2019 Peugeot 508 Fastback review - mainstream executive disrupts the premium status quo - Ride and handling
A declining market it may be, but the new 508 is good (if not thrilling) to drive, attractive and comfortable
Ride and handling
Being based on the same EMP2 platform as the 308, you can expect some 308-style agility from the 508, albeit not quite to the same extent. With a minimum kerbweight of 1415kg (and impressively, only 1420kg for the highest-performance 1.6 turbo GT model) it’s not quite the lightest in the class but it’s not far off. There’s also a sense of integrity to the structure and a well-cushioned ride, even in the aforementioned GT.
At the same time, the relatively low weight means the 508 feels fairly effortless to guide down a road. There’s not much roll, and grip levels are strong too, which is useful as the small steering wheel responds quite quickly, and at first you may end up taking a tighter line through some corners than intended.
The small wheel is both a blessing and a curse, for us. In smaller Peugeots like the 208 and 308 GTIs, it’s an essential part of the car’s character, encouraging you to turn in aggressively and ensuring you can make instantaneous corrections as you hustle down a road.
In the 508 though, it perhaps feels out of character with the more laid-back, advanced nature of the rest of the car. While turn-in is quick and the resulting grip levels strong, the chassis sometimes feels like it’s slightly lagging behind those ultra-speedy inputs, rather than immediately following as it would in a 208. The relative lack of leverage of a small wheel means Peugeot has also whacked up the power assistance, which masks any semblance of feel - everything feels a bit remote, even if you never want for precision or response.
The front wheels do seem more than capable of taking everything you throw at them though, not just in terms of strong lateral traction, but also resistance to torque steer. Even accelerating hard out of tighter corners the 508 seems to follow your line faithfully, though some of this can be accounted for by slightly laggy responses through the eight-speed auto.