Peugeot 508: A little French Kissin

508_1007PC011

508: A posh French Kiss.

We spent a week with the stunning Peugeot 508 GT. Yes I said stunning. I know stunningness has been missing from the Peugeot line up in recent times. Until the gorgeous RCZ turned up you would be forgiven for thinking that the designers were on holiday leaving the kids in charge. Now the 508 follows in the sexy trend set by the gorgeous RCZ and takes Peugeot into a new world of desire and pleasure and naughtiness. Even the 308 has had its front end de-uglified. Things are going very well at the house of the Rampant Lion so let’s get the keys and get the 508 onto the tarmac.

508_1009STYLE_02

 

OUTSIDE

The simple lines are elegant and tasteful. The rear end sits high but the light hand of the designer has kept the adornment simple too. The lights sweep diagonally up and over the side to give a little illumination in the side as well as the back. The front too has a light touch. Gone is the gaping mouth grill and instead something entirely more understated and classic. The headlight array is high tech with the light looking like something off the Enterprise D. The GT does score a few embellishments that the lower models don’t have but it doesn’t detract from a stylish concept for the whole model range. I particularly like the mirror mounted indicators and puddle lights.

The GT gets big fat wheels the size of Tasmania on low sleek tyres and our test car had the optional 19”ers. I’m told he had borrowed the bosses car so there were a few extra bells and whistles installed. I don’t think I’d like to be the one cleaning them though. Peugeot tell me there have been a fistful of extra quality control points along the production line and this really shows. There is no doubt about the vastly improved standard Peugeot now holds itself to. There is a nice solid feel, and although the metal doesn’t quite look as futuristic and gangster-like as the drawings, its nonetheless gorgeous.

The keyless entry gives you the option of simply lifting the door handle to unlock the car as touching the inside of the doorhandle activates the mechanism. To lock, caress the grooved pad on the outside the door handle and like magic, the lights flash and bobs-your-uncle. As with all proximity keys, the range shortens considerably as the battery dies which is annoying in a lonely carpark at night, in the dark? You can just press the buttons on the key if you like. The Peugeot system is very easy to get used to.

INSIDE27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com

27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com - FOR PEUGEOT AUSTRALIA 2011

The keyless entry also means you don’t need a key to start or stop the engine. That’s done just by a gentle caress of the large friendly button to bring her to life. The HUD (heads up display) rises from the dash board and the instruments and infotainment systems awaken. There’s even a gentle light wrapping around the gear knob. At night the whole cabin is bathed in a soft warm glow that seems to hug you gently. The electric leather seats are firm and supportive but I miss my old Peugeot seats which were huge and super-soft. They were so comfy it was like sitting in a post lounge room. 508_1007PC008

 

The quality of the fittings and design inside is another quantum leap in both quality and ergonomics. And in a touch to make my heart truly leap with joy, those pesky and rather silly auxiliary control stalks have been banished to the “unsuccessful Trials” bin. The new steering wheel controls are laid out in a way that’s easy to use without having to read the manual every 5 minutes unlike some infotainment systems which require advanced degrees to operate. My only beef was I simply could not get the Ipod function to work. The streaming option always played from the same spot and couldn’t be advanced and the USB option didn’t seem to have any controls. I have no doubt it was user error but the most important requirement f the infotainment system is ease of use. No amount of cursing made any difference. I wasn’t fussed on the sound either. I seemed unable to get much base out of it. Again it was no doubt user error but an incredibly annoying thing not to be able to sort out.

The Dash and instruments have a crisp new look. The siting of the infotainment screen means everyone can see it clearly but under the screen sit 2 concealed cup holders. I’m all for cup holders but they’re sitting directly above all those lovely electronic controls which makes me slightly nervous. I gave them a whirl but the thought of my freshly brewed coffee spilling down the shiny new console was too much and the idea was abandoned fairly quickly.

The rear seaters have their own controls for the quad zone air and an extra power outlet to keep your iPhone alive and kicking. The back has a surprising amount of room. The roof might make you think that the head room might be tight but there is plenty of room. We had the usual 4 beefy lads onboard all of whom are around 183cms and none was pushed for space which is something you can’t say about the previous model.

Peugeot tell me they want to aim the base model (E-hdi) at the fleet buyers, a market hitherto untapped by any of the French car makers in Australia. Most foreign brands cost far too many bikkies to have in the garage of a mere businessman unless of course you’re the exec with a 100k car allowance paid for by the tax payers.

