In-depth reviews

Peugeot 508 review - Engines, performance and drive

The Peugeot 508 is an entertaining drive, yet it’s also comfortable and refined

As befits its sporting looks, the 508 offers a surprisingly involving drive. Perhaps not to the extent that it’s going to trouble a BMW 3 Series, but it’s certainly at the more dynamic end of the spectrum when it comes to the way it drives. 

The 508 is based on the same platform as that of the 3008 SUV, and given that car’s impressive ride you might expect the same to be true of the 508. For the most part, it obliges, but it’s not quite so adept at soaking up lumps and bumps as the SUV.

Peugeot has set up the 508’s suspension to be somewhat firmer than the family-orientated SUV, and as a result, some imperfections are transmitted through to the cabin, especially on models fitted with the largest optional 19-inch alloy wheels. However, it’s by no means uncomfortable and while there’s some low-speed fidget, at motorway speeds the firmer ride comes into its own, soaking up undulations in a well-controlled manner. 

The flipside of the coin is that the firmer set up on the 508 gives far less body roll when cornering. It feels dialled-in to the tarmac, with impressive grip levels. Initially the small steering wheel feels a little odd, but it makes the steering very responsive and gives the 508 an agile nature when compared to the majority of its rivals. The steering is well weighted too and allows you to place the car with precision when driving on flowing back roads.

All the engines feel up to the job, although naturally enough the 1.5-litre diesel doesn’t feel quite as lively as we'd like. Previously, the 1.5-litre diesel could be specified with a manual gearbox, but now all models come with Peugeot’s EAT 8 automatic.

The automatic does work well, shifting between the ratios pretty seamlessly and when changing gears manually with the steering wheel-mounted paddles. The paddles themselves are slightly small, though – you can lose them when cornering enthusiastically – and the gearbox itself can be a little jerky when coming to a stop. 

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

When it comes to the engine line-up for the Peugeot 508, the company has most bases covered, from a frugal and efficient diesel, a petrol model and a plug-in hybrid setup - all using the same eight-speed automatic transmission. The PHEV model is available across all trim lines, with the exception of the entry Active Premium specification.

The 2.0-litre oil-burners, offering either 161bhp or 175bhp are no longer included on the price list, leaving the 128bhp 1.5 BlueHDi diesel - it manages the 0-62mph sprint in 10 seconds, with a 129mph maximum. The petrol 508 has the same 0-62mph time, with a 2mph top speed deficit compared to the diesel version.

Plug-in hybrid power brings together a 1.6-litre petrol engine, along with a 11.8kWh battery which supplies a 108bhp electric motor. Total output is 222bhp, with 0-62mph covered in 8.3 seconds. As you might expect, the Hybid 360 PSE model is the quickest 508 model, dispatching the 0-62mph benchmark in 5.2 seconds.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech Active Premium 5dr EAT8
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £27,225

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 Hybrid Allure Edition 5dr e-EAT8
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £32,500

Fastest

  • Name
    1.6 Hybrid4 Sport Engineered 5dr e-EAT8
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £53,225

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