Peugeot 508

By Ghaith Madadha

First introduced in 2010 as a replacement for the ageing 607 saloon, the 508 reclaimed a nomenclature that has served it well in the past. An altogether more sophisticated and refined European midsize saloon, the 508 is - like its distant but legendarily rugged 504 predecessor - proving popular in developing markets.

With China alone accounting for 36 percent of 508 sales, the freshened up mid-life facelift was fittingly and simultaneously unveiled at the Chengdu and Moscow auto expos, before its European debut at the Paris Motor Show. Tidied and toned up, the 2015 model year face-lifted 508 gains more chiseled aesthetics, streamlined and improved infotainment and technology, new automatic gearbox and improved engines. 

With more upright fascia, horizontal bonnet and pronounced bonnet bulge and side ridges, the refreshed 508 looks more assertive and debuts a new corporate face. A revised chrome-ringed hexagonal grille is flanked with new all-LED headlights, with an upper LED strip lending a moodier browed appearance and neatly bridging the grille and upper side character line. Lower LED strips sit above deeper fog lights and extend to lower character lines. The Peugeot emblem is relocated from its formerly concave bonnet groove to the grille, while with more horizontal light elements and defined bumper, the smartened up rear features a more prominent built-in spoiler, as the horizontal upper chrome strip is ditched.

Retuned for extra power, fuel efficiency and stringent Euro 6 emissions compliance, the revised Peugeot 508 THP165's direct injection turbocharged 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine develops 165HP at 6000rpm - up from 156HP - while 240 Nm torque at 1400rpm is unchanged. With little turbo lag, the 508 pulls meaningfully from under 2000rpm and becomes lively by 2500rpm. Confidently flexible, the 508's generous mid-range underwrites top-end power accumulation. Refined and quiet, the 508's engine is mated to a new electronically-controlled 6 speed automatic gearbox with smoothly concise shifts, more responsive 'sport' mode and fixed steering column-mounted sequential paddle shifters. With its driveline revisions, the THP165 covers 0-100km/h in 8.9-seconds, tops 210km/h and returns frugal 5.6l/100km combined fuel consumption.

Unchanged, the revised 508's chassis provides excellent highway stability, poise and ride refinement, and its suspension and 215/55R17 tires finding a happy medium between comfort and body control. Over a broad range of roads in Mallorca, Spain, the 508 was maneuverable in town and comfortably supple over all but the sharpest cracks or bumps. At home on motorways and sprawling country lanes, the 508 turns in tidily unless turning too fast or abrupt on narrow snaking roads, while rear grip was reassuringly dedicated. Taking undulations and rougher textures in its stride, the 508 rides smoothly and is settled on rebound. Light steering is comfortable but is nevertheless more intuitive feeling than many rivals.

Classy inside, the 508's distinctly European ambiance features stylish and user-friendly layouts, quality stitched leather upholstery and supportively bolstered but comfortably contoured seats with lumbar support and optional massaging function. Well spaced inside, the 508's seat and steering adjustability allow an alert driving position, while deleting the sunroof option improves rear headspace. Quality cabin material, fit and textures are above the segment average. Visibility was generally good, but one tended to look around the thick nearside A-pillar through tight corners. A rear armrest and manual side-rear and rear screens were welcome, while console storage box is well sized. Other console spaces are shallow, but a 515 liter boot with split-folding rear seats is generous.

In addition to all-LED headlights and a new electronically-controlled gearbox, the new 508 features an enhanced 7" touchscreen, from which one accesses most infotainment systems. Intuitive and with shortcuts, the new screen allows the dash and console to be de-cluttered from excess buttons. Enhanced connectivity utilizes Peugeot Connect Apps while an HUD display uses a small retractable smoked screen for better visibility and to prevent distraction. Tech systems include keyless entry and start, reversing camera and parking sensors, quad-zone climate control, automatic headlight dipping, tire inflation warning and blind spot warning system, depending on specification. Less high tech but more fundamental, the 508 features all-round three-point seatbelts and rear Isofix child seat latches.

The mainstream 508 variant for the Middle East region, the petrol-powered automatic gearbox saloon is an elegant, economical, refined and practical choice. However, it was the manual gearbox and estate body SW which most impressed. Arguably better looking and more flowingly designed, the SW is also more practical, with better rear headroom and cargo area access. With more massive luggage capacity, the SW's 550 to 1598 liter capacity eclipses the saloon's already generous 515 to 959 liters. With light clutch and precise shifter satisfyingly clicking between ratios, the 6 speed manual gearbox was the more engaging. Gelling well with a capable chassis, the manual version provided a fluent, intuitive and rewarding drive through countryside switchbacks.


Engine: 1.6 liter, turbocharged, direct injection, 4 cylinders
Gearbox: 6 speed automatic, front-wheel-drive
0-100km/h: 8.9 seconds
80-120km/h: 5.8 seconds
Top speed: 210 kph
Power: 165 hp
Torque: 240 Nm
Fuel consumption: 5.6 liters/100km
Weight: 1410kg

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