It’s no secret that, like all non-premium manufacturers today, Peugeot has had a hard time cracking the sedan segment, as buyers are not just edging, but frantically running towards SUVs and crossovers of all shapes and sizes.
Nonetheless, the French brand is giving it another go with a more dynamic interpretation of its mid-size saloon. This time, the 508 has dropped its predecessor’s traditional boot-lid four-door figure for a sleeker and at the same time, more practical, fastback bodystyle.
Peugeot describes the 2018 508 as combining “a bold new low coupé design with the enhanced practicality of five doors” and calls it “a five-door fastback coupé-saloon”. It says its closest rival is the Audi A5 Sportback.
Whatever you call it, the 508 is now much more stylish and sportier looking mid-size saloon than what we’ve come to expect from Peugeot in recent years. It has a bolder face – even though we’re not sure everyone will appreciate those tear-drop accents, sloping roof, frameless doors and a pinched rear end.
The car’s footprint has been reduced compared to the outgoing model, with the new 508 being 80mm shorter at 4,750mm and lower at just 1,400mm. It rides on a slightly shorter 2,750mm wheelbase. Nevertheless, boot space has increased from 473 liters to 485 liters with the liftback also offering a more practical opening.
According to Peugeot, although the front and rear headroom is “comparable to that offered in the Audi A5 Sportback” with which it shares the same length, “the front elbow room reaches 1,455mm, which is 50mm more than in the Audi. Similarly, the rear legroom is 30mm more generous”.
Peugeot’s new flagship model comes equipped all the advanced driver assistance systems you’d expect from a car these days, including a new night vision system, which is new to the segment and uses an infrared camera with the ability to detect pedestrians at night and in cases of reduced visibility.
The 508 sits on PSA’s EMP2 platform that can be found in numerous models, including the Peugeot 5008 SUV and DS7 Crossback, with Peugeot claiming an average weight reduction of 70 kg or 154 pounds over the previous model. It gets an electric power steering and an adaptation of a multi-link rear axle linked to variable-damping controlled suspension on higher end models.
It will be available with a range of five engines at launch, all driving the front-wheels These include two petrols rated at 180PS (177hp) and 225PS (222hp) for the GT, and three diesels producing 130PS (128hp), 160PS (158hp) and 180PS (176hp). With the exception of the 130PS diesel that can be had with a six-speed manual as well, all other engines are offered exclusively with an eight-speed automatic.
Peugeot said that a plug-in hybrid model will be added to the lineup before the end of the year.
Production of the new 508 will take place at PSA’s Mulhouse plant in France, with sales to begin in September. We’ll have the chance to see the 508 for the first time in the flesh at the Geneva Motor Show in March.