Front-end styling is more aggressive than the outgoing 508
Inside, the 508 gets Peugeot’s second-generation i-Cockpit system, with a 10in central touchscreen
A rear light bar with LED lights is taken straight from the Instinct concept
Orders will open later this year
The 508 is expected to get a plug-in hybrid variant post-launch
The range is topped by a 222bhp Puretech petrol-engined variant
An infra-red camera aids detection of pedestrians at night
A 12.3in TFT display replaces conventional dials behind the steering wheel
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'.