The 508 composes itself with fluency and subtlety on undulating roads. Vertical body control over crests is tight, while the compression that follows is cushioned and progressive. The fact that the primary ride is so tidy, however, makes a sometimes questionable secondary ride that much more of a shame.
Our 19in-alloy-equipped 508 carried with it a tendency to emphasise the severity of ruts and bumps on more threadbare sections of road. Imperfections you sense may not have been quite so intrusive in rival D-segment saloons made their presence felt.
While not doing so in a bone-shattering fashion by any means, it was with enough sharpness to leave a cloud of doubt over the 508’s otherwise impressive manners.
Comfort mode helps to mute these disturbances to a degree, but not quite to the extent where you’re totally isolated from shudders and vibrations. The 508 seems happiest on comparatively smooth motorways, where those intrusions are at their most infrequent and you can make the most of its fluid primary ride.
At three full turns from lock to lock, the gearing of the 508’s steering rack errs on the slower side, and the diminutive wheel – now a signature trait of Peugeot interiors – does take some getting used to. Around town, there’s very little in the way of weight or feel here, although once you add pace it gains some reassuring heft if no additional propensity for communication.
It takes about a quarter of a turn of the wheel for the 508’s front end to respond with proper enthusiasm, but when it bites it does so with enough in the way of tenacity to instil confidence when pressing on. Roll around the lateral axis is progressive and well managed, too, while mid-corner directional changes don’t lead to any great loss of composure. Sport mode tightens things up even further, although not to the extent that you’d label the 508 an outstandingly exciting car to thread along a challenging or inviting section of B-road.
Road works prevented us from properly pushing the 508 around Millbrook’s Hill Route but, on the stretches where it was safe to do so, the numerous steep ascents unearthed a degree of indecisiveness in the Peugeot’s eight-speed transmission.
The gearbox was generally smooth and effective under regular driving conditions. However, when driven in anger on a stretch of Tarmac as variable in gradient as this, the ’box seemed a touch overwhelmed. Progress out of a corner and up an ascent was hampered by a noticeable delay as it searched for a suitable ratio.