A 99g/km diesel hybrid will star as the centrepiece of Peugeot’s new flagship saloon, the 508, scooped here testing ahead of its Paris show debut in September.
Featuring a 160bhp 2.0-litre EU5 diesel mated to a rear-mounted electric motor, the 508 hybrid will bring Prius-style economy to the almost BMW 5-series-sized Peugeot.
When the electric motor cuts in, the 508 hybrid operates in four-wheel drive, with the diesel driving the front wheels and the motor the rears.
Like the ‘5 by Peugeot’ show car at Geneva this year, the 508 will be around 4.8m long, considerably larger than the 407 it directly replaces. The 508 will also be expected to replace the 607, in the process becoming the vehicle of choice of many French politicians.
UK buyers should get their hands on the Peugeot 508 in mid-2011, about six months after other EU customers.
The scoops show just how close the production car is to the concept, as Peugeot predicted in March.
Key details on the concept, such as the square grille, wrap-around headlights and prominent bonnet plinth for the Lion badge, are visible through the blue car’s disguise.
Insiders also report that the concept’s ‘waisted’ look, in which the body narrows around the cabin, and the roofline that sweeps elegantly down to the rear decklid will also make production.
The engine line-up will be streamlined, too, with EU5-compliant units carrying over from the 407 while older EU4 units, including the 2.2-litre diesel, will be deleted.
The best-seller is tipped to be the 160bhp 2.0 HDi, while the range-topping engine is the 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 mated to a six-speed auto ’box. The key petrol engine will be the 156bhp turbo 1.6.
Sales of the diesel hybrid will trail mainstream models by about year, arriving in mid-2012. By then it will feature a lithium ion battery pack.
Also coming is a 508 SW estate, which is likely to be revealed at next March’s Geneva show, with sales starting soon after. If the sales trend of today’s 407 continues, the 508 SW is likely to develop into the firm’s best-seller.