Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We’d skip the 1.5 BlueHDi 130 diesel because its 128bhp makes the 508 SW feel rather sluggish – even without a sizeable load on board it takes 10.1sec to get from 0-62mph. We’re yet to try the cheaper 1.2 Puretech 130 petrol, although it's marginally quicker (0-62mph in 10.0sec) and has impressed in other Peugeots, including the 5008 SUV.
The 179bhp 1.6 Puretech 180 petrol is our pick of the range. It doesn’t need to be worked too hard to feel pretty brisk and 0-62mph takes an entirely respectable 8.0sec. In fact, we’d say it makes the punchier (and far pricier) 1.6 Puretech 225 redundant.
Comfort isn’t the 508 SW’s strongest area because all versions fidget over road imperfections and thud when you hit potholes or expansion joints. Despite the seemingly firm edge, they also have a bit of unwanted float over undulating country roads.
Adjustable Active suspension is optional on all but Puretech 130 versions of the GT and standard on GT Premium and PSE models, but we wouldn’t bother. If you do value comfort, you’re best to select lower trim levels for their smaller wheels.
The 508 SW’s firm suspension set-up helps it to resist body lean reasonably well, and it grips like a limpet in corners. Despite having fairly quick steering, it doesn't match the precision of rivals such as the BMW 3 Series Touring – you end up sawing at the steering wheel quite a bit and it never feels particularly agile or fun, regardless of the version you’ve picked.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on all models. It’s generally impressively smooth, but can be hesitant around town (a failing that's not helped by an overly intrusive start/stop system). When paired with the hybrid engine, it gets particularly flustered if you ask for a sudden burst of acceleration and can dither when trying to decide on a gear. Rivals such as the Octavia and Superb iV’s gearboxes are less easily confused and switch from electric to petrol mode more adroitly.
It’s worth knowing that in order to charge your hybrid 508’s battery at full speed from a 7kW wallbox charger, you’ll need to pay extra. If you do it’ll get a full charge in two hours, otherwise the best it’ll manage is four hours, or eight hours from a domestic three-pin plug.