeot expects a higher petrol bias for the new car around a 68/32 split in favour of diesel is expected by the brand.

The 508’s renewal is something of a surprise move by Peugeot - the saloon market continues to dwindle due to the market moving to SUVs, while sales of the 508 have never topped the 140,0000 sold in France in 2010. Sales have fallen steadily since then, with 82,000 sold in the car’s home market last year.

With a renewed focus on design and a fresh body style, the 508 marks the beginning of a reaffirmation of PSA’s support of larger saloons, with sister brand Citroën working on a ‘luxurious’ saloon for launch in 2019 or 2020.

The car’s platform remains the same - the PSA EMP2 platform which underpins many of the company’s models, including the 3008 and 5008 SUVs, Vauxhall Grandland X, DS 7 Crossback and Citroën Picasso MPVs.

The fastback rear is also a departure from its conventional saloon predecessor, and increases boot capacity from 473 litres to 485.

UK specs are long from being confirmed, but a price increase of around £800 across the board will keep the 508’s pricing competitive with rivals, although some trims will increase by less or more than this. Orders will open later this year, with first deliveries tipped to take place before 2019.

Peugeot's European boss Maxim Picat cites CO2 as his biggest problem. He believes model range, costs, and production issues are broadly in sync with company aspirations, but the 2020 fleet requirement for 95g/km is the tough one. Tougher for others than PSA though, he says. Believes they have the solutions, based on 'the four' - petrol, diesel, EV and PHEV, plus the flexibility to switch.

Diesel demand dropped 5% across Europe between 2016 and 2017, and there's more to come. But 3-cylinder 1.2-litre variants is PSA's defence against the worst of it. A 3-cylinder 508 will appear in late 2018 and 'works brilliantly'.

Picat believes there's a continuing case for big saloons, saying research around 508 has found people who want manufacturers to 'give us back our sense of style'. The reported upcoming Citroen saloon is 'definite' but Picat couldn't be more specific than 'around 2020'.

Read more 

Peugeot 5008 review 

Peugeot 3008 review

Peugeot 308 GTi review

Our Verdict

Peugeot 508

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

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Comments
19

22 February 2018

This new 508 looks fabulous, a return to a great looking Peugeot in this class since the 406, and it's also great to see some French flair and oddities in the design too while proportionally it harks back to the 406 and 405 after the rather odd looking 407 and previous 508. As for the interior, I think looks brilliant! I only hope that along with the looks we see a return to dynamic excellence, again last seen in the class by Peugeot with the 406. More importantly I think this could be the first car from a non-premium brand for a very long time that might actually tempt buyers from the German premium rivals which UK buyers are so obessed with, especially if the 508 drives well and also feels like a quality product (which the current 508 certainly doesn't). But on looks alone it deserves success. It's great to see the French manufacturers moving back towards flair, distinctiveness and even some wierdness with many of their new models.

 

 

 

22 February 2018

Another great looking new Peugeot and another new arrival in the class that makes the A4, C Class, Passat and 3 Series look even more achingly and terminally dull and soulless. This new 508 oozes style, class and sophistication which the Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW can't even get close too. With this new 508, the new Volvo V60, the Giulia and Talisman over the past couple of years, we're really seeing some great looking new cars in this class while they all look distinctive and true to the country they're from with their looks. And all of them make the German contingent look like a cure for insomnia.

22 February 2018

One of the best from a growing French company. Good to see a choice of 2.0 turbo petrol, from the way I read it there'll be 2 (178 and 222), best not sully the range with a 3 cylinder 1.2 like the 1.0 3 Mondeo.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

22 February 2018

First Peugeot saloon I have liked since the 406 was (so tragically) facelifted. I like that there are so many nods to the 405 with the styling of the new 508. The more upright nose and frowning headlamps, the rearward pointing lower corner of the side DLO - last seen on the 406 instead of that upthrust rear window line (which Murat Gunak was so very fond of, from A-Class to 407 SW) - and that distinctive black panel between the tail lights. Even the instrument binacle and dashboard have echoes of the first gen 405's forms. The front end doesn't look to me quite as well resolved as the rear, but overall this looks really good.Autocar mention Peugeot's return to this class as being something of a surprise, but the car is a hatchback now and not a saloon, so that should help it sell a little better. Whether selling a little better than little-or-none is any use to Peugeot only time will tell.  But, going hatchback in a traditional saloon shape is a trait which hasn't exactly hurt sales of Skoda's "saloons".It would be great to see more non-German saloon/hatch/estate car ranges again.  As someone else said earlier, I too long for the day the SUV falls out of favour.

