Ready to let rip
Purely for research. Honest.
Given the 508 PSE is a highperformance car, I expected to describe how its performance felt in Sport mode long before this sixth report. But as it’s a plug-in hybrid it feels perverse to cane it. I charge it for what in summer was about 20 miles of zero-emissions motoring and is now about 12 miles, and clearly there’s a cost saving in that, for planet and wallet. To then drive hard, with the mpg suffering, feels wrong.
So I ventured out on a special spirited research run for this update, and the 508’s much better than I expected. It gets into a surefooted rhythm through sweeping sequences of quicker corners, with a combination of fantastic body control, resolute grip and energetic performance from the 1.6-litre turbo four and twin e-motors. This 1.9-tonne estate is even pretty dexterous through more technical sections. There’s robust bite at the front, excellent traction as the rear e-axle helps power you from corners, and it’s quite biddable in the way it yaws off-throttle.
Perverse as it is to exploit it so wantonly, the hybrid system definitely makes a contribution when you drive quickly, in terms of urgency and how effectively you can use that performance.
There are frustrations, though, mainly in the lack of configurability – Sport defaults to super-firm dampers, which while not always inappropriately stiff, do usually make me crave more compliance on a B-road. It’s a similar story with the auto gearbox, where I can never select full manual mode, so I end up in a muddle of gears, often with the software kicking down where I’d hold the ratio. You also can’t disable stability control to properly experiment with the rear axle. In some ways there aren’t enough modes, yet in others there are too many – why are Hybrid and
Comfort separate modes, for instance? Why even have a 4x4 mode, just make it work when there’s low grip. I reckon you need only three modes: Electric, Hybrid/ Comfort and Sport.