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Peugeot

Peugeot 508, front, action
Peugeot 508, front, static
Peugeot 508, rear, action
Peugeot 508, rear, static
Peugeot 508, front
Peugeot 508, front
Peugeot 508, rear
Peugeot 508, interior
Peugeot 508, 2018, rear seats

TIME will tell, but for me, the new Peugeot 508 is right up there with the best in the upper medium class.

And because of high equipment levels, it's also knocking on the door of the smaller executive cars from the likes of Mercedes and BMW.

It also vies to be one of the best looking cars in the class, with a strong grille and a bold front, plus sweeping lines along the sides

I recently had a blast in the GT Fastback, powered by Peugeot's very good 180bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel, which comes with a switchable eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The combination works superbly, with gearchanges quicker and slicker than you could do them yourself and plenty of urge from the power unit.

In fact, it pulls hard from almost any speed, aided by a swift kickdown when required.

The engine is smooth and quiet, helping towards excellent low noise levels and the whole set up is beautifully refined.

There are small paddles fixed to the equally small steering wheel for manual changes but, the automatic does the job so brilliantly, I can't imagine anyone ever using them, because they're too difficult to hit when driving through corners.

The 508 has a number of selectable drive modes: Manual, Sport, Normal, Comfort and Eco and they are all pretty self explanatory.

For example, Sport improves engine response, raises gearchange points to higher revs, firms up the dampers and sharpens up the steering all in one go.

The overall result is excellent performance across the speed range, with quick acceleration from just about any speed.

The engine and gearbox prowess are backed by marvellous handling, with deliciously direct and positive steering, and the road-holding is strong and very, very safe.

It tracks through corners just as it should, with perfect balance and no sign of a breakaway even when pushed.

The steering is a delight, feeding information about the road to the driver's hands and the whole car feels marvellously complete in every way.

Despite large wheels and very low profile tyres, for example, the ride is still very, very good even over some rather rough country roads at 50 to 60 miles an hour.

The inside is stylish and driver-focussed, but still has the small steering wheel that Peugeot introduced in the 208, with the digital binnacle showing above it.

This looks odd to anyone used to a more traditional setup, but it works well and the small wheel helps make the twisty bits more fun.

The binnacle uses Peugeot's excellent i-Cockpit, which can be changed by the driver to any one of a dozen configurations including dials, sat nav, trip computer and other functions.

The heated leather seats are beautifully shaped and very comfortable, and there's plenty of space for four or five.

In this GT model, equipment is very good and includes automatic headlights and wipers, autonomous emergency braking, distance alert, lane keeping assistance and climate control.

It also has parking sensors, sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, keyless entry and starting, stop/start, blindspot detection, driver alert system, LED headlights, wireless phone charging and an electric tailgate.

Try adding all that to a Mercedes and see what it will cost you.

FAST FACTS

Price: £36,440

Mechanical: 174bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 146mph

0-62mph:8.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 60

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 124g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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