New Peugeot 508 is a fantastic saloon with french charm and the right cards to play the Germans

It was 2010 when the rules changed after two Peugeot models were killed off: the 607, which was almost completely based on the 605 model from 1989, and the 407, which seemed like it was roaming between segments in an attempt to get into the wallets of two social strata. It wasn’t like Peugeot roamed around wearing blindfolds, though. This was more of an attempt at creating a global trend founded on personal identity; however, Peugeot couldn’t find its ground when it came to cars whose length was more than 4,5 meters (177 inches).

Mind you, Peugeot wasn’t the only one, as similar strategies were employed by Volvo, Renault, and even Ford. And then they were back with another attempt – one car that would be interesting to those in need of a spacious family car, but also those who were in search for a business saloon or the second best thing at least. As the wheelbase for the 607 was 2.800 mm (110.23 in), and 2.725 mm (107.28 in) for the 407, Peugeot found itself in uncharted territories in 2010 given that its 508 (albeit shorter than the 607), had a wheelbase of 2.817 mm.

So, the two generations of the 508 model found its way to more than 400,000 buyers in Europe alone. Despite steadily declining sales figures, Peugeot wasn’t ready to euthanize the model. Instead, the company decided to cut the administrative costs, and adequately entice its designers and engineers. They came up with a new product and Peugeot revealed it in March 2018 at the Geneva International Auto Show as the new 508.

Exterior

  • LEDs formed as lion claws
  • It is not a standard saloon, but a sort of a four-door coupe
  • 508 has frameless doors for an ultimate sporty appearance
  • It measures just over 55 inches in height
  • Smartly introduced retro design cues
2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Exterior
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The new saloon managed to wow even those who are after the avant-garde. The Instinct concept hinted at the freedom of designers, and then product and technology development were given all the green lights they might require. Nowadays, we witness a high-volume 475 cm (187 in) long product that attracts the attention of even those who consider a car to be nothing more than a piece of machinery that will comfortably and safely get you from place A to place B.

And it’s true...the brand new Peugeot 508 in its high volume disguise still looks like a concept from an auto show that somehow found its way to city streets.

The saloon silhouette is nothing new, but in this instance, Peugeot made it its own as a testament to originality.

Huge 19-inch wheels and a fairly low silhouette (1.40 meters / 55.12 inches) are the keys to success. This architecture is more focused on appearance than practical application. Thus, this isn’t your traditional three-box design or sedan, although the basic architecture does, indeed, remind of a sedan. Just for good measure, Peugeot made sure that the 508 has frameless doors, and it’s not the only such model. This is a feature that normally adorns sports coupes or convertibles.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Exterior
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This is one of the reasons why we would put this four-door coupe and its epochal design on the list of the most attractive instances of coupes. With the 508, the French company proclaimed it wants its share of the pie in a market usually dominated by its eastern neighbors. There’s no doubt whatsoever that the management decided to play the design card, as the 508 is, almost unanimously, one of the most attractive cars of today, both in its segment and maybe even outside its boundaries.

Granted, it’s getting more and more difficult to stand out so every effort should be rewarded or at least applauded.

One of those efforts came from engineers in charge of optical and electronic technology who instilled new life in the form of LED technology. The front part of the car was re-born. Elegant thin and long lines now decorate almost every car of our time and car manufacturers use them to enhance the character of their products and looks that stand out in the masses. Don’t look further than the 508.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Exterior
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Whether it was the result of market research, or the bold choice of one of the designers who was inspired by majestic wild cats, it’s not important. What’s important are the LED daytime running lights that complete this car and make it a true gem. Upright needle-like daytime running lights remind of a lion’s claw or a fang if you will. These lights serve to frame the entire mask – the mask does not have one dominant element, every feature is equally dominant - the front grille with the massive bumper and the headlights. The rear end is not as dramatic as the profile or the front, but there’s no denying that the front light graphic is original. The shape not so much, as we already saw a similar shape coming from the far-far east, namely from Lexus.

