It’s been a while since we have been exposed to a bigger Peugeot that isn’t an MPV. With the 508, Peugeot has blended an upmarket feel with real elegance that deserves a look from those who prefer something a bit out of the ordinary in a sedan.
Our Southern Cape launch route showed off the 508 as a relaxed long-distance cruiser on the quieter back roads. Yet when the going got twisty it didn’t lose any of that composure. The car’s balance is superb, at least the equal of some more snooty makes, and the performance from the 2,0-litre Four is entirely up to the job. Interior fit and finish are top-class, too.
Of course, style and competence alone don’t necessarily cut it if you’re aiming for the Establishment. In addition to its aim of providing a credible alternative to the German brands, Peugeot is also targeting the marque’s poor local resale value. And on top of all that the 508 features a generous quota of high-tech. In the GT, besides all the usual exu-toys, the driver gets powered lumbar massage seating and a colour Head-Up Display (optional on other derivatives), offered in conjunction with sat-nav. There’s also a JBL high-performance audio system.
The South African distributors expect modest sales of about 40 a month, with four versions being offered at launch. There are three engines: a 1.6 THP in manual or auto, a 2,0 HDi manual and a 2.2 HDi Auto in the flagship GT model. Besides the 150 kW and 450 N.m output of the 2,2 engine the GT also gets double wishbone suspension in front. It’s sleek and efficient, too, with a drag coefficient quoted at 0,26.
One model we won’t be getting is the wagon version: South Africa just isn’t wagon territory, says new local MD Francis Harnie. That’s a pity, because if anything the wagon is even better looking than the sedan. What’s more, it comes with the innovative Hybrid4 diesel hybrid 4×4 drivetrain launched towards the end of last year on Peugeot’s 3008.
Prices range from R283 700 to R409 900, which includes a 5year/ 100 000 km maintenance plan.
Wallpapers: Visit New on the Block (February 2012 issue of PM) to download wallpapers of selected cars.