Every petrol engine fitted to a 508 is a 1.6-litre Puretech 180 unit making 178bhp. The only difference is whether it’s hybrid assisted or not to make the full 222bhp (in a year or so, doubly assisted to around 350bhp).
The petrol unit is very quiet at low revs, if it fires up at standstill or while mooching around at all, and that’s a trait it retains as speeds rise. You can take control of its operation via flappy paddles attached to the steering column, so they don’t rotate with the wheel, but most of the time our testers found the 508 breezed along agreeably without the interference.
This car has a high specific power output for a mainstream family car, of 111bhp per litre, so the motor, as well as providing propulsion on its own, chips in to fill the torque gap while the engine’s turbo is beginning to spin. You can choose to operate the 508 on electric power alone – and as time goes by, in some cities presumably you’ll have to. The claimed range from a full charge is 31 miles, and we reckon you will match it in stop/start traffic. On our typically more rural routes, it would still head comfortably into the 20s.
The eight-speed automatic ’box shifts smoothly, and via a rearwards pull on the lever once in ‘drive’ you can toggle very easily between two braking modes – one a leisurely coast, the other a more severe lift-off akin to applying light brake pressure. That there’s always creep from a standstill means this can’t be a one-pedal-driving car, however.