The Drive

Car makers are reducing the size of the engines but increasing the power thus is the magic contained in the box of tricks that is modern technology. The GT has a 150KW 2.2 Diesel. You would be very lucky to find a second hand diesel older than 6 years old but as petrol went up in price and, we became greenies looking for a more efficient mode of transport. This weekend the e10 petrol was around $1.50 a litre so the frugality of an oil burner looks pretty damned good. Is it any good though? Yes it is. Peugeot have been making diesels since the early days. I remember a certain 505 Turbo-diesel that had a great deal of trouble pulling the skin off a custard. An anaemic 70KW 4 pot pulling an 1800kilo car around simply didn’t cut the mustard. The 508 is 200 kilos lighter and has more than twice as much power. That says it all really.

The 6sp auto is extremely smooth and responsive. I used the paddle shifters in through those tight mountain passes and left it in sports the rest of the time. After all that it still returned brilliant fuel figures and I struggle to think why Holden haven’t stuck a gorgeous little diesel like this in a Commodore.

The power off the mark makes the GT feel faster than it is, not that there is anything wrong with 8.2 secs 0-100kp. The GT scores double wishbones up front. Does it make a difference? It certainly drives like a smaller sportier car, the Allure wagon felt far less responsive in the steering. It wasn’t terrible by any means but the GT feels brilliant.

Before you ask, yes we took the GT south of Sydney to the fabulous Grand Pacific Drive. The mix of tighter than tight corners, breathtaking straights through heavily forested stretches of coastline, and goat tracks clinging to cliff tops, are the perfect place to show any errant tendencies. This is the same road where only a few weeks before the RCZ had excelled itself. Despite the fact the 508 is a large 4 door executive saloon, it handled the road likes a sports car. The Europeans have a certain something in their DNA that other makers just can’t duplicate. Perhaps it’s the fact that fuel costs almost twice as much in Europe as it does in Australia, or the brilliant high speed roads to be found all over the continent, but they manage more power and better handling from smaller engines with better economy. On the highway the big 508 sips only 4.4 l/100k with a combined average of only 5.5l/100k. Of course the 72L tank is going to cost 100 bucks to fill but going on 4.4l/100k you would expect around 1,600 kilometres on a trip. That’s Sydney to Brisbane and back to around Newcastle before you have to top up the tank. Imagine what the Ehdi will do!

Conclusion

There are far too many things I could say about this fabulous great looking car, but we would still be here in a month talking about it so let’s not do that. Let’s instead talk about the price which starts at around 36k. The GT is around $52,000 but the upgraded infotainment system includes the Satnav and centre console control system. I am saying this more and more these days that the Satnav systems from the car makers are becoming better and better. This is mainly because of the inclusions in the package such as upgraded controls and easier to use Bluetooth integration. Most makers charge around 4 grand for the privilege but that is becoming a better deal every day.

After the catastrophically ugly 407, I really wanted the 508 to be brilliant, and it is. I’d have one!

 

Engine

cyl

fuel

aspir

Perf

trans

Co2

price

2.2L

4

diesel

Turbo

8.2 0-100

6sp auto

150 gms 52,990

* price range from $36,990 to $52,990 excluding extras like Satnav

 

27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com - FOR PEUGEOT AUSTRALIA 2011508_1007PC016508_1007PC019508_1007PC020508_1007PC013508_1007PC015508_1007PC010508_1007PC004508_1007PC003508_1007PC00227/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com - FOR PEUGEOT AUSTRALIA 201127/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 508_2010_124_FR.img508_1101NC00827/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 508SW_1007PC007508SW_1007PC012508SW_1007PC013508SW_1007PC017508SW_1007PC018508SW_1007PC014508SW_1101NC010508sw_2010_jfb146508SW_1007PC022508SW_1007PC035image_80035_19455872508_2010_112_FR.img508SW_1101NC011508_2010_199_ACC.img508sw_1007PC001508SW_1007PC002508SW_1007PC005508SW_1007PC006508_2010_126_FR.img508GT1508_1101NC007508_1009STYLE_03508_1009STYLE_05508_1007PC0281508_1009STYLE_01508_1007PC022508_1007PC023508_1007PC026508_1007PC027508_1007PC021

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6 thoughts on “Peugeot 508: A little French Kissin

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