Despite its kerb weight, the 508 PSE comes alive when you show it an interesting road. What’s striking is the manner in which the car’s deft body control (both vertically and laterally) never spills over into outright force, and with it harshness. This Peugeot really does breathe with the road in the fashion of the French greats of yesteryear, and often seems impervious to becoming in any way flustered, which breeds confidence.
It’s a confidence the steering builds on. This electrically assisted set-up remains vaguely synthetic in feel, and the nature of its variable-speed gearing can at times make it an inconsistent companion. However, in the main, it transmits the ebb and flow of grip well and exhibits a lovely sense of precision and finesse on turn-in.
That extra track width at the front axle, courtesy of longer wishbones, and the increased negative camber: you can feel it, and enjoy it. The 508 PSE loves nothing more than to be flicked into bends on a trailing brake, where it’ll show the kind of agility and rotational energy normally observed in the better-sorted front-driven hot hatches. It then pays to get back into the throttle early and engage that rear electric motor, which neutralises the car and helps provide drive out of the bends.
The 508 PSE also benefits from the regular model’s relatively narrow width, which makes it easy to place on the road and work this malleable, playful chassis without feeling the white lines are getting too close.