Living with the Peugeot 508: A Fortnight in Sunny Noosa

 

 

 

 

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The Iphone 4 with Navigon. NOTE: the 2 buttons below the phone have a cupholder either side. With the driver’s cupholder in use, the Cup sits so high that it BLOCKS the LCD screen even if the larger SATNAV screen is fitted. Can you imagine steaming hot coffee spilling into the controls below? What a daft place for holders.

 

 

 

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Fog and rain along the top of the Blackall Range between Montville and Flaxton

 

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508 ALLURE Sedan at Noosa Heads Surf Club car park

 

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508 Allure sedan at the http://www.apollonianhotel.com.au/ at Boreen Point.

 

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Allure Touring and the fishmarkets on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

MORE PICS OF 508 HERE

 

Have you ever wondered why European cars are the ones to be bought when someone wants a luxury motor car? We simply accept there is something about them that car makers on the other continents don’t quite get. It would be easy for the Americans or Asians to take a Euro-car and take it to bits to see how it works. They haven’t done this, or if they have it hasn’t worked.

We jumped at the chance to have a further few weeks behind the wheel. Our earlier drive revealed what the 508 is like around town and on short highway hops, but a lazy break away under the hot Queensland sun was something to get even the driest juices flowing. A luxury executive Euro saloon, the beach, the mountains and lots of free time; sounds like a recipe as perfect and as simple as smoked salmon, cream cheese and little triangles of lightly toasted bread.

Sadly, Queensland has suffered, like the rest of the country, one of the most awful summers in memory. There was rain, mediocre temps, wind and occasional blasts of Arctic air. Every city felt like being in  Melbourne on a good day, but I digress. The one bright spot in an otherwise dreary and unpredictable summer seeing how a car performs in all seasons and in all conditions. It was during a torrential downpour that we pulled in to the car park of Peugeot’s secret inner Brisvegas headquarters and so a perfect time to detect any unfortunate leaks in the test car. Our shiny 508 evidentially hadn’t been made on a Wednesday, or after big lunch of French wine and a baguette,  because not so much as a skerrick of moisture penetrated our inner sanctum. There’s one great-big-new-TICK before we’ve even turned a key.

Our 508 had the midrange 120KW turbo diesel. It’s true that I’d have preferred the quite wonderful 150KW top-of-the-line GT engine but one mustn’t complain. The bottom to choices really don’t cut the mustard for me. The 115KW turbo petrol is OK but the 82KW turbo diesel should be kept strictly for those who have lost the will to live. There is more than enough poke in the 120KW model to get the old girl moving along at a respectable rate. More importantly, it does it while sipping mere wasp-sized mouthfuls of  juice. Happy days.

I’m pleased to report the work Peugeot did on their quality control seems to have paid off.  The new generation of models are more robust while still keeping the Frenchness that gives them their Je ne sai quoi. Sadly the cloud-like ride is gone for good and the lounge chair seating has been similarly banished. I loved this about the very old Pugs but needs-must and a modern consumer demands firmer rides, and for some inexplicable reason, seats hard enough to leave an imprint of its stitching on your butt.    

It seems Peugeot has aimed the 508 squarely at the savvy mainstream buyer who might have gone for a full size car at the luxury end of the market. That word “luxury” is one applied a wide range of vehicles and in my view is one that is over-used. Many car makers use “luxury” to describe their top models but in truth the term couldn’t be less accurate. The 508 however is well deserving of the description because from stem to stern it exudes quality in design, build and material. The overall impression is value for money wrapped in a smart looking, well made coat.

