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Peugeot 508 GT 2.2 HDi 200 Auto

Click to view picture gallery“The French certainly know how
  to do style. Take Peugeot
s latest 508
  GT (yes please!)
it sits confidently
  at ease parked next to BMWs and
  Audis, looks svelte and comes
  loaded with desirable kit for what its
  German rivals charge a fistful of
  dollars more...”


IN AN ERA NOTABLE for its samey-looking saloons, Peugeot's 508 stands out courtesy of its four-door coupe lines all wrapped up with a dash of French élan that Coco Chanel herself would approve of in fact, if she were here today, a 508 GT would quite likely be her first choice of transport.

The recently facelifted 508 GT, sporting a new, more upright, more assertive grille with the French marque's rampant lion badge at its centre sits at the top of a clean and efficient all-diesel line-up (that also takes in a diesel-electric hybrid). Under the GT's bonnet is Peugeot's impressively quiet new 2.2-litre turbodiesel that puts out a healthy 201bhp backed up by a muscular 331lb ft of torque.

“The inimitable
Mademoiselle Coco
was right on the money
when she said ‘luxury
must be comfortable,
otherwise it is not
luxury’ — Peugeot have
clearly taken her
words to heart because
that’s exactly what
the 508 GT
is all about...
In keeping with its 'handsome is as handsome does' persona, the only transmission available for the GT is a six-speed automatic. No hardship, then.

What the 508 GT is all about is luxury, elegance and refinement; the interior makes this abundantly clear the moment you swing open a door. The inimitable Mademoiselle Coco was right on the money when she said that "luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury".

Settle in one of the large chairs they're far too sumptuous to be called 'seats' and you'll understand exactly what the French fashion icon meant. Luxury without comfort can never be luxurious. Peugeot's designers have done a fine job fettling the 508 GT's interior; the ambience is perfectly judged, from the obvious quality of the trim materials to the uncluttered ergonomics all underscored by top quality fit and finish.

Inside the 508 comfort is seamlessly blended with luxury and you immediately feel at ease in the Nappa leather-upholstered front seats, enhanced by well-padded and pleated centre panels edged by effective bolstering. Shoulder support is also good and, a particularly nice touch, the angled padded faces of the headrests can be pulled forward for a perfect fit with the back of your head.

As for headroom, there's more than a fist of it. Both seats are power-adjustable with three-stage heating but the driver comes in for extra pampering with his seat getting electric lumbar adjustment along with a two-setting memory function.

A massage feature provides an invigorating in-car workout for your back while you drive, and when you arrive revitalised at your destination and switch off two things happen: the electric parking brake is applied automatically for you; and the driver's seat slides back away from the wheel for an easier exit. All thoughtful touches that make the 508 that extra degree more user-friendly.

The 508 is wide enough to ensure that there's no inelegant clashing of elbows between the driver and front passenger; the comfy outer armrests on the doors are equally inviting. The centre armrest does, however, favour the one behind the wheel in that it's hinged on the passenger side so opens facing the driver for maximum visibility and access into the lined storage bin with its 12v power, USB and Aux-in sockets.

The flowing dashboard incorporates a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen (with 3D mapping) that has minimised the amount of buttons and switchgear on the centre stack. Menu shortcut buttons for all the main 'departments' navigation, AirCon, media, connectivity, etc are positioned beneath the touchscreen and easily accessed at any time.

“A head-up display
shows road speed, cruise
control, speed limiter,
and navigation
information — in colour!
— on a retractable
smoked screen atop
the fascia near the base
of the windscreen
that’s perfectly within the
driver’s view and
which can be taken in
without taking your
eyes off the road...
Directly ahead of the driver is a comprehensive 5-dial instrument pack as well as a head-up display that shows road speed, cruise control, speed limiter, and navigation information in colour! on a retractable smoked screen that's perfectly within the driver's view atop the fascia near the base of the windscreen and which can be taken in without taking your eyes off the road. In fact, the driver can control just about everything from the multifunction wheel.

