The new Peugeot 508 proves that few car makers do comfortable and refined family saloons as well as Peugeot.
By Ghaith Madadha
Successor to the Peugeot 607, the 508 re-adopted the “5” nomenclature that served the brand so well in the past. The latest 508, an altogether more sophisticated and refined proposition than its rugged and long-serving 504 forbearer, is a classy, refined, and luxurious sub-premium segment European mid-size saloon.
The freshened-up 508 is popular in lucrative and expanding developing markets, with China alone accounting for 36 percent sales. It was fittingly first unveiled at last year’s Chengdu and Moscow auto expos, before debuting in Paris. The face-lifted 2015 model gains more chiseled aesthetics, streamlined and improved infotainment and technology, new automatic gearbox and improved engines.
Arriving with a new corporate face, the revised 508’s upright fascia, horizontal bonnet, and pronounced bonnet bulge and side ridges look more assertive. Flanking the revised chrome-ringed hexagonal grille are new all-LED headlights. Upper LED strips create a moodier browed impression and tidily bridge the grille and upper body flank crease lines. Above deeper fog lights, lower LED strips taper off to lower body lines. Relocated from a concave bonnet groove, the Peugeot lion emblem now sits in the grille. Rearwards changes include more horizontal light elements, a more defined bumper, prominently sculpted built-in spoiler, and the absence of an upper horizontal chrome strip.
Revised for more power and stringent Euro 6 emissions compliance, this 508’s otherwise familiar direct injection turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine also returns frugal 5.6l/100 km fuel consumption. While 177 lb/ft at 1400 rpm torque remains unchanged, power rises to 163 BHP at 6000 rpm, up from 154 BHP, for 8.9-second 0-100 km/h acceleration and 210 km/h top speed. The THP156 engine is paired with a new smooth concise-shifting electronically-controlled 6-speed automatic gearbox with responsive ‘sport’ mode and steering column-mounted sequential paddle-shifters.
With suspension unchanged, the otherwise revised 508’s delivers excellent highway stability, poise, and ride refinement, and felt settled on vertical rebounds. Its suspension and 215/55R17 tires strike a good balance between comfort and body control. Over various road conditions in Mallorca, Spain, the 508 was maneuverable and supple on all but the sharpest road cracks. Through sprawling B-road switchbacks the 508 turns in and controls body lean, while rear grip was reassuringly dedicated. Its steering isn’t overtly sporty, but did provide a more intuitive and textured feel than many rivals.
With a distinctly classy European ambiance, the 508 features stylish and user-friendly layouts, quality stitched leather upholstery, and comfortable contoured seats with an optional massaging function. Its cabin is accommodatingly spacious, with an alert driving position and well-adjustable seats and steering. Deleting the sunroof option improves headspace, and cabin fit, finish, and textures are above the segment average. Visibility is good, but one tends to look around the thick nearside A-pillar through tight corners.
Along with all LED headlights and new electronically-controlled automatic gearbox, the revised 508 features an enhanced 7” touchscreen, from which infotainment systems are accessed. The new screen replaces many dash and console buttons for a decluttered aesthetic. Enhanced connectivity includes Peugeot Connect Apps, while a retractable smoked screen allows for clear and undistracting HUD display. Optional features include keyless entry and start, reversing camera and parking sensors, quad-zone climate control, automatic headlight dipping, and tire inflation warning. Additionally, the 508 features all-round three-point seatbelts and rear Isofix child seat latches.
Engine: 1.6-liter, turbocharged, direct injection, 4 cylinders
Gearbox: 6 speed automatic, front-wheel-drive
0-100 km/h: 8.9 seconds
Top speed: 210 km/h
Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 163 (165)  @6000 rpm
Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 177 (240) @1400 rpm
Fuel consumption: 5.6 liters/100 km
CO2 emissions: 130 g/km
Fuel capacity: 72 liters