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The Warsaw Voice » Society » May 27, 2011
Peugeot 508 GT 2.2 HDI
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New Family Car Joins the Fray
May 27, 2011   
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A new competitor has entered the market for large family cars: the Peugeot 508. Its mainstays are its elegant styling, its spacious and well-equipped interior and its wide range of engines. But whether this will suffice in one of the most prestigious and fiercely competitive segments of the market is moot.

The Peugeot 508 is the direct descendant of the 407. The previous model had such a sexy body that time has done nothing to make its profile any less appealing or, what is even more important, recognizable. This has not, however, deterred Peugeot from radically altering the appearance of its successor.

The new model has an elegant and well-proportioned body. The profile is more refined and understated.

At first blush, neither the energy nor the well-defined body line of the 407 are much in evidence. But appearances can be deceptive. This model is even more aerodynamic than its predecessor. The 508 has one of the lowest air drag coefficients (0.26) of any vehicle in its class. The new Peugeot is also larger outside and in. The car has grown. The 508 is 10 cm longer than its forebear. And the wheel base is 2,817 mm, an increase of more than 9 cm.

The Peugeot 508 is one of the largest vehicles in its class—4,792 mm long, 1,853 mm wide and 1,456 mm high. And it may well become Peugeot’s standard bearer now that the 607 has been withdrawn.

The larger exterior and wheel base translate into a more spacious passenger cabin and a larger trunk (515 l.). The finishing materials are of a high standard and highly variegated. The driver’s compartment gives off an aura of exclusivity and appears to have been refined to the minutest detail. Some of the credit for the new style has to go to Polish designer Adam Bazydło.

So far as engines go, you have gasoline, turbo-gasoline and turbo-diesel units to choose from. The test-drive model we drove had a 2.2l/204 hp turbocharged diesel engine—the most powerful on offer. The car has excellent performance, despite weighing in at just over 1,500 kg, thanks to a maximum torque of 450 Nm that kicks in around 2000-2750 r.p.m. The model equipped with this engine can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in 8.2 seconds and has a top speed of 234 kph.

The new Common Rail diesel motor is as fuel efficient as it is powerful. This, together with the well-graduated, six-speed, automatic transmission, is very impressive. The engine’s performance is likely to win over quite a few drivers. It only sounds like a diesel for a few moments after it’s been switched on. It’s virtually inaudible while driving.

On the minus side, my average fuel consumption was nothing like the 5.7l/100km published by the manufacturer, but a much more profligate 8.2l/100km. However, I only drove the car around town. Perhaps the figure published by Peugeot refers to a mixture of country and city driving, in which case it might be achievable on a quiet drive.

The car’s attractive styling and its powerful yet efficient engine are not the only things our test-drive model had going for it. I should mention its good handling (the result of different front and rear suspension configurations) and its wealth of standard features. These include a complete electronic system, a multifunctional steering wheel, leather upholstery, electronically adjusted and heated seating, electronic air-conditioning, windshield head-up display, a JBL sound system, a remote keyless system, six airbags, a Hill Start Assist system, ABS/ESP, a navigation system with a map of Europe, bixenon headlights with an AFS system to anticipate changes in the road, and LED taillights.

Will this be enough to win over customers? Time will tell—the 508 has just entered the Polish market.
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