Peugeot 508 GT 2019: First drive review

Front and back view of two Peugeot 508 GT 2019 parked infront of bridge

Tim Nicholson

Posted September 28, 2019


Tim Nicholson takes the new Peugeot 508 for a first drive. 

Peugeot has had some ups and downs in its long history in Australia, but the French car-maker is back on track thanks largely to financial backing from its equal-majority shareholder, Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng. After a patchy few years in the early 2000s that included some reliability issues, the brand is refocusing in Australia and is in the midst of a product renaissance that kicked off with the 208 light hatch in 2012 and has more recently seen the arrival of a pair of excellent SUV offerings – the 3008 and 5008.

Revealed at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, the second-generation 508 is a design revelation, blending ultra-modern clean lines, a sports car stance and unique design elements, while also tipping its hat to its past. There is nothing else on the road like it and it follows the bold design of the 3008 and 5008. Peugeot isn’t done either. Wait until you see what the next-gen 208 hatch and 2008 crossover look like.

First impressions:

The new Peugeot 508 liftback and wagon is drop-dead gorgeous, but there is a lot more to this car than its sleek lines.

Front and side view of Peugeot 508 GT

 

Peugeot Citroen Australia managing director Ben Farlow told journalists at the Australian media launch that the 508 will not be a volume car, rather a brand-building flagship model.

In other words, don’t expect a bargain-basement entry-level variant. The 508 is offered as a single, very well specified GT variant priced from $53,990 plus on-road costs for the liftback, which increases by $2000 to $55,990 for the wagon. There are just two options available – a sunroof ($2500) and a choice of metallic ($590) or pearlescent paint ($1050).

The 508 competes with top-spec versions of medium/large cars like the Mazda6, Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat, as well as premium fare from the likes of Volvo, Jaguar, Lexus, Genesis, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Inside, the innovative design continues with Peugeot’s i-Cockpit interior concept. The driver’s eyes are drawn to the all-digital instrument panel which sits higher than the top of the small steering wheel. It’s a polarising concept but we think it works well and Peugeot says it is “proven to reduce driver distraction”.

 

Rear and side view of Peugeot 508 GT

 

The in-cabin tech is impressive, including the 10-inch capacitive touchscreen that sits close to the driver for ease of use, while the abundant comfort features – including massaging front seats – and safety gear more than justify the price tag.

The new model is based on Peugeot’s EMP2 platform that underpins the 308 small car and 3008 and 5008. The new 508 switches from a sedan to a liftback, which has freed up more cargo space and ensured a drop in weight of 70 kilograms compared with the outgoing car. Despite the low-slung sleek proportions, there is ample cabin space in both rows. 

On the road the 508 continues to shine. The 165kW/350Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine delivers power and torque smoothly and can reach the speed limit briskly, without taking your breath away. The new eight-speed auto is slick too. The ride is impressive, soaking up ruts and maintaining its composure on some rough roads, and the 508 handles like a much smaller car. It’s not as nimble as its 308 hatchback stablemate, but it enjoys bends.

Peugeot has crafted another winning model and while it won’t appeal to everyone, the 508 is a unique proposition for people who want to stand out.

Peugeot 508

Price

Price as tested: $55,040 plus on-road costs.
Model range: $53,990 to $55,990 plus on-road costs. 

Drivetrain

1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive.

Power: 165kW@5500rpm.

Torque: 300Nm@2500rpm.

Tyres: 235/45 R18 Y.

Fuel

95 RON petrol, 62-litre tank.

Consumption: 6.3L/100km (government test).

Emissions: 142g/km CO2.

Safety

Five-star ANCAP rating, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane-keep assist, pre-collision warning system, lane centring, autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, driver attention alert.

Features

Nappa leather sports seats, 10-inch high-definition screen, 12.3-inch digital head-up instrument cluster, 10-speaker audio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, electric tailgate with gesture control, driver and passenger heated seats with massage function.

Warranty

Five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. Fixed-price servicing for five years.


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