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First Drive

First Drive: Peugeot 508 PSE

The story: The new Peugeot Sport Engineered performance division of the French brand has a first production model, and it’s the most powerful one Peugeot has ever launched, but the PHEV still gets under 50g/km.
Category:Upper Medium
Key rival:BMW 330e
On sale:Now

The current company car BiK system has meant some interesting opportunities open up for senior corporate drivers, and Peugeot’s new PSE division has given birth to another, in the form of the most powerful production car in the brand’s history.

PSE stands for Peugeot Sport Engineered, and its first model is the 508 PSE, which is available in SW estate or fastback body styles.

First Drive - July 2021 - Peugeot 508 PSE - Image 2It combines petrol and plug-in hybrid power for a total of 360hp, but emissions of 46g/km and an official electric-only range figure of 26 miles. That puts the PSE in the 13% BiK band for this tax year, giving a 40% taxpayer a BiK bill of £242 a month on a car with a 5.2-second 0-62mph acceleration time. It’s a shame the EV range isn’t more than 30 miles, because that would cut the BiK bill by £38 per month, and put the 508 PSE in line with premium PHEV estates, but it’s still not a lot of tax.

It’s a potent car that looks the part too, with a host of little spoilers and aerodynamic adornments across the bodywork, as well
as stunning 20-inch alloy wheels and a number of PSE ‘Kryptonite’ three-claw emblems, with the same lime green colour also used on the not-so-subtle brake calipers. In the Selenium Grey of our test car, one of three colours along with black and white, it looks menacing; indeed, it turned heads and sparked conversation like no Peugeot in a long time.

Changes over the regular 508 include widened track, improved brakes that provide impressive stopping performance, especially for an electrified powertrain, and new three-mode shock absorbers, as well as a noticeably lowered driving position and changes to the steering and chassis. It’s also the only 508 to get four-wheel drive thanks to having an electric motor on both the front and rear axles.First Drive - July 2021 - Peugeot 508 PSE - Image 4

The sporting nature is instantly noticeable through the hard ride quality, but that does translate into sharp handling, in what is a very composed and rapid cross-country machine. That combination of powertrains provides performance that feels quicker than the figures suggest.

The interior is also upgraded with a mix of nappa leather and Alcantara as well as massage function for the driver’s seat.

But then there’s the cost. The SW driven here is priced at almost £56,000, which is £13,000 more than a regular top-spec 508 SW PHEV, and more than £5000 above a top-spec BMW 3-series Touring PHEV. It’s a lot of money, but it is also a lot of car.

paul barker


First Drive: Peugeot 3008


The verdict

A little insane in every way – looks, performance and price in particular – but low BiK gives it real niche appeal.