Peugeot has switched the 508 from sedan to a fastback bodystyle for its second-gen model, as the segment increasingly battles growing SUV sales.
The new 508 gets a new five-door body, as well as styling derived from the Instinct shooting brake concept, displayed at the 2017 Geneva motor show.
The light bar at the rear that features LED lights has been borrowed off the Instinct concept, while the front-end styling is more aggressive than the outgoing 508.
While the previous model was a rather dour looking four-door sedan, the swoopier style, bustle-backed five-door with frameless doors and sharp and sculpted lines make the new 508 much better looking.
Under the hood, the engine range is topped by a 225hp, petrol-engined variant, although a total of six petrol and diesel engines are on offer. The entry-level gets a 130hp, 1.5-litre diesel unit - the only 508 available with a manual gearbox. 160hp, 2.0-litre and 180hp diesels also feature, as does a 2.0-litre 178bhp petrol engine.
The 508 is expected to get a plug-in hybrid variant post-launch in international markets, with the powertrain taken straight from the 5008 plug-in.
Other tech highlights include a bevy of driver assistance systems, an infra-red camera integrated into the car’s pedestrian detection system, Peugeot’s second-generation i-Cockpit system with a 10in central touchscreen and a 12.3in TFT display replacing conventional dials behind the steering wheel.
The fastback rear is a departure from its conventional sedan predecessor, and increases boot capacity by 12 litres to 485.
The 508’s renewal is something of a surprise move by Peugeot - the sedan market globally continues to dwindle due to the market moving to SUVs, while sales of the 508 have never topped the 140,0000 sold in France in 2010. Sales have fallen steadily since then, with 82,000 sold in the car’s home market last year.
With a renewed focus on design and a fresh body style, the 508 marks the beginning of a reaffirmation of PSA’s support of larger saloons, with sister brand Citroën working on a ‘luxurious’ saloon for launch in 2019 or 2020.
The car’s platform remains the same - the PSA EMP2 platform which underpins many of the company’s models, including the 3008and 5008 SUVs, Vauxhall Grandland X, DS 7 Crossback and Citroën Picasso MPVs.
PSA Group had announced a tie-up with the CK Birla Group. Following that, was the intriguing announcement of PSA’s purchase of the Ambassador brand. The company has also begun testing three of its Peugeot-branded vehicles, the 3008 and the 2008 crossovers, and the 208 hatchback in India.