When it comes to premium mid-size sedans, the Europeans still reign supreme. Peugeot has fired a fresh shot in its war with the German brands in the form of the updated 508 range.
Undeniably one of the best lookers on the market, the mid-life update has given the Peugeot 508 styling enhancements, a new engine and extra technology. Peugeot has also streamlined the 508 model range and when you factor-in all the extras the value proposition cannot be denied.
Peugeot 508 Overview
The new lineup for the Peugeot 508 sees entry-grade ‘Active’ available as a sedan with the new turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, mid-grade ‘Allure’ is available as a sedan or Touring (wagon) with the 2.0-litre litre turbo-diesel powerplant and the range-topping GT can also be had in sedan or Touring but with the more powerful 2.2-litre turbo-diesel.
As well as that new 1.6-litre petrol engine (Puget says it’s the most fuel-efficient in the segment) there are some styling changes, extra technology, specification upgrades.
And while prices are up a smidge, consider the extra equipment…
Across the range there’s a seven-inch touchscreen, reversing camera, 8GB music jukebox, steering wheel paddle-shifters, LED DRLs and fog-lights, a rear sunblind, electric boot release, rear seat centre arm-rest and rear map reading lights.
Allure and GT Touring score Blind Spot Monitoring and a retractable cargo net while GT sedan and Touring add all-LED headlights and leather sports seats with contrasting red stitching and a massage function for the driver.
The updated range is:
|Active sedan petrol||$37,990|
|Allure sedan diesel||$45,990|
|Allure Touring diesel||$48,990|
|GT sedan diesel||$58,490|
|GT Touring diesel||$61,490|
Peugeot 508 Engine
Peugeot 508’s new turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has some pedigree. A member of the e-THP engine family it was co-developed with BMW and is the reigning International Engine Of The year in the 1.4-1.8-ltre category.
With direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, a volume flow-controlled oil pump and on-demand water pump, this engine is all about fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. No surprise then it complies with the tough EURO6 standards.
There was also a focus on improved response from low speeds (when compared to the previous 1.6-litre engine). A new-design turbocharger was part of that story.
So we have maximum power of 121kW at 6000rpm and peak torque of 240Nm from 1400-4000rpm. Fuel consumption is rated a 5.8l/100kms (combined cycle). The engine it replaces delivered 115kW/240Nm and 7.1l/100kms so the improvements are obvious.
No changes for the turbo-diesel engines. That’s 120kW/340Nm for the 2.0-litre and 150kW/450Nm for the 2.2-litre fitted to GT models.
All drive through a new version of the Aisin AM6 six-speed automatic transmission which is 2.0kgs lighter and adopts 20 per-cent longer ratios.
Peugeot 508 The Interior
Let’s be crystal here: beyond a shadow of doubt the Peugeot 508 is the standout mid-sizer when it comes to interior style and accoutrements. Would you expect anything else from the French?
Seats are top-notch (excellent leather-trimmed sports seats in the GT models), the driving position is spot-on thanks to lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment (rake and reach) and the stylish instruments are a victory for functionality. Those in the rear are also supremely comfortable with leg-room on-par with others in this segment.
Of course the headline for the 2015 mid-life update is the seven-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard which carries functionality for the reversing camera and satellite navigation (both now standard) as well as audio, connectivity and climate-control. As we’ve seen with the Peugeot 308, shifting functionality to the touchscreen means fewer buttons which translates into more interior storage areas.
Standard on GT model and optional on Allure is a colour head-up display with a retractable screen. We’re not huge fans of HUDs to be honest but we reckon the Peugeot set-up is one of the best.
No shortage of luggage space in the Peugeot 508 – 497-litres in the sedan and 612-litres in the Touring (both with the rear seat in-place).
Peugeot 508 Exterior & Styling
A styling re-do for one of the best-looking mid-size sedans and wagons? Isn’t that like asking F1 star Lewis Hamilton to ramp up the ‘bling’?
Yep, that was the task before Peugeot’s styling team. And as mid-life updates go, this was a biggie. In fact the changes have added 38mm to the overall length of with the sedan and Touring models both gaining 16mm at the front and the sedan an extra 22cm at the rear.
There are new front guards, a new bonnet, new headlights (all-LED on GT – each light has 44 LEDs), a new grille and new front bumper. The new grille is more upright and features the Peugeot ‘lion’ badge in the centre. Peugeot says this updated grille for the 508 reflects its new corporate style and we can expect future new models to trend in the same direction.
For the bonnet, Peugeot’s stylists have introduced a more horizontal layout while the front bumper now features lower LEDs which double as turn indicators and complement the standard LED fog-lights.
The rear sees a new-design bumper and a new twist on Peugeot’s hallmark ‘claw’ lights – LED lights each with 36 LEDs – a more horizontal layout.
Entry-level Peugeot 508 Active rides on 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55 R 17 Michelin Primacy HP tyres, mid-grade Allure uses 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 R 18 Michelin Primacy HP tyres and range-topping GT scores 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/40 R19 Continental ContiSportContact 3 tyres.
Peugeot 508 On the Road
We drove a Peugeot 508 Active with the new turbocharged 1.6-litre engine and a GT wagon over the great roads south-west of Sydney around Picton and Stanwell Park. We wish more new car launches were held on these roads – they’re ‘brillo’, the scenery is spectacular and in recent years we’ve certainly more than covered Tasmania and Victoria’s Yarra Valley!
No doubt about it, Peugeot was very smart bringing this new, BMW developed turbocharged 1.6-litre engine to the 508 – extra zip and significantly better fuel consumption is an irrefutable win. Cruising down the freeway the Peugeot 508 Active was superbly refined at all speeds and the 1.6 had plenty in reserve for easy overtaking.
As we know, the GT model Peugeot 508 runs a drop-link dual wishbone front suspension while others use a regular MacPherson strut layout. The GT also scores larger front brakes.
So over the twisty stuff there’s no doubt the Peugeot 508 GT will please enthusiast drivers. The combo of the unique front suspension with its sportier calibration and those 19-inch alloys equipped with excellent Continental tyres provides top-notch dynamics.
Yes the 508 isn’t as harsh as the Germans but that’s a good thing as this is a GT not a GTI. And while the ride was more compliant, that doesn’t mean precisions suffered – the Peugeot 508 GT was definitely more ‘pointy’ than say a Volkswagen Passat.
Not that the 1.6-litre ‘Active’ was second-rate. Far from it – Peugeot has the base model 508 nicely set-up with commendable compliance over bumps and nice response in corners.
Peugeot 508 Issues
An ‘Active’ grade diesel isn’t offered but would be ideal for fleet and commercial buyers.
Peugeot 508 Verdict
We could see a Peugeot 508 GT Touring as a permanent addition to the Car Showroom garage. Yes we like it that much.
Style, technology, value and driving dynamics – the 508 doesn’t short-change in any department. That should come as no surprise as mid-size sedans and wagons are still hot-sellers in Europe.
Where the 508 stands-out in our mind is the style (inside and out) and upmarket look/feel for the interior.
Peugeot 508 The Competition
Curiously Renault is out of play in this league as the Laguna is no longer part of the local lineup. Sham that.
You’ll need a bit more coin for the Volkswagen Passat (starting price $38,990). Make no mistake, despite the conservative looks this is the best Passat so far – Volkswagen’s quality stands-out wherever you look and the engine choice stretches to the awesome 220kW/350Nm 3.6-litre V6.
Skoda Superb could be the most interesting European car sold in Australia. The range is massive – as is the price range (from $38,990 to $52,690). Lots of space, a massive interior and a choice of petrol or diesel engines. Styling…erm may not be to everyone’s tastes.