PEUGEOT steps up its assault on the traditional superpowers of the luxury family car market with the latest 508.
In the face of formidable premium opposition from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar, the French motor manufacturer's latest salvo is stylish and sporty as well as being practical and well priced.
Of course, in a motoring world where the SUV is king in the family car sector, its five-door fastback flagship has more on its plate competition-wise than days of yore.
But for those immune to the charms of a raised driving position, it ticks the boxes for those preferring curvaceous lines and French chic in a low-slung motor with plenty of road presence.
The 14-model line up starts from £25,039 for the Active 1.5-litre diesel manual model and tops out at £37,439 for the luxury two-litre diesel automatic First Edition trim or £36,925 for a version powered by a 1.6-litre PureTech petrol engine developing a potent 225bhp.
The racy GT Line model I tried out sits in the middle of the range with the 1.5-litre diesel model mated to an eight-speed auto box costing £29,689.
It really takes the eye with the GT Line trim building on firm design foundations - such as frameless windows and beautiful lines sweeping from the front to the gorgeous coupe rear - with the addition of 18-inch diamond cut ‘Hirone' alloys.
There is also GT Line badging, natty stainless steel door sills and Nera black door mirror shells.
The face of the car benefits from a chequered front grille with a chrome edge trim while at the rear twin chrome exhaust pipes and Peugeot claw-effect LED lights make a similar impact on the senses.
Step inside and the sweeping curves continue to be