autos

New Peugeot 508 PSE hybrid is half milkfloat, half rocketship


THE critics will tell you this car is amazing.

The most powerful Peugeot ever . . . yada-yada-yada, blah-blah-blah.

The Peugeot 508 PSE is half milkfloat, half rocketship

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The Peugeot 508 PSE is half milkfloat, half rocketship

But you won’t buy it.

Not at £54k. You’d get a BMW instead.

It’s the age-old thing: Start pricing cars at a chunky £40k-£50k and the Germans win. Ask Jag.

In fact, the equivalent Beemer is ten grand cheaper before options.

The 508 PSE is a plug-in hybrid combining 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors

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The 508 PSE is a plug-in hybrid combining 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors

But perhaps Peugeot doesn’t care. It sells lots of small cars and SUVs and can afford to do something different to show what it is about.

This, then, is the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered Hybrid4. Or 508 PSE for short.

Half milkfloat, half rocketship. Up to 26 miles in EV mode and 360 horses.

Also, distinctive and fully loaded with kit.

There are buttons to soothe and warm your back and a top-dollar Focal sound system

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There are buttons to soothe and warm your back and a top-dollar Focal sound system

Now, let’s start with the stuff you can’t see.

The 508 PSE is a plug-in hybrid combining 1.6-litre petrol engine with two electric motors, one front and back. So yes, it’s 4WD.

There’s a dedicated 4WD mode for low-grip conditions — otherwise it is front-biased — and you need to be in Sport mode to unleash all 360 horses. Other modes are limited to 330hp.

PARTY TRICK

Recharging the battery takes an hour and 45 minutes from a 7kWh wallbox, seven hours via a normal three-pin socket.

But here’s the thing: You don’t really need to faff about with a plug at all.

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There’s a dedicated 4WD mode for low-grip conditions, otherwise it is front-biased

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There’s a dedicated 4WD mode for low-grip conditions, otherwise it is front-biased

You can harvest electricity on the go and store it for later using the eSave mode, which is good but annoyingly hidden in a sub-menu on the touchscreen.

As for ride and handling, Peugeot Sport has done a proper job here: Wider track compared to a normal 508, stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars, beefy brakes, sticky Michelin shoes.

Not as peachy as a BMW, but this thing is quick and composed when you hurry it. Let’s see what PSE engineers do with the smaller 308.

Key facts: PEUGEOT 508 PSE

Price: £53,995

Engine: 1.6-litre petrol plug-in hybrid

Power: 360hp, 520Nm

0-62mph: 5.2 secs

Top speed: 155mph

Economy: 138mpg

EV range: 26 milesCO2: 46g/km

Other things. Someone asked if I had a carrier bag stuck in the front bumper. Ha.

No. I quite like the lime green bits, black detailing and Knight Rider rear lights. They do a little party trick when you unlock the doors. I also like the frameless doors.

I’m not so keen on the little “winglets” running down the sides of the car.

I wonder what speed you need to be doing for them to make 0.0001 per cent difference? And I really dislike Peugeot’s obsession with small steering wheels.

Key facts: BMW 330e xDRIVE

Price: £43,605

Engine: 2-litre petrol  plug-in hybrid

Power: 292hp, 420Nm

0-62mph: 5.8 secs

Top speed: 143mph

Economy: 166mpg

EV range: 34 milesCO2: 33g/km

You have to set it stupidly low or you can’t see the digital instrument cluster.

If you can live with that you’ll want for nothing else because there are buttons to soothe and warm your back, wireless phone charging, 3D navigation and a top-dollar Focal sound system. Mind you, at £54K there should be.

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Which brings me neatly back to the start. Peugeot can be as proud as it likes about this car but people will only pay what they think it’s worth.

At £35k, with all that kit, it dances all over a basic Beemer. But £54k? Rising to £56k for the estate?

No mate. You won’t see many about.

People could go for a £44k BMW 330e xDrive M Sport saloon — also plug-in hybrid and 4WD — and have £10k left for options.

Badge snobbery aside, it is the better car and will be worth more further down the line.

New Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered is deisgned to perform and race ready





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