Since you can read all about it in our other tests, we’ll quickly run through a few of the important points:

· Excellent diesel engines with fab fuel economy

· Beautiful classy interiors trimmed in quality finishes with top-notch fixtures

· Similarly classy exterior, smooth lines, quality look and feel

· Sophisticated auto whose shifts are as smooth as a baby’s bottom

· Oodles of room in the cabin and an enormous boot for lots of DJ’s bags

· Well priced for a full-size luxury Euro saloon

· Long list of inclusions with options list getting shorter

Take it from me, if ever you have a “sports” button on your dashboard, USE IT! The throttle, steering and transmission start to tingle and the whole car feels like its ready to go clubbing. There’s a sharpness with a discernable edge that once experienced can’t be ignored. This is particularly evident in tight mountain roads where the big Peugeot seems to know what you want almost before you do. Although the shifters on the steering wheel allow you to make your own gear changes, the system seems to do a better job than most people ever could. On the highway the 508 has long legs and lopes along in 6th with the engine scarcely ticking over at well under 2,000 rpm’s. In the mountains, and in sports mode, the gears are held longer and the revs are kept higher. This means a reserve of power and torque are instantly available for tight turns followed by bursts of acceleration. The road climbed steeply up thickly wooded  passes with occasional glimpses  through the trees to the villages on the valley floor far below. The 508 wasn’t at all bothered by the sharp turns and twists and indeed felt more sports car than deluxe transport. As we came out from under the dense canopy, the road led into a thick bank of fog like a scene from a Spielberg movie. From the safe cocoon of the Peugeot, the experience seemed quite magical and even a little mystical. The weather had turned nasty but it was warm, dry and protected inside. Moreover, it was a place one would want to be rather than merely to get out of the weather.

Peugeot have also done a lot of work on the engines. Peugeot’s 505 GTd had a 2.5 turbo-diesel with an anaemic 79kw pulling around that enormous body and it was as pathetic as the numbers would suggest. While not blistering, the 508 serves a moderately warm plate of medium chillies so as not to blow the back of your head off. The GT is the best choice for a slightly more spirited performance and also has the double wishbones suspension up front which you notice in the corners. Considering that GT is more than 5k cheaper than the Holden Calais or Ford Falcon top spec, and is better equipped, and has better handling, and is more technically advanced, it is quite simply, better value. Still, that V8 Calais has a honking great 6L engine which fills a primal need, and provides 110 extra KW which is not to be sniffed at. The real cost is at the pump where you’ll make many more stops. After all, you can only go 110KPH in Australia so does it really make a huge difference in your life that you get to the limit 3 seconds after a car with an engine 3 times the size using more than twice the fuel putting out 3 times the CO2?

We didn’t have the GT this time around but rather the allure sedan and touring (wagon). When you have a car for a longer drive you notice things that might have slipped past the first time round. Also, niggles you thought would really get you hardly matter a jot.

I’m glad to see the steering wheel buttons now control the auxiliary functions. The ridiculous stalk mounted controls have been banished to history and are now an unpleasant memory. You once needed to remember to investigate what all the buttons did before you set off on your journey. Even then you constantly hit the wrong buttons because there were so many of them and they were all hidden behind the steering wheel.

The Good:-

Fabulous handling especially in the GT with the double wishbones

Good sounding stereo

Fantastic fuel economy even in the 2.2L model

Electric parking brake applies itself (and releases when you take off) if you forget

Very quiet on the road except for the awful bitumen chip surfaces

Electric steering has feel

The Bad:-

Satnav (and usb/Bluetooth media streaming) froze after phone calls and needed the car restarted

Bluetooth continually froze after a call

Ipod folder search parameters MUST be selected in config of the Audio Setup menu NOT search menu in Ipod.USB in non-satnav model

Cup holders right above the switches which could spill liquid into the electronics.

Cup holders too small for normal size cup

Cup holder with cup in OBSCURES the centre LCD completely (satnav, radio etc blocked by cup)

AC took a long time to cool the car down on a 37c day (wagon with full glass roof with shade deployed)

USB difficult to use and needed unplugging or car restarted on many occasions.

One thing which didn’t surprise me was how hot the Touring (wagon) was after being left for the day to stew in its own juices in the carpark of Australia Zoo. 37c plays havoc with panoramic glass roofs even when the shade is fully shut. We set after after a day spent oohing and ahhing at the pretty animals hoping to be ice cold  quick smart, but it was not to be. It took fully 20 minutes for the AC to finally cool the cabin down. Frosty Air Cond is a must have in hot old OZ. Similarly, full length glass roofs should be outlawed. Pretty as they are, they cause everyone inside to fry like a breakfast egg and are a daft waste of money, as well as adding extra weight. However this is well and truly countered but a very classy interior, super comfy seats and a nippy performance, all belying the dowdy reputation of a car with an oil burning engine. The exterior has the same pleasing lines and thoughtful design. The gaping mouth of the 407 was kicked to the curb as was the awful stumpy boot that looked as if it had been rear-ended by the Indian-Pacific.

