Peugeot's new smooth

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Peugeot 508, front static 2
Peugeot 508, front static
Peugeot 508, side static
Peugeot 508, rear static 2
Peugeot 508, rear static
Peugeot 508, dashboard

ONE of the problems with launch events, first-drive fodder, is that there is a range of cars to get through in limited time.

You do your best but the tasty versions are always in demand whereas those with the lawnmower engine and hessian upholstery are very much in the car park.

On top of that there is always someonewho vanishes to the nearest big town to visit a gentleman's outfitter and that special wine shopthe chap at the golf club bangs on about while rinsing his balls.

Frankly I can't remember the last time I had room in the day for lunch.

This is largely due to the current favourite UK launch zone being the Cotswolds, about as easy to get to as Neptune. But with less atmosphere.

Then there is the need to get away before the motorway system becomes a smart car park 4pm.

So while I can tell you much about the new Peugeot 508 I had to wait for a home delivery to drive the GT PureTech 225bhp auto, quite honestly one of the best of its kind I have ever enjoyed.

Within the lauded i-Cockpit, flat bottomed compact steering wheel, 10-inch touch screen display and a 12-inch head up unit defines Peugeot instrumentation these days.

Alongside are two 1.6 petrol PureTech versions both with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The BlueHDi diesel stop/start with a manual 1.5 130 and the four-version range has three two-litre options with automatic gearboxes, 130, 160 and 180. A smoother engine you will struggle to find than the largest diesel.

There are two core specifications, Active and Allure, a GT Line specification, the dynamic GT version and range-topping First Edition.

The boot holds 480-litres in a segment which is quite proud to boast 350. Rear leg room is no more than you expect in a coupe but does not detract from the whole package.

But going back to that GT, an inspirational drive with a quality interior and masses of equipment.

Performance from the 1,600cc 225bhp turbocharged petrol engine is sparkling - 0 to 60mph in 7.3 seconds, that's through the eight-speed automatic gearbox which has a slightly illogical shift but great response.

The cost of all this at the pumps is a claimed 39mpg. I was enjoying myself and it dropped away to 31mph combined.

Being a coupe these is a handling expectation and the GT does not let you down.

Right so when you have paid £36,000 and added the brilliant PSA night vison system at £1,300, a huge sun roof and a parking vison system a comfort level beyond orange crates and sackcloth is demanded.

Safety equipment includes a driver assist system plus adaptive cruise control and help staying in the right part of the lane.

The i-Cockpit has been well reported but the GT gets electric seats with full grain leather, electric tailgate, automatic LED lights and wipers.Obviously the wipers aren't LED, they are metal sticks with rubber on them.

Infotainment, including 3D navigation includes the full metal jacket of connections and a smart phone charging plate but beware, the last time I checked, this battery boost is notcompatible with Apple products.

Practicality is as good as you would expect from a coupe, a bit cramped in the back but with an automatic tailgate.

A handsome beast, it is a frugal mid-sized family car which against all trends has actually shrunk.

Just one point Peugeot, you cannot really list a speedometer under equipment. It goes with the four wheels and a filler cap, pretty much a necessity.

Excuse me now, time to pack for Peckforton Castle in cheesey Cheshire which is reachable via the A49 and not an M6 in sight.

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