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Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered SW reviewed: It’s the future, it’ll knock your socks off and come back for your pants but is it worth the price?

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The Peugeot 508 PSE SW

The Peugeot 508 PSE SW

2021 E63s Estate

2021 E63s Estate

©Justin Leighton 2021 All right

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The Peugeot 508 PSE SW

Every now and again a car will come along which truly knocks your socks off..

The four-wheel drive Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered SW removes your socks, trousers and shirt and, after a few hours of driving, will come back and take your underwear.

It's as practical as a 75% sale at IKEA, shifts faster than a toupee in a hurricane and with its sleek lines, looks sexier than a French supermodel.

It's obvious that Peugeot has Audi and BMW in its sights with this car and it’s aiming high - not necessarily with sales volumes - but in terms of price, performance and a premium product. The question for potential buyers though... is it worth £55,000?

HOW QUICK IS IT?

Personally I've always been a fan of estates - and one that can hit 62mph in 5.2 seconds is a winner for me.

The new PSE 508 range-topper is actually the most powerful road-going car the French firm has ever sold and uses hybrid power to push the 508 on to a limited maximum speed of 155mph.

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Sitting under the bonnet is the well-tested 1.6-litre PureTech turbo petrol four-pot, producing just under 200bhp.

Coupled to this is a pair of electric motors, one on the front axle integrated into the eight-speed eEAT8 automatic gearbox driving the front wheels and producing 109bhp, with an additional 111bhp motor driving the rear axle.

Those motors are fed by an 11.5kWh battery that gives an all-electric range of 26 miles. That battery takes one hour and 45 minutes to charge from a 7.4kW home wall box, while a three-pin supply will be able to top up the battery from empty to full overnight in seven hours.

Coming in at 1,875kg, it's not the heaviest of PHEVs, but unlike me it does hide that extra weight well. It certainly has no problem providing you with effortless acceleration the moment you want it.

It does mean it lacks the ferocity of some big petrol-engined competitors, however, the electric torque has been programmed to come in to great effect, particularly in Sport mode.

The bottom line is this is not a fast Peugeot, this is a very, very fast Peugeot.

WHAT'S IT LIKE ON THE ROAD?

I tested the car over four days in a spell of hot weather and enjoyed every minute. It's an easy car to push hard as you can really feel the traction at the rear axle helping to drive you around the corner and push you into the next.

The steering is well weighted, although could do with a little more feedback, but overall you can't help but be amazed at just how agile this car is.

The ride can be firm but select 'Comfort’ mode and it makes the 508 PSE a great cruiser.

You will never be in any doubt that this is a seriously fast car though, as Peugeot has stiffened up the suspension by 50% and added big 20-inch wheels with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

HOW DOES IT LOOK?

I've tested many cars over the years but few have come close to the attention the Peugeot attracted on Northern Irish roads.

There seemed to be a steady stream of people asking me about the car each time I parked - many not even knowing the make, as the darkened chrome Peugeot badges are not immediately noticeable.

I love the looks of the standard 508 SW but in beefed-up PSE trim, it moves up to an entirely new level.

The PSE can be spotted by its bold grille with larger air intakes, as well as the lashings of Kryptonite (the greeny-yellow bits, if you’re wondering what I’m on about) on the front-end, badging and brake callipers.

The winglets on the sides of the sills and flanking the front and rear bumpers look brilliant but are a bit of a pain when they catch a hose when washing the car. However, this Peugeot is – in my opinion – one of the best-looking cars you can buy today.

WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?

The 508’s interior is one of its best features with a large digital instrument cluster up ahead, superb low-slung, ribcage-hugging sports seats, a prominent touchscreen with brilliant aircraft-like toggle switches and Peugeot’s famous small steering wheel.

The PSE colour scheme continues inside the car with the same lime green used on the virtual dials, as an accent colour on the touchscreen and used as a contrast stitch colour.

The quality cockpit feels somewhat tight compared with some other mid-sized cars, but because the PSE is so performance-based, it somehow adds to the car – highlighting the fact that it is driver-focused... and seriously quick.

The touchscreen isn’t the best available but there's a large 529-litre boot space and decent rear-seat space for adults.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?

There's no getting away from the fact this is an expensive car - but you do get a lot for your hard-earned cash.

Standard equipment is generous, including ‘Night Vision’ tech that can spot any hazards in the road using an infra-red camera, massaging electric leather and Alcantara seats and a Focal sound system.

In fact, really the only options, other than if you want a panoramic sunroof, are the three colours available — Black, White or Grey. For me, there only is one colour choice though - stick to the Selenium Grey of my test car - it looks absolutely stunning.

VERDICT

For many, the thought of a £55,795 Peugeot (the Fastback version is a couple of grand cheaper) will be hard to swallow.

That's unfortunate as this is a truly great car which wonderfully showcases Peugeot's vision for an electrifed future.

It's dynamically sharp and engaging to drive, well built, has an impressive hybrid powertrain and will embarrass any GTi driver at the traffic lights.

Alongside the claimed 26-mile electric range, up to 138.9mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 46g/km mean a Benefit-in-Kind company car tax rate of just 13%.

Perhaps the one thing which will sell this car though is its personality.

If you want something different from the usual Germanic brands that looks stunning and matches B-road agility and composure with fine road manners and deft ride quality, you should seriously consider this car.

Charles Hurst – Northern Ireland’s largest vehicle retailer - is the first supplier locally to stock the newest Peugeot Sport Engineered models.

Sales Manager at Charles Hurst Peugeot, Chris Morrison, said: “Charles Hurst is proud to be the first and only official PSE expertise centre in Northern Ireland. This recognition is a significant and hugely positive achievement for our team but also for the wider industry here in Northern Ireland.

“The status will significantly enable us to offer market-leading expertise, advice and support as well as a new range of high-performing, environmentally-friendly vehicles.

“Although the PSE range is an excellent choice for any motorist, we see real opportunities in the fleet and commercial vehicle market given the range’s industry leading performance and environmental credentials.

“We want to be at the forefront of redefining performance in an electrified future.

“The PSE range is the perfect example of how modern engineering has removed the trade-off between sustainability and power. With PSE, customers don’t have to compromise, they can have both.”


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