Peu­geot’s com­ing 508 mid­size sedan stands out for safety and movie-star looks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - RICHARD BLACK­BURN

They say beauty is in the eye of the be­holder but you’ll be hard pressed to find any­one who doesn’t like the look of the new Peu­geot 508. The four­door fast­back im­me­di­ately im­presses with its coupe-like sil­hou­ette and sporty stance. The in­side story is the same. It’s a cabin that mixes sim­ple lines with qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and sharp, modern graph­ics.

Un­for­tu­nately, thanks to our ob­ses­sion with SUVs, the 508 will need all of its se­duc­tive pow­ers to carve out a de­cent niche for it­self in the Aus­tralian mar­ket.

The mid­size sedan mar­ket is dy­ing a slow death. Well cre­den­tialed, at­trac­tive ex­am­ples such as the Mazda6, Volk­swa­gen Pas­sat and Ford Mon­deo are strug­gling to find buy­ers.

Due in the se­cond half of next year, the 508 will come in wagon and hatch form, po­ten­tially with two four-cylin­der tur­bos.

The range hasn’t been fi­nalised — Peu­geot is yet to de­cide whether to im­port two ver­sions or go with one GT model with all the fruit. If there are two, pric­ing will range from $45,000 to $55,000. A sin­gle, well equipped GT would likely start north of $50,000.

Peu­geot Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ben Far­low says the sleek new model is the lat­est step in the over­all rein­ven­tion of the prod­uct line-up in re­cent years.

“Over the past five years, Peu­geot has com­pletely rein­vented its prod­uct range and the new 508 will chal­lenge seg­ment norms, while de­liv­er­ing a ve­hi­cle that is not just en­joy­able to drive but great to look at,” he says.

The new 508 is cer­tainly a dif­fer­ent beast from its pre­de­ces­sor. Built on com­pletely new un­der­pin­nings, it bucks re­cent trends by shrink­ing in size. Shorter and lower to the ground, it is up to 70kg lighter and more fuel ef­fi­cient. Top of the range mod­els will be pow­ered by a 1.6-litre four-cylin­der turbo putting out 169kW, while the stan­dard model will be good for 135kW. Both are matched to a new eight-speed con­ven­tional au­to­matic.

Peu­geot hasn’t con­firmed lo­cal de­tails yet but the 508 has an im­pres­sive arse­nal of safety tech­nol­ogy at its dis­posal.

Apart from stan­dard au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing that de­tects cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans at up to 140km/h, it has night vi­sion for de­tect­ing pedes­tri­ans and an­i­mals in poor light, lane keep­ing with steer­ing as­sis­tance, adap­tive high-beam, speed limit and road sign recog­ni­tion and adap­tive cruise con­trol that can stop the car and take off again.

The hid­den tech is com­ple­mented by a cabin lay­out that is sim­ple but so­phis­ti­cated. The

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