What is it?
I know the Peugeot 508 Hybrid is just a derivative, but there’s quite a lot to get through here.
First, though, the basics. The 508 is Peugeot’s D-segment/large family sized hatchback and estate car, and it’s a rather good one, in a slightly old-fashioned decent-to-look-at-and-nice-to-drive way.
Peugeot boss Jean-Philippe Imparato said at its launch that he wasn’t going to beg people to buy one, that the days of heavy discounting were over, and that he was comfortable with the D-segment’s position in Europe being weaker and slower selling than it was before we all wanted SUVs.
That, though, was before Peugeot’s Chinese sales dived from 400,000 a year to 140,000 a year. So we’ll see how that goes. But I’ve little doubt that the 508 seemed like the product of a company, after well over a decade of making pretty snoozy cars, that was starting to regain its mojo.
The hybrid, then, is the next logical extension of the 508 range, as Peugeot heads towards having an electrified variant of every model it sells by 2025.
Like sister company Citroën, Peugeot’s small cars will get a full EV option and its bigger ones will have a plug-in EV option; because they tend to be driven longer distances and, Peugeot thinks, buyers will want the flexibility of an engine. This, obviously, is one of the latter.
So, available towards the end of the year or perhaps the start of 2020, the 508 Hybrid gets a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine making 178bhp, augmented by a 108bhp electric motor. Because they don’t both make peak power at the same time, the system’s total is 222bhp, with a torque figure currently unspecified.
Together they drive the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A similar system, but with an additional motor on the back axle, will give Peugeot’s larger SUVs four-wheel drive; as it will, too, for the 350bhp or so of the surprisingly appealing (to me, anyway) prospect of a Peugeot Sport 508 variant.
With an 11.8kWh battery pack, the 508 Hybrid is said to be capable of 30 miles of EV running on a single charge, while battery positioning has some effect on interior space. The boot is 30 litres smaller, while the fuel tank is down to 43 litres. But the idea is that having a hybrid 508 – or any electrified Peugeot – doesn’t bring too much compromise. It’s a choice of powertrain choice, not philosophy.