Impartial Reviews

All-new Peugeot 508 Fastback 2.0 180PS GT review
6 April 2019 by Oliver Hammond
Blimey, talk about a transformation! Banishing all memories of the bland original model, the all-new Peugeot 508 truly is a head-turner, and it lights the fire in our petrolhead bellies to see a brand launching a car that doesn’t stand on tiptoes.

What does the new Peugeot 508 GT look like?

No longer a saloon and now a ‘Fastback’ five-door coupé complete with unexpectedly slightly more compact dimensions, the new Peugeot 508 has certainly got what it takes in the looks department to take on the Germans, which is its real aim. The animated light-show it puts on during locking and unlocking isn’t as crisp as Audi’s but still draws a crowd and the full-width black bar running across its derriere looks fabulous. So does its sleek, mean, embossed grille with unique LED ‘tusks’ on either side, its frameless doors that ooze typical French elegance, and the car’s low-slung silhouette and GT-spec’ 19” diamond-cut two tone shoes. Peugeot has catapulted the new 508 Fastback straight into the market’s prettiest cars, rubbing shoulders with the Kia Stinger and VW Arteon.

Is the new Peugeot 508 GT’s interior comfortable and spacious?

If you’ve not sat in one of the latest breed of large Peugeots before, you’ll be bowled over by the new 508 GT’s interior, especially with red nappa leather complementing the piano black trim inserts, piano key-like chrome switches below the central 10” HD capacitive infotainment system, the bang-up-to-date 12.3” instrument display and high-end ‘FOCAL’ audio system.

Throw in different massage settings for the already sumptuous seats, along with ambient lighting, stitching detail across the leather-clad dashboard, an intentionally small steering wheel plus an unusually-shaped gear selector that’s a joy to use, and the new 508 is a very nice place to be, if a relatively low and sporty driving position appeals to you.

Wander your pinkies around the cabin, though, and while you’ll find comparatively excellent levels of storage that French car-makers are renowned for, the lower regions of the interior don’t feel as well-constructed and tactile as in a range-topping Kia Stinger or ProCeed GT, let alone inside a German brand, accompanied by a bouncy parcel shelf and a few creaks.

The all-new 508 Fastback is a tad smaller than the original saloon it replaces and the car’s raked roofline does eat into rear headroom, while legroom is adequate but hardly palatial. At 487 litres, the Peugeot’s boot can’t hold a candle to the Arteon’s 563 litres but, to be fair, it offers the same luggage capacity as an Audi A5 Sportback or a BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe so can still hold its head up high. A 12V socket is provided and the boot opening is practically wide. Up front, the sports seats swathed in soft leather are excellent, perfect for cross-continental journeys.

Does the new Peugeot 508 GT come with lots of gadgets?

It sure does, yes. Externally, the full LED headlights are as clever as they are attractive, incorporating self-levelling and static cornering functionalities, while semi-driverless tech’ is served up through the Drive Assist Plus Pack, which combines Stop & Go, adaptive cruise, a radar and camera to theoretically take over the driving in certain situations.

I-COCKPIT encompasses the crisp and customisable digital instrument display, which isn’t dissimilar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and VW’s Active Info Display, and the HD infotainment touchscreen, which controls the FOCAL sound system, car’s settings, Bluetooth and the excellent Tom Tom Live sat nav system that updates with uncanny regularity, providing reassuringly accurate and current traffic situations.

Apart from the combination of piano keys and capacitive touchscreen buttons sometimes proving frustrating to operate while on the move, which is admittedly inadvisable anyway, the sense of driver focus is strong, and the compact, heavily-stylised steering wheel also reinforces the airplane vibe going on inside Peugeot’s new flagship.

Perhaps expectedly for a range-topping model, the 508 GT comes with a 360-degree parking system, electric boot lid, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, handy USB sockets peppered around the cabin, ambient interior LED lighting, and even an infra-red night vision system that can detect people and animals in the dark, highlighting them with a block that is displayed on the head-up screen.

Is the top-of-the-range Peugeot 508 GT 2.0 HDi powerful?

With 180bhp and 400Nm torque, the 2.0-litre diesel engine is neither slouch nor rocket, straddling company car drivers’ and enthusiastic personal leasing clients’ needs for something reasonably punchy without compromising on economy. The engine works in partnership nicely with the 8-speed ‘automatic’ gearbox, which shifts smoothly most of the time, and Peugeot’s sound-proofing efforts have paid off to create a fairly hushed driving experience that, even with plenty of aggression thrown into the mix, should see average consumption hover around the 45mpg mark, tantalisingly close to its on-paper WLTP figure. The start/stop system seems way too keen to kick in, like it needs to prove its inclusion, but it comes across as hardy and unlikely to cause any red faces. Taking 8.3 seconds to rack up 62mph, the Frenchie isn’t as brisk as the 2.0 TDI 190PS Arteon, which theoretically does it in 7.5 seconds, but the Peugeot’s laid-back manner is endearing.

How does the Peugeot 508 GT handle?

Peugeot’s sexy newcomer handles peculiarly, but in a good way in line with its typically Gallic ‘go your own way’ and ‘stand out from the crown’ marketing mottos. The steering feels purposefully light but makes the car feel chuckable in a fun way rather than boring in a detached sense, the dinky steering wheel enhancing the go-kart-like experience. Full-on GT cars like the one we spent a week testing get adaptive dampers with various driving modes and, when set in Comfort mode, the ride cossets and pampers with the best of them, although some may find it overly bouncy. Switch the proceedings into Sport and the new 508 GT hangs on more flatly and tenaciously in corners than its mainstream rivals even if it’s ultimately not an uncannily special or BMW-troubling experience.

What are Peugeot 508 lease prices like?

From us here at Car Leasing People, Peugeot 508 Fastback personal contract hire deals currently start at just £298.79 including VAT per month in super-economical 1.5 BlueHDI 130 Allure guise, while the 2.0 180 GT EAT8 model as evaluated in this week-long road-test review is priced at the moment at £411.59.

How do we rate the new Peugeot 508 GT overall?

For starters, it’s a stunner, especially in full GT spec’, with rather special lights front and rear, some fabulous styling touches that will impress everyone from petrolheads to uncle Brian, and a body-style that definitely makes it physically and aerodynamically sportier than an SUV can be.

The all-new Peugeot 508 Fastback GT’s interior oozes just as much French design flair as the outside, and the marque’s I-COCKPIT is one of the most visually attractive infotainment suites out there, although it could do with sequence simplification in some areas.

With a ridiculously long list of gadgets, safety and entertainment technology, plus an effective overall driving experience blending unexpected levels of agility with pretty frugal economy, Peugeot’s refreshingly different 508 Fastback is highly desirable in GT guise and Car Leasing People’s current pricing for it undercuts a comparable VW Arteon. Which low-slung five-door coupe takes your fancy?

Words: Oliver Hammond
Photography: Isabel Carter

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