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Peugeot 508 PSE v Skoda Octavia vRS: fast estate head-to-head – car pictures of the week

In issue 323, we pitted Peugeot’s eccentric 508 SW PSE up against the Skoda Octavia vRS to find out which hot estate is best – here are our favourite shots from the test

The fast estate segment is hotter than ever with the likes of the BMW M3 Touring and Audi RS4 Competition providing true no compromises driving thrills in a practical wagon format. Half the budget though, and the latest Peugeot 508 SW PSE and Skoda Octavia vRS estate still meet the criteria well, and in issue 323 we put them head-to-head to find out which is best. In this week's car pictures we look at the highlights from the test, but to read the feature in full head to the evo shop to pick up your copy or purchase one in-store.

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Peugeot’s Sport Engineering division was an exciting development following the demise of GTi, but the 508 PSE remains its only product to date. While this is somewhat of a disappointment, it makes the hot 508 a rather unique offering and one that certainly caught our attention when it was first launched. Competing with more premium fast estates with a strong 355bhp output and a £55,175 price tag, it bucked the pure-combustion trend with a 1.6-litre, dual-motor plug-in hybrid powertrain. Now in facelifted form, it’s a striking car too, with its oversized concept-esque wheels, aero elements and aggressive negative camber drawing more attention than you might expect.

> BMW M340i xDrive Touring Fast Fleet test – 6000 miles in the six-cylinder estate

Our second candidate in this test sits at the other end of the middling fast estate spectrum, making do with a more conventional 242bhp Golf GTI-spec EA888 four-cylinder powertrain. While we know this power plant is supremely capable in its many forms, this does give the Octavia vRS a sizable on-paper disadvantage, with 0-62mph said to come 1.5 seconds later than the Peugeot.

What these numbers don’t reveal is the difference in weight, with the Peugeot’s complex hybrid componentry making it a whole 435kg heavier than the Skoda. Though this doesn’t quite make up for the Octavia’s lower output, it makes power-to-weight much closer than it first appears, and might just give the Skoda the dynamic advantage it needs to pull ahead. The substantial ​​£17,390 premium you pay for the PSE also makes it a tougher battle than you might think.

In issue 323, we put the two head-to-head to find out which fast estate we’d rather have in our garage, and you can read the verdict by picking up a copy in-store or online via the evo shop.

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