Performance and 0-60 time
The least potent 508s, the entry-level 1.6 diesels, will manage 62mph in 11 seconds and eventually go on to the mid-120s mph, with a slight penalty for heavier estate models. All others will reach the acceleration benchmark in under ten seconds and most will comfortably top 130mph, with the hottest diesels hitting 62mph in the mid-8s and reaching up to 146mph.
Most interesting is the 508 GT fitted with what Peugeot calls the 1.6 PureTech 225. We know it better as a variant of the turbocharged, four-cylinder 1.6 in the 208 and 308 GTIs, and predictably it’s the quickest model in the range, at least until Peugeot Sport efforts arrive.
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In fastback form the GT will manage 0-62mph in 7.3sec, and run on to 155mph. For comparison, that’s similar performance to the latest 320i SE Auto (7.1sec and 149mph), though the BMW does manage its numbers with more weight (1525kg) and less power (181bhp).
On the road, Peugeot’s numbers feel accurate enough, though where the smaller (and more potent) Peugeots with this engine feel rampantly fast, the heavier and less powerful 508 merely feels adequately quick. Acceleration is brisk but there’s no real kick in the back, and with the auto ‘box slurring changes the process of gathering speed is more efficient than it is exciting.
Switching to Sport mode does little to enhance things, though if you’re in automatic mode the car will of course select later gearchange points and give you slightly improved throttle response. You actually need to notch the switch on the centre console forward once more from Sport to choose Manual if you’re to use the paddles exclusively - in Sport it’ll eventually revert back to auto if you leave the paddles alone for any length of time.
There’s not much joy to be had using the paddles, though. Gearchanges aren’t as snappy as we’d like and the paddles themselves feel cheaper than the interior’s other touch-points, which is a shame. Most of the time you’re likely to leave the car in auto, occasionally tweaking a paddle to encourage a change. The auto ‘box behaves most of the time with the petrol, even if it’s not as assertive as some, but we’ve found it can hunt around a bit when paired with the diesel.