Exclusive images of bold Peugeot 508
■ Exclusive images show more dynamic look for next big saloon
PEUGEOT is planning a more style-focused new generation of its 508, due in 2018 as a rival to everything from the BMW 3 Series to the Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen’s newly launched Arteon.
Sales of ‘D-segment’ saloons such as the 508, Insignia and Ford Mondeo have suffered in the past decade, thanks to the increasing popularity of SUVS and premium brands such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes offering more mainstream pricing on their models.
Peugeot’s sister brand Citroen is said to be completely abandoning the saloon format – at least for European customers – and will launch a C5 Aircross crossover (right) later this year instead. Peugeot insists it needs to maintain a saloon model alongside its 5008 SUV, however. Speaking last week at the Geneva Motor Show, product director Laurent Blanchet said: “The positioning of our brand is to be the best high-end mainstream. What does that mean?
“It means that we don’t want to be premium; there is another [PSA] brand for that, which is DS. What we want is to be a very good generalist brand, and to be a very good generalist brand you have to be really present in the D-segment.”
Well placed sources have told Auto Express to expect a more style-focused car instead of a conventional three-box shape; our exclusive images hint at how it could look. Peugeot’s head of design, Gilles Vidal, said: “The requirements in that area of the market are different – depending on which part of the world you are in. But in Europe the D-segment is dying; what is succeeding is more dynamic and more compact.”
Expect the Instinct concept, shown at the recent Mobile World Congress, to influence the new 508 – which should also get a more swooping, coupé-like roofline that prioritises style over space in the rear.
Vidal said: “The Instinct is quite a short vehicle but, well, you can scale it, you know?” He also admitted that the concept’s distinctive vertical LED daytime running lights are under consideration for production models in the near future.
His comments were echoed by Peugeot CEO Jean-philippe Imparato, who said: “We never do this type of concept [Instinct] for free; we are sending you some design messages. What you are looking for at the front of this car will give you some key information for the next step for us.
“The stylish code [on the Instinct] must send some elements of the sedan strategy that we have, so it could be interesting to see that on the next generation of 508.”
Under the skin, this next-generation 508 will jump from the outgoing model’s relatively old platform to PSA’S EMP2 architecture. Crucially, this supports plugin petrol hybrid tech, potentially allowing Peugeot to offer an electrified 508 in the face of falling diesel sales in Western Europe. The car will also feature an updated version of the i-cockpit layout already seen in the latest 3008 and 5008.
Blanchet went on to say that Peugeot needs to be in that sector with both an SUV (such as the 5008) and a car like the 508, particularly with markets such as China, and – eventually – plans to sell Peugeot models in the US. “So, we will renew the 508 – we will have a communication on that soon,” Blanchet confirmed. It’s likely that a new model will be on sale in 2018.
Expect the next 508 to be previewed later this year, with sales starting in the first half of 2018. When asked when the car would arrive, Blanchet replied: “The current 508 has been around for six years, so you can rightly assume that it will be quite soon.”