Test Drive: The New Peugeot 508 PSE
Ian Lamming enjoys the electrifying performance of Peugeot’s new 508 PSE
In the space of a couple of letters motorists can recognise instantly the type of vehicle on the drive.
So SUV will be a tall family car, standing proud with its sports utility vehicle credentials. An MPV will carry people in abundance and anything with a GT, RS, SR, or even a little ‘i’ designation, will be about performance.
But with the latest Peugeot to hit the roads the moniker PSE had me scratching my head and reaching for Google.
P? Well it might be a plug-in hybrid then and the E could be for electric. S? Well, that’s got to be for sports, surely? Nah, got it completely wrong, well kinda.
P is for Peugeot, who’d have thought. S is for sport and E for engineered. Now that all sounds promising because I’ve driven the ‘Peugeot Sport’ models before and they are phenomenal.
So what do you get with the PSE? To start with it’s the sleek, low-slung 508, made even more menacing in this instance by being the estate variant, or as they prefer, station wagon.
In stealth grey and with gargantuan alloys I’m genuinely scared as I approach, flashes of fluorescent greenish yellow on the air-dam and brake calipers signaling a warning – and rightly so. This 508 packs a 360hp, 520Nm wallop of seamless, endless, brute strength, delivered in an electrifying way, literally.
Two powerful electric motors get things moving jolt-free and in complete silence. Then the 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol motor kicks in catapulting PSE to 60mph in a super car challenging five seconds thanks to a sports mode. Now that’s rapid and while you are fiddling with the driving mode button you may also notice that you can opt for all-wheel-drive too.
Back in comfort or electric modes PSE benefits from its green credentials offering CO2 figures of just 46g/km and a combined average miles per gallon figures of 138.9, which might even get Greta Thunberg behind the wheel. The combination of performance and economy is as staggering as it is welcome and it’s going to help your tax liability as well as save the planet.
PSE really is a car for all occasions. In town in glides effortlessly through the traffic seldomly troubling the combustion unit. On the open road it cruises sublimely protecting the driver and passengers from any kind of stress. But when you are in the mood it will scratch along the twisties with the best of them thanks to blistering performance and 4WD traction.
While passengers are cossetted in an attractive and well-appointed cabin, driver is positively spoilt. The iCockpit remains one of the best interiors in the game. The tiny flat bottomed sports steering wheel offers breath-taking dynamics, the stubby gearshift looks like something from a sci-fi movie as does the dashboard with its brilliant virtual clocks and graphics, touchscreen infotainment and tactile piano key controls. The interior really is exceptional.
From there it is all too easy to enjoy the ride, relishing the admiring glances from passers-by and reveling in the driving experience which is mammoth.
Peugeot’s sports engineers really do know their stuff making living with this excellent car as easy as P-S-E.
Peugeot 508SW PSE
Engine: 1.6 turbo petrol with two electric motors
Top speed: 155mph
Combined MPG: 138.9
Transmission: eight speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 46