The test cars (4 of them so far for a week each) have never put a foot wrong. There have been reports of 508s not starting and taking weeks to fix because the parts have had to be flown in. I personally have had experience with such things in a shiny new personally owned Peugeot, but I’ve also had the same things happen in new Holdens, Toyotas and Fords. It’s the luck of the draw. I can’t help but feel the dealers can be very slack indeed and perhaps non-aligned repair centres are better tuned to the customer needs. Who can say? What I can say is apart from the matter raised there were not issues and the car ran flawlessly. Some of the issues may well be user error but it is something I would want to be clear on before buying any car no matter how much I was spending.

To wrap it up, the Peugeot 508 sedan and wagon have a luxury feel with quality finishes and thoughtful inclusions. The electronics appear to fairly reliable, the steering is fabulous and the brakes are pin-point sharp. It really does have a sporty feel and in my opinion presents decent value and a must see for the upwardly mobile exec-type lad who fancies being seen in something with a bit of panache.

Here’s what we thought of the 508 the first time round

Peugeot 508 $36,990 – $52,990

2012 Peugeot 508 4D SEDAN ALLURE HDi Data

GENERAL INFO

Release Date

Jul 01, 2011

Price Guide

$42,990

Body Style

4D SEDAN

Engine

DIESEL TURBO F/INJ

Transmission

6 SP AUTOMATIC

Safety Rating

N/A

Green Vehicle Guide Rating

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Fuel Type

DIESEL

Fuel Consumption

5.7 L / 100 km

Max Power

120kW @ 3750 RPM

GREEN AND SAFETY RATINGS

ANCAP Rating (out of 5)

N/A

Green Vehicle Guide Overall Rating (out of 5)

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COý Emission

149

Green House Rating (out of 10)

7.5

Air Pollution Rating (out of 10)

6

 

COý Emission

149

Green House Rating (out of 10)

7.5

Air Pollution Rating (out of 10)

6

ENGINE

Engine

DIESEL TURBO F/INJ

Capacity

1,997 cc

Size

2.0L

Cylinders

DT4

Valve Gear

DUAL OVERHEAD CAM

Bore x Stroke

85×88

Max Power

120kW @ 3750 RPM

Max Torque

340Nm @ 2000 RPM

Compression Ratio

16.0

No. of Valves

16

TRANSMISSION

Transmission

6 SP AUTOMATIC

Drive

FWD

Gear Final Ration

N/A

BRAKES

Front

DISC – VENTILATED

Rear

DISC

SUSPENSION

Front

Anti roll bar
Coil Spring
Gas damper
MacPherson strut

Rear

Coil Spring
Hydraulic double acting shock absorber
Multi-link system

STEERING

Type

RACK & PINION – POWER ASSISTED

WHEELS

Front

215/55 R17

Rear

215/55 R17

Front Rim Size

7×17

Rear Rim Size

7×17

DIMENSIONS

Body Style

4D SEDAN

Doors

4

Height

1,456 mm

Width

1,853 mm

Seats

5

Ground Clearance

143 mm

Wheel Base

2,817 mm

Turning Circle

12 m

Track Front

1,579 mm

Track Rear

1,552 mm

Towing – Braked

1,375 kg

Towing – Unbraked

750 kg

Kerb Weight

1,520 kg

Payload

N/A

Gross Vehicle Mass

N/A

FUEL

Type

DIESEL

Capacity

72 L

Fuel Consumption City Combined

5.7 L / 100 km

Highway Consumption

N/A

STANDARD FEATURES

Standard

Power Windows
Radio CD with 8 Speakers
Rain Sensing Wipers
Seat belt Pre-tensioner
Side Front Air Bags
Sport Seats
Traction Control System
Trip Computer

Optional

Metallic Paint

SERVICE

Months

12 months

KMS

20,000 kms

WARRANTY

Months

36 months

KMS

100,000 kms

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