Test Drive: Peugeot 508 SW PSE: so many promises

The Peugeot style department undoubtedly achieved what they wanted with this 508.  During our test of the 508 PSE everyone told us: « it looks like a German car ». It’s true that this estate looks the part and promising in Selenium Grey, featuring small winglets on the sides of the front and rear bumpers, not forgetting its 20 inch wheels which reveal the kryptonite yellow calipers.

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By the way, these are the new colours of the Peugeot Sport Engineered (PSE) brand. They will also feature on the hypercar lined up by the French brand for the next 24 Hours of Le Mans race. To be more accurate, this will rather be in 2023, taking into account a change in tyres size technical regulations that delayed things. The connection is obvious and yet… Inside, it’s still the same : nothing has changed since the 508 launch back in 2018. The small steering wheel and head-up display are some of the car’s trademarks… and you eventually get used to them. Fit and finish are quite impressive but  we can’t help regret Peugeot didn’t go a bit further to differenciate this version from the rest of the range, even though yellow touches abound inside (The steering wheel crest and its double stitching or the specific door sills coverplates …).

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I like it

The driving position is quite good with the lavishly trimmed seats low down. The upholstery is a mix of leather and Alcantara. Both front seats are powered, heated and will massage both occupants while position memory is only available on the driver’s side. They are supportive enough and the integrated headrest is nicely designed. The centre console wraps around the driver and imbues a feeling of total control. Unfortunately, your right knee will hit it during spirited driving moments. At the rear, space is limited but still more than adequate for an estate of this segment. Boot volume is 530 litres and the use of an electric motor on the rear axle doesn’t rob it of any space.

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Quite clever

Peugeot really knows how to deliver a great chassis and finely rated suspensions. This 508 PSE is no exception : its road holding is up there with the very best in class. Dampers have three adjustment levels : Electric, Comfort and Sport. This means suspension is rather firm and the body doesn’t move about too much. It’s very subtle and progressive, bringing real comfort as well. In any case, the 360 hp maimum power and the 520 Nm torque delivered in Sport mode are handled in the most adequate way.

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I don’t like it

On paper figures might be impressive but the feeling behind the wheel is rather far from it. Of course, the power is real when accelerating in a straight line, but as you approach the first few bends, you feel disconnected from the steering and brakes. Even more so as the car weights 1950 kg. We would have loved to play with steering settings as we felt it was too firm in Sport mode. Perhaps this would have allowed us to make the car suit our needs a bit better. Eventually, we were left with a strange feeling, like there was something missing : as if this 508 should have been called GT-Line and not PSE…

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Why I buy it

The 508 PSE looks great and we can say that the French carmaker’s designers managed to give it some character. Of course, the small winglets on the bumpers may put a laugh on your face but this reminds us of the aerodynamic design of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race cars.  Peugeot should make its comeback there soon. The interior is very nicely appointed with top-of-the-range materials. However, some pieces of plastic trim were already making some noise in our 15,000-mile test car. The hybrid lump delivers impressive power and really puts the car on the map against its German rivals. For the time being, these leave the green aspect aside when it comes to designing their sportiest models.

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Why I don’t buy it

This car is really good… until you get to the first bend : the feeling behind the wheel won’t allow you to take full advantage of the car’s potential and that’s a real shame. Of course, the chassis and the running gear are perfectly tuned, but it badly lacks any excitement. Starting from € 67,823 doesn’t do this French car any favours and that probably explains why there are so few of them on our roads. As far as fuel consumption is concerned, we got 8.0 l/100 km on average during our test. Full electric range is rather modest (25 km maximum). A 43 litre tank capacity also means regular visits to petrol stations forecourts. (Pictures in the snow: Rodney Noebert – Pictures of the cockpit: Pierre Fontignies – Translation: Dimitri Urbain)

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