508 e-HDI 112 Active
all-new 508 line-up
replaces both the 407 and 607
models. And talking about numbers,
the 508 saloons range in price from
£18,150 to £28,750 and the SW
estates from £19,175 to £29,975...
IN THESE TAX-HEAVY FINANCIAL DAYS, is the watchword for both car makers and
car buyers and it's all about achieving good miles
per gallon and retaining decent on-road performance whilst producing less tailpipe
Sounds an impossible task but not so for Peugeot's new 508 models which have
a range of fuel-efficient engines that includes a 112bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel
unit coupled with a micro-hybrid Stop & Start system and clutchless electronically-controlled
six-speed manual gearbox which emits just 109g/km of CO2. This means no road
tax payments for the first year and then a mere £20 annually thereafter. Equally
good, the Combined Cycle fuel economy is 67.2mpg and company car
drivers will be impressed by the very low 13 per cent Benefit-in-Kind rating.
508 will sell against the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Ford Mondeo, Mercedes
C-Class, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat a sector that's
been hit hard by the recession with customers downsizing even before the recent
financial problems became obvious. Over the past ten years this segment of the
market has seen sales drop by over forty per cent.
has got off to
a healthy start with the
new 508 initial sales
were ten times what they were expecting!
And with only 6,000 508s
available this year, it
looks as though demand
will outstrip supply...
That noted, Peugeot have got off to a healthy start with their new 508. Well
before the car had actually been seen in the metal, Peugeot had a sales target
of 100 508s for the first on-sale month but actual orders were
ten times that at over a 1,000. With only 6,000 508s available this year (and
8,000 for 2012), it looks as though demand will outstrip supply, which has the
added benefit of boosting residual values more good news for customers!
The engine line-up consists of 1.6-litre petrol units with 120bhp (normally
aspirated) or 156bhp (THP turbocharged) power outputs. The 120bhp unit is fitted
as standard with the six-speed EGC automated manual gearbox, has 144g/km CO2
emissions and an annual road tax bill of £130. The 156bhp turboed unit has the
choice of manual or auto transmissions with CO2 emissions of 149 and 164g/km
and first year road tax of £130 and £165 respectively.
Diesel power comes in several guises: 112bhp 1.6-litre e-HDI micro-hybrid with
109g/km (from July 2011) with an EGC clutchless manual transmission; 112bhp
1.6 HDI with 124g/km and a five-speed manual gearbox; 140bhp 2.0-litre HDI with
125g/km and a six-speed manual transmission; 163bhp 2.0-litre with 149g/km and
204bhp 2.2-litre with 150g/km, both with six-speed auto gearboxes as standard.
Road tax costs run from zero to £130 for the first year and £20 to £130 for
the second and subsequent years.
The main-selling versions will be the 112bhp 1.6-litre and 140bhp 2.0-litre
turbodiesels. Specification and equipment levels, depending on the engine, are
Access, SR, Active, Allure and GT. SR is aimed specifically at company car drivers
and comes equipped with Bluetooth, Peugeot's Connect SatNav, Connect SOS function,
alarm, alloy wheels, cruise control, powered front and rear windows and door
mirrors, dual-zone AirCon, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, halogen
headlights and daytime running lights.
Prior to the 508 Saloon and SW models arriving with UK dealers, I had the opportunity
to sample three different diesel units in the saloon and estate body styles.
The headline model is the new 1.6-litre e-HDI 112bhp/202lb ft micro-hybrid model
with the EGC electronic and clutchless manual gearbox. It drives like an automatic
and will be a popular choice because of its low CO2 emissions.
present, tailpipe emissions are 115g/km but from July they drop even lower
to 109g/km, which means £0 road tax in the first year and then just £20 a year
thereafter. The low 13% BIK company car tax is another plus point, as too is
the official 67.2mpg Combined Cycle fuel economy.
road tax in the first
year and then just
£20 a year thereafter.
