2019 Peugeot 508 Fastback review - mainstream executive disrupts the premium status quo - Engine, transmission and technical details

A declining market it may be, but the new 508 is good (if not thrilling) to drive, attractive and comfortable

Evo rating
  • Good looks, high-tech cabin, agile chassis
  • Uninspiring drivetrains, little steering feel, divisive cockpit layout

Engine, transmission and technical details

Where once we might have found a hearty V6 in a mid-range repmobile like the 508, today it’s all about four-cylinders, both petrol and diesel. None are too mean for the job of motivating the relatively lightweight Pug, but some are stronger than others, and strongest of all is the 1.6-litre PureTech 225 as found in the range-topping GT.

1.6 litres doesn’t sound like much, but think instead of this engine as being from the same family as found in the 208 and 308 GTIs, making marginally more power than the former and a reasonable chunk less than the latter. Peak power is quoted as 222bhp at 5500rpm, with peak torque of 221lb ft from 1900rpm. 

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The 2-litre diesels do make more torque, with 295lb ft at 2000rpm, but with 175bhp to call upon (slightly less than their pre-WLTP figures) they’re not quite the sprinters the petrols are, and don’t run on to the same maximum speeds either.

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A manual transmission is still available in the 508, but it’s limited to the less potent versions of the range - the most fun you’re likely to have with it is in the 148bhp variant of the 2-litre diesel. An eight-speed automatic is more widely available and this is the transmission you’ll find in the sportier GTs, actuated by a quirky trigger-style lever on the centre console and plastic paddles behind the small steering wheel. Drive in all models is sent to the front wheels. 

Structurally the new 508 is both lighter and stiffer than before. Peugeot says the car is 70kg lighter on average than its predecessor, but also more rigid, beneficial for both dynamics and longevity. 

Front suspension is via struts, with a multi-link rear axle, and GT models and petrol models get adaptive damping, otherwise optional on 2-litre diesels. Fastback and estate (SW) versions are available, with estates being slightly heavier than their fastback counterparts.

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