Peugeot 508

Broad new face for Peugeot’s flagship

JEZ SPINKS

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

PEUGEOT has given the 508 its first makeover, three years after it replaced the unmemorable 407 and 607.

But, sadly, those updates don’t extend to its suspension.

While the 508 remains on a petite list of recent Pugs capable of fairly supple motorway progress, the word ‘plush’ escapes this context once again.

However, additional comfort can be found in other ways with the 2015 refresh. As part of a model range repositioning, extra equipment has been added that is worth more than the price increases introduced. The entrylevel Active benefits the most, jumping $1000 to $37,990 but gaining features valued at $4000.

Settling into the 508’s relaxing driver’s seat, you now look at a 7.0-inch touchscreen (rather than a small, monochromatic rectangle of Casio calculator fonts) that includes standard sat-nav and a rear-view camera. Blind-spot monitoring and a head-up display are also in the mix if you step up to the $45,990 Allure (HUD optional) or the $58,490 GT.

Cabin storage remains a weak point, and the 508’s design would welcome an injection of the sophisticated minimalism of the superb 308. There are still too many buttons, including those for key functions that make the touch aspect of the touchscreen seem redundant at times.

Paddleshift levers are also new, and worth using in the petrol-only Active that now features a more powerful and more economical 1.6-litre turbo four. They’re the best way to enjoy this refined and rorty unit, which now has 121kW.

Official combined fuel use has been reduced by 1.3L/100km to 5.8, effectively removing consumption as a point of difference for the alternative turbo-diesels, which are 5.7L/100km for both the 2.0-litre (Allure) and 2.2-litre (GT). You would instead pick these for their greater ability to tackle inclines or overtake with less effort, though only the GT is quicker than the petrol in the 0-100 stakes: 8.2sec versus 8.9 (2.0 diesel: 9.2sec).

Steering is likeably linear across the 508 range, although the GT – featuring double A-arms up front instead of lesser model’s struts – remains the choice for keen drivers who aren’t tempted by the Mazda 6, Mondeo or Commodore.

Ride quality is no worse on the GT’s 19-inch wheels than the 17s of the base car, though the same road rumble and inability to take the edge off all bumps remains.

Smarter-looking inside and out, what lets the 508 down is its links to Peugeot’s recent past rather than the superior, lighter-weight, new-generation future that has already turned the 308 into a star. re) uld ir

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Peugeot 508 Active 1598cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 121kW @ 6000rpm 240Nm @ 1400-4000rpm 6-speed automatic 1410kg 8.9sec (claimed) 5.8L/100km $37,990 Now

PLUS & MINUS

Underdamped front suspension of regular models; road noise Dynamics in GT guise; smooth steering; spacious cabin; extra gear

Exalted design

THE style of the 508’s overhauled front end, with LED daytime running lights, edgier-looking headlights and a sleeker grille with centremounted lion, was inspired by the Exalt concept car. Peugeot also aimed to bring a more horizontal look to the bonnet, adding 16mm to the front overhang. The rear overhang is also greater, by 22mm, but there’s no extra room inside.

Still, the 508 provides plenty of space ahead of the knees and above the head for a sixfooter riding in the back.