Additionally, using the touchscreen and a mobile Internet connection, you can use Peugeot Connect Apps to track down close-at-hand parking spaces (of the free variety), check out the cost of a gallon at nearby filling stations, get traffic and weather updates as well as tourist information from the Michelin Guide and Trip Advisor. Peugeot's own on-board Connect SOS and Assistance could be your angel in the event of an accident when it automatically alerts the emergency services as to your whereabouts. It might save your life!

Equipment is comprehensive and, additionally, includes keyless entry with an engine Start-Stop button (located logically to the right of the wheel on the fascia next to the park brake switch), dual-zone automatic AirCon, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth with audio streaming, CD player, SatNav, DAB digital radio, front and rear parking aids, reversing camera, automatic electric parking brake with hill hold, one-shot power windows, electrically-adjustable and heated (with powerfold on demand) door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, tinted rear and side glass, three-spoke multifunction leather-rimmed steering wheel, paddleshifters for the 6-speed autobox, speed limiter, and cruise control.

The GT also comes with a set of 19-inch alloy wheels, all-LED headlamps (including cornering lights, and daytime running lights), automatic high beam dipping, tyre pressure monitoring, blind spot warning, and auto lights and wipes. Core safety kit includes all the normal pro-active driving aids (stability and traction control, etc) as well as front and side front airbags plus front and rear curtain airbags and for peace of mind Peugeot's Connect SOS and Assistance system plus a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

At 4.8 metres long the 508 saloon is more than big enough to accommodate a full family unit plus luggage. The noticeably more upmarket cabin continues behind the front seats once there passengers enjoy loads of space and, important for long-distance comfort, masses of foot room.

With the 'perfect' two occupying the rear cabin, the wide and well-padded centre armrest comes into its own. Drinks are on the menu courtesy of the built-in cupholders. There's ample headroom too, helped by the relaxing seatback angle, and the views out are fine. Drivers carrying children in the back will appreciate the remotely-activated child locks on the rear doors operated from the front seat.

Behind the 60:40 split/folding seatbacks is an easy-to-load boot that will take 473 litres of luggage. A fair-sized load-through hatch adds extra versatility and if both seatbacks are folded down there's an unexpectedly accommodating 1,052 litres. Also handy the floor section folds back to subdivide the boot for keeping smaller loads contained.

“In Drive there’s always
a satisfying supply
of torque to keep
progress fluent;
in Sport it feels sharply
focused and
ever-willing to drop down
a gear whenever your
right foot prompts it,
either for a quick
overtake or simply to up
the pace for a more
challenging ribbon
of blacktop...
Peugeot has adopted a fine compromise between comfort and road holding for its 508 wherever you sit the ride is supple and cushioned; and rarely unsettled by the road beneath the 19-inch wheels. An acoustic windscreen helps keep the cabin hushed whatever your road speed. Cruising motorways it's easy to nod off in the back, which has to be a positive thing in a Grand Tourer.

But the GT badge doesn't just confer long-distance comfort on the 508 drivers who like to press on are equally rewarded. The quick electrohydraulic power assisted steering is accurate and visibility excellent from behind the wheel, which makes the 508 an easy car to place accurately. Grip, too, is reassuring.

The physical act of orchestrating the 508's power couldn't be smoother the auto gate is configured in the normal P-R-N-D format with a minimal flick to the left out of Drive into manual mode; after which you can nudge the selector lever forward to change down and back to shift up or, alternatively, finger-tap the column-mounted paddles behind the steering wheel for of-the-moment sequential gear changes. Buttons for selecting Sport or Snow shift programmes are to hand immediately behind the selector lever.

In Drive there's always a satisfying supply of torque to keep progress fluent; in Sport it feels sharply focused and ever-willing to drop down a gear or two whenever your right foot prompts it, either for a quick overtake or simply to up the pace for a more challenging ribbon of blacktop.

A classy, clean-lined GT that stands out from the crowd and that mixes comfort and luxury in a manner that would elicit a nod of approval from the original grande dame of Parisian haute couture.
MotorBar

Peugeot 508 GT 2.2 HDi 200 Auto | £30,645
Maximum speed: 145mph | 0-62mph: 8.8 seconds | Test Average: 39.6mpg
Power: 201bhp | Torque: 331lb ft | CO2 140g/km