Another plus is the
Combined Cycle fuel
Driven in a real-life mix of stop-start town traffic, country roads and motorways,
my 115g/km CO2 version of this engine returned 45.5mpg against the official
The EGC transmission can be an acquired taste because the driver has to be sympathetic,
allowing it time to change between gears and prompting smooth shifts by just
easing off the accelerator pedal. It works better and faster
by using the sequential gearshift lever or paddles-shift levers mounted on the
Peugeot's 'micro-hybrid' tag has nothing to do with batteries powering the car;
instead it uses a double-action alternator for the Stop & Start system to provide
a boost of power to spin the engine quickly back into life in its Start mode
once your foot is lifted off the brake pedal during stop-start driving. The
alternator also 'captures' power during braking conditions to boost the electric
power supply for the Stop & Start process. Unlike most other similar systems,
this still operates if the weather is really cold and when all of the vehicle's
other electrical functions (such as lights, wipers and air conditioning) are
The second turbodiesel engine I drove, the 140bhp/240lb ft 2.0-litre HDI unit
with a six-speed manual 'box, would be my personal choice. With more power and
torque, it's faster during acceleration and serves up more 'grunt' and flexibility
in the low- to mid-range. And the fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren't hit
hard by opting for a 'nicer drive' either.
The Combined Cycle figure is officially 58.8mpg but I managed 52.2mpg on test.
Its 125g/km CO2 rating incurs a £0 charge for the first year's road tax and
then £95 a year for year two onwards. Company car drivers will pay 18 per cent
BIK but the extra cost over the e-HDI power unit is definitely worth it as the
more powerful 140bhp unit is certainly a more capable performer.
The third engine I tried was the new 204bhp/338lb ft 2.2-litre HDI unit and
this comes as standard with a six-speed auto 'box. As you'd expect, this is
the fastest and most refined version to drive and is available only with GT
trim. This equipment level is very high but it puts the overall cost of the
508 up considerably to nearly £29,000 for the saloon and almost
£30K for the SW estate. And that is Audi, BMW and Mercedes premium brand territory
and a price too high.
204bhp powerplant's fuel economy and taxes will hit the pocket harder, too:
the Combined Cycle figure is 47.8mpg and in real-world driving my test car recorded
37.7mpg. CO2 is 154g/km so your first year road tax bill will be £165 and the
BIK duty jumps to 22%.
508s handling is
quite sharp; its a biggish
car but feels quite agile
and has plenty of front
end grip turning into
fast corners is done with
precision and without
fuss. Ride comfort is
also generally good...
Style comes after performance and there is no doubt that the 508 looks very
classy and would definitely look good on most people's driveways.
The side profile has the now-popular four-door coupe-esque roofline capping
a high waistline. At the front, the bonnet line is high with a new-look elongated
Peugeot family 'floating grille'. The front and rear ends are rounded and overall
give a moulded appearance. It's a shame that the sides of the 508s are not defined
by more sculptured lines but the slightly flared wheelarches and curved aerodynamic
sills do lend the 508 a sense of speed and pace.
Inside, the 508 is at its best. It looks very smart and the quality feels very
good. This is an area in which all recent new Peugeot models have shown considerable
improvement. Further attention has been given to make the seats more durable
so the 508 will still look fresh and unworn after its initial period of ownership.
It's a roomy cabin with lots of boot capacity in the saloon (545 to 1,381 litres)
and load space in the estate.
I expect users will feel quite happy with the leg and headroom front and rear.
All the switches and controls are neatly sited and easy to use so the company
car driver, in particular, will enjoy his (or her) long hours driving this grand
The 508's handling is quite sharp; it's a biggish car but feels quite agile
and has plenty of front end grip turning into fast corners is
done with precision and without fuss. Ride comfort is also generally good although
our poorly patched roads can play havoc with the 508's ability to cope with
shocks and bumps due to the suspension's underlying stiffness.
Against? Some models are expensive, stiff ride control and somewhat slab-sided
styling. On the plus side, you get distinctive styling inside and out, a high
quality and well laid out interior and a wide choice of fuel-efficient models
which offer low tax charges.
Overall, there's no doubt that the 508 is a big improvement over the 407 and
607 models it replaces but it is a tough market sector with strong competition
and fierce pricing. However, with a rejuvenated Peugeot UK dealer network behind
it, the 508, in its most fuel-efficient and low taxation incarnations, stands
a good chance of succeeding. David Miles
Peugeot 508 e-HDI 112 Active | £20,750
Maximum speed: 122mph | 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 112bhp | Torque: 202lb ft | CO2 115g/km