Il cuore ha sempre ragione.

22 February 2018
Cuore Sportivo wrote:

First Peugeot saloon I have liked since the 406 was (so tragically) facelifted. I like that there are so many nods to the 405 with the styling of the new 508. The more upright nose and frowning headlamps, the rearward pointing lower corner of the side DLO - last seen on the 406 instead of that upthrust rear window line (which Murat Gunak was so very fond of, from A-Class to 407 SW) - and that distinctive black panel between the tail lights. Even the instrument binacle and dashboard have echoes of the first gen 405's forms. The front end doesn't look to me quite as well resolved as the rear, but overall this looks really good.Autocar mention Peugeot's return to this class as being something of a surprise, but the car is a hatchback now and not a saloon, so that should help it sell a little better. Whether selling a little better than little-or-none is any use to Peugeot only time will tell.  But, going hatchback in a traditional saloon shape is a trait which hasn't exactly hurt sales of Skoda's "saloons".It would be great to see more non-German saloon/hatch/estate car ranges again.  As someone else said earlier, I too long for the day the SUV falls out of favour.

The 405 really was a fabulous looking car and at the time it was launched jaws dropped, especially when you consider what many of its competitors looked like in 1987. The 406 was also a great looking car (I prefered it to the 405) but the 406 was a prime example of how a facelift could ruin a car! The 407 incoporated the styling cues from Peugeot's next generation of models which started off with the 206 and to say the 407 looked odd was an understatement. The first 508 was better resolved but it still looked odd while also a bit dull too in its attempt to follow German styling traits. This new 508 is a real return to form  for Peugeot in this class and to me it seems like what the 405 and 406 designs would have evolved in to anyway had the 407 and first 508 followed suit. 

22 February 2018

Absolutely stunning, and the fastback hatch will appeal to those who miss big practical French cars (Xantia, Laguna etc.) as well as hatchback fans.

Welcome back Peugeot.

22 February 2018

+1 to the above comments. I wish Peugeot well with this and hope it comes to the UK (unlike its rival Renault Talisman). If it does I’ll consider it myself when my car is up for renewal.

22 February 2018

When you look at the interior, Jaguar especially should be ashamed by the lack of imagination in the XE, XF and F-Pace.

I know that the steering wheel is controversial but the overall look of recent Pug interiors is superb. VW interiors might be well made but they look 15 years old compared to these. 

Well done PSA. I really like this.

22 February 2018

Not entirely clear from the article if platform sharing will mean the loss of independent rear suspension for this new 508. I hope not. IThe car only stands a chance if it drives as well as it looks. A car in this class can't have a beam axle at the back. I guess Peugeot are expecting to sell the bulk of them in eastern markets rather than here, though the 508 has been a steady seller in France despite its age. Certainly looks more interesting than a BMW 3-Series, but that's not hard. It's Mercedes they're really up against. 

22 February 2018
androo wrote:

Not entirely clear from the article if platform sharing will mean the loss of independent rear suspension for this new 508. I hope not. IThe car only stands a chance if it drives as well as it looks. A car in this class can't have a beam axle at the back. I guess Peugeot are expecting to sell the bulk of them in eastern markets rather than here, though the 508 has been a steady seller in France despite its age. Certainly looks more interesting than a BMW 3-Series, but that's not hard. It's Mercedes they're really up against. 

I think you have hit the nail on the head, and the complete absense of information about the suspension will be because they have done the cheap thing and left it with a dead beam axle from the 308. They seem to be missing another open goal if they go auto only (except poverty spec diesels). I know it wont make any difference in China, but here half of us still know how to use all 3 pedals. It looks good, but if it doesnt drive well, they shouldnt have bothered.

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