IN recent years French manufacturer Peugeot has been transforming its brand image and its latest 508 SW GT is a fine example of what has been achieved in creating a desirable up-market model.
The 508 SW estate car – a sleek fastback version is also available – takes on comparable estate rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat, Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb and makes a distinct impression with its stand-out styling, generous standard equipment list and engaging driving dynamics.
The SW range starts at €32,431 (£27,630) with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions in the line-up and my upper-range GT test version had a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel unit and eight-speed auto gearbox. With 175 hp on offer, the 0-100 kph time is just 8.4 seconds and top speed 232 kph (144 mph). Average fuel economy is 17.0 kpl (48.1 mpg) and emissions 112 g/km.
Underway, this model – costing €45,578 (£38,830) – performs superbly, its taut chassis and well-weighted steering providing a real sporty sensation. The active suspension is slightly firmer for reassuring cornering composure but it does not compromise ride comfort.
Visually the car offers more dramatic styling not too prevalent in the family car sector and its potent stance and eagerly responsive performance help set it apart from class rivals.
The cabin also has an upmarket look with quality materials, nicely contoured leather seating and an eye-catching dashboard which has piano-key switches for main functions and a smaller than usual steering wheel with a digital instrument panel above it.
Standard kit on the test version includes 3D sat-nav, smart-phone charging plate, connectivity features, front and rear parking sensors plus reversing camera, premium audio system, adaptive cruise control, lane positioning assist, driver attention alert, electric tailgate and cornering headlights.
The 508 SW can comfortably seat five though rear headroom is slightly limited for taller occupants due to the sloping roof-line. Boot space of 530 litres is very good and expandable to an impressive 1,780 litres by dropping the rear seats.
Competition is keen in the estate car sector but few if any can offer the sheer sporting style and panache of the 508 SW which brings a dash of flair and exuberance to a class mainly noted only for practicality.
Facts at a glance
- Model: Peugeot 508 SW GT
- Engine: 2.0 litre diesel
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Performance: 0-100 kph 8.4 seconds, top speed 232 kph (144 mph)
- Economy: 17.0 kpl (48.1 mpg)
- Emissions: 112 g/km
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.