Peugeot 508 exterior dimensions
Length: 4,750 mm/187 in
Width: 1,859 mm/73.2 in
Height: 1,403 mm/5.27 in
Wheelbase: 2,796 mm/110 in

Interior

  • Innovative cockpit approach with small steering wheel
  • Instrument cluster positioned above the steering wheel
  • Carbon-fiber imitation
  • Cool futuristic gear selector
  • 478 liters of cargo capacity
  • 32 liters of space in storage spaces inside the cabin
2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Interior
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Although the 508 is a completely new car, with a new philosophy and concept, one might find recognizable shapes and details on the inside, perhaps even all too well familiar. You can find recognizable corporate details wherever you lay your eyes, especially in the cockpit. This is a remnant of Peugeot’s SUVs and crossovers. Peugeot announced its farewell from MPVs and the beginning of its own SUV design policy for almost all segments. Judging by the sales figures, Peugeot is doing well so it’s evident that the company made the right decision, both regarding their philosophy but also the inside of the 508.

If you got used to Peugeot ‘s innovative cockpit approach, you’ll be fine.

Peugeot has been using the so-called Peugeot i-Cockpit since 2012. Rest assured you’ll have full visibility – the steering wheel is smaller, sporty and with two flat sides. All details are somehow recognizable as all cars produced by Groupe PSA have similar if not the same elements. Above the steering wheel, you can find a digital instrument cluster (12.3 inches) and it is completely adaptable and packs several options for showing all driving parameters. Apart from this one, there’s another touchscreen (10 inches, 8:3 ratio) in the center of the console. This touchscreen can be used to control a majority of technical driving variables. A majority, not all of them, as some can only be controlled by good old-fashioned mechanical buttons and switches.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Interior
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The entire console is interesting and unusual. The upper part of it is moved towards the windshield virtually making a sort of a shelf. It is not a usable shelf tough. The console was designed with beauty in mind. Unfortunately, Peugeot made one choice the 508 could do without, the plastic that was used only has an imprint of carbon so it sadly gives off a cheap imitation vibe.

The rest of the cockpit also flirts with extravagant designer ideas.

The automatic gear lever, essentially gear selector, completes the futuristic ambiance, but it’s not present inside this Peugeot model alone. The same story goes for the seats as their shape is slowly becoming a Peugeot trademark it seems. There’s no denying that the seats hug the body, but they could use a couple of inches more for taller drivers. Or, you can simply choose the adjustable seats if you need to. It is an option, of course. The rear seats are no different, but there’s ample space for the passengers’ knees. The new platform, used for a number of Peugeot, Citroen, and Toyota cars, ensures a shorter wheelbase (2.793 millimeters / 109.96 inches) compared to the predecessor, but a redesign of the interior layout led to a bit more usable space in the cabin.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Interior
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Due to the shape of the body, it’s easier to access the front seats than it is the back seats. One has to take into account the sloping roofline that goes all the way to the trunk. Having a coupe body always required special attention when accessing the rear seats. It’s just the way it is. However, once you’ve settled, you can leave all worries aside.

The profile clearly shows that the sloping roofline ends with a boot lid. This makes the 508 a sedan, but not a proper one. It’s not a proper sedan because its real boot lid is located way above the rear windshield. This makes it possible for the boot lid to open until it reaches the point where the rear windshield meets the roof. It’s a cave of sorts, but it did not beat any records with its 478-liter cargo capacity – some lower segment cars offer more cargo capacity. It seems like the issue lies within the depth of the trunk, as the other two dimensions hint at ample cargo space and endless opportunities for hauling of all sorts.

Drivetrain and Driving Impressions

  • 2.0-liter diesel engine with 177 horsepower feels adequate
  • Well insulated from any sounds coming from outside
  • Incredibly polished, almost unnoticeable 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Will do 32 mpg in the city, and you could crack 60 mpg on an open road and with a light right foot
  • Full of high-tech bits including Night Vision that costs more than $1,500
  • Don’t be afraid to grab it by the scruff of its neck and drive it fast on the back roads, it will reward you
2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Drivetrain
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You can focus all of your attention to the more important element of a car as soon as you press start. The 508 will pull with ease regardless of the gear selected. Obviously, we had the two-liter turbo diesel engine with 180HP to thank for that, but also the excellent eight-speed automatic transmission. But, first things first.

