With China in mind
Peugeot says the 508 has been influenced as much by the needs of the booming Chinese market as by the requirements of the company's European heartland.
Sales of traditional family saloons in China have more than doubled to 1.4 million a year since 2005, while in Europe they have slumped from 2.4 million a year to 1.7 million over the same period.
'We are still selling the same number of [family] cars, but in different parts of the world,' says Vincent Rambeaud, head of Peugeot.
The 508 is based on Peugeot-Citroen's large-car platform, like the 407 and Citroen's C5, but is quite a bit longer than the outgoing car – 100mm in the case of the saloon and 50mm with the SW. Peugeot says the suspension has been set up with ride comfort and handling as the priorities.
European requirements are as much to the fore in the 508 as the demands of the Chinese market, however. Weight, aerodynamics and emissions are all better than those of the 407 in an effort to meet ever-stricter EU regulations, which are due to come into force during the 508's lifetime.
Despite the increase in size and equipment, the saloon is 35kg lighter than the equivalent 407, while the SW has been trimmed by 45kg. Rimbeaud says the average CO2 reduction is 40g/km compared with the 407, which will be a major boon for company car users, who will make up the majority of customers.
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At the top of the range a new 204bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel replaces the 3.0-litre V6 diesel with no loss of performance, but CO2 emissions are cut by 73g/km. Other engines are a 112bhp 1.6-litre diesel, 140bhp and 163bhp 2.0-litre diesels; and 120bhp and 156bhp 1.6-litre petrol units. All will benefit from the latest engine technology including Peugeot’s new e-HDi stop-start system.
A hybrid ‘HYbrid4’ version will be available later, which will produce emissions of just 99g/km of CO2.