Selecting Sport via the 508’s centre console-mounted switch elicits a handful of changes to its character. In addition to a moderately more responsive throttle and meatier steering, the synthesised engine note sounds like it’s being broadcast in the cabin in stereo, or at least as though it has been double-tracked.
Were it a particularly euphonious soundtrack, this would be a welcome change; however, given the grumbly, diesely timbre of the 508’s BlueHDi motor, the increase in volume isn’t a particularly welcome one, and it ends up coming across as a flawed attempt at making the engine sound bigger and richer than it is. At maximum revs in fourth gear, our sound gear recorded cabin noise at 74dB; by comparison, the Volvo V60’s D4 engine – which we criticised for being overly vocal – measured 73dB.
Still, straight-line performance is agreeable for a car in this class. A timed 0-60mph run of 8.8sec – compromised, perhaps, by a scrabble for traction off the line – is roughly par for the course, if a little behind Peugeot’s 8.3sec 0-62mph claim. The 187bhp Audi A4 TDI tested in 2015 did the same run in 8.4sec, while the 2012 BMW 320d managed 7.6sec.