This 508, although created using a lighter platform, weighs over a ton and a half when empty.

If we add passengers and some cargo, we get to two tons in a beat. That’s not something to disregard. The weight is of the utmost importance when it comes to performance, and the engine is the second most important factor. A two-liter engine with 177 horsepower on tap. That’s also not something to disregard, but 400 Nm of torque at 2.000 rpm will do most of the work. Judging by what we usually need on the road, we can safely say there’s not a lot of need for going all the way up to 2.000. If need be, the 508 will pull till it reaches 3.000 rpm. Thanks to this, the 508 will go from 60 to 100 km/h (37mph to 62mph) in slightly over 6 seconds, and from 80 to 120 km/h (50 mph to 75 mph) in just shy of 7 seconds. The 19-inch wheels guarantee it will behave safely during sharp turns. You can also choose your preferred suspension stiffness to improve dynamics.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Drivetrain
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Next to the gear lever, you’ll find a button that gives you ECO/Sport/Comfort/Normal options to choose from. On the other hand, it’s best to have a slightly smaller wheel diameter and a slightly larger tire profile. Just for the sake of comfort, I feel that 18-inch wheels will do just as good. The so-called Night Vision feature will also be of help. This system uses an infrared camera and it projects images on the display, and at night it can spot other cars and even pedestrians you might have failed to spot. It’s not cheap ($1,500+), so you can do without it.

Driving this car with the eight-speed transmission is an amazing experience.

The eight-speed transmission is not a novelty in itself, but we are somehow more used to five or six-speed transmissions. The first and eight gears are actually the same as in cars with ordinary (5- or 6-speed) transmissions but it’s the in-between that counts. The gear change is barely noticeable. It happens simply, quietly and without any twitches whatsoever. Kind of eerie when you think about it. That is the point – to have a car so sophisticated that you cannot feel what it does when it does it.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Interior
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This is really important when you hammer up some backroads on the hills. And you will because this is a low car with inviting vigour and sporty grunt. That is the moment when the new Peugeot feels like a proper European sweetheart. It is not wobbly, nor does it feel as heavy as its predecessor. The lower center of gravity means that you feel far better connected to the road. It may be that the old one could provide a similar performance, but the thing is that with the new one you feel far better and in control doing some barely legal driving than you would ever in the first 508.

One strong recommendation – if you choose to change your gears manually – do it at high rpm and without any hesitation. Hammer down the gas pedal and the 508 will reward you. It really does not feel that it is just a pretty face, although it shares many tech traits with ordinary cars.

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Exterior
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Once you have explored all the driving options the 508 has to offer, after you have located all the USB ports (there’s four of them) and found all the 12-volt outlets, only then can you enjoy the comfort and beauty of the car.

Feel free to manually change the gears using the levers behind the steering wheel, but you will soon come to realize all the achievements of 21st century, and you will let go of the unnecessary details such as torque count and even the sound of the engine which you barely recognize.

You will let go of some of your belongings as well – they will be lost in compartments all over the cabin, which provided 32 liters of cargo volume combined.

We could not achieve the promised 3.9 l/100 km (60.1 mpg) fuel efficiency of the diesel engine, but the difference was not that bad. In terms of urban fuel consumption, the average figure was around 7l/100km (33.6 mpg). Really good.

Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 specifications
Engine: diesel, 1.997 ccm
Horsepower: 177 horsepower at 3.750 rpm
Torque: 400 Nm at 2.000 rpm
Combined fuel consumption: 4.7 l/100 km (50 mpg)
CO2 emission: 124 grams/km
Emission standard: Euro 6.2
Weight: 1,535 kilograms/3,384 pounds
Trunk Capacity: 487 liters
Reservoir: 55 liters
0-62 mph 8.3 seconds
37mph to 62mph 6.09 seconds
50mph to 75 mph 7.27 seconds

Prices

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Exterior
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The Peugeot 508 Allure starts at 34,950 euros ($38,500) in Germany, however, the price can grow swiftly after you choose this fantastic diesel engine and opt for stuff like Night Vision, tinted windows, 19-inch wheels, or keyless entry. At close to 45,000 euros ($49,600), our 508 has entered a price bracket of some premium cars. I am not sure I can say that it is not deserved.

Competition

Volkswagen Passat

2016 Volkswagen Passat High Resolution Exterior
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The Volkswagen Passat is something like Coca-Cola for European D-segment buyers. If you can’t make a decision and don’t know what to buy, then you just go for a Volkswagen Passat. It is reason-proof, depreciation-proof, and fairly reliable. This is, however you cut it, the main Peugeot 508 nemesis. Now, the Passat is a duller car compared to the new 508. It does not have a sloping roofline, frameless doors, or the alien-looking interior, but it feels like a class apart with the tech. Available in numerous trims, and with basically all tech options a conglomerate like Volkswagen can offer, the Passat may even feel like a better deal. But, as I said, it is nowhere as fun, as bold, nor does it have the road presence of the 508. It is just a car. Or as Volkswagen would have said some time ago – it is Das Auto.

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Passat

Skoda Superb

Images
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Spruced from the same tech bracket as the Passat, the new-generation Skoda Superb did two things – it became a bit less of an oddball than it was in its first two generations and introduced the high-tech systems in the world of Skoda. Compared to the latest 508, it is far bigger (four inches longer) and taller. Yet, its 2.0-liter TDI engine has 10 horsepower more compared to the one in the 508. It is available with a proper 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, and when you couple all that with the DSG, so it is quicker than our 508 tester as well. It will do 62 mph in less than 8 seconds compared to 8.3 seconds that our car needed. Again, I am afraid it is not as fun, or quirky as the Peugeot 508.

Opel Insignia

2017 Opel Insignia Grand Sport High Resolution Exterior
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The Opel Insignia, or as Americans know it – the Buick Regal, is the biggest car in this lot. In its wagon form, it is almost 5 meters long. While looking quite nice, it is hard to hide the fact that the Opel Insignia is the most family-friendly car on this little list. The new 508 really seems like a polar opposite to it with its low roofline, frameless doors, and the form that largely follows the shapes associated with sporty executive sedans, not family cars.

As expected, the Opel Insignia is of the same breed as the Peugeot 508. It has FWD, a transversely mounted engine, and small, turbocharged powerplant options. The only thing is that this car can receive a V-6, as evidenced by the Regal and the Commodore. Nevertheless, the 508 attacks completely different buyers – younger with a keen sense for design.

Read our full review on the Opel Insignia

Conclusion

2019 Peugeot 508 Allure 2.0 BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8 Driven Exterior
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Peugeot played the feelings card with this car, there’s no doubt about it. Nowadays, cars aren’t sold by their horsepower count or torque. Today, display size and smartphone connectivity take precedence. With the 508, the body of the car is a major contributing factor as well.

Thanks to this, the 508 offers a spiritual driving experience. When you see the very same 508 approaching you and greeting you by blinking its lights, you can’t help but feel amazing. It is an exciting time at Peugeot right now. The company prepares to return the U.S. market where it will start selling its cars at the earliest in 2026. I am sure that some of you would enjoy driving one of these on the U.S. roads, but I am afraid that you will have to wait for almost a decade. Nevertheless, if the new 508 taught us anything is that Peugeot does not joke around anymore. It is in the business of fatal attraction with the 508. If only they aced the reliability thing, and solved the extreme depreciation issues. The 508 is a definite step in the right direction.

Further reading

Peugeot 508 First Edition Shows its Teeth in Geneva; Sets its Sights on the Volkswagen Passat Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot 508.

2019 Peugeot 508 SW GT
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Peugeot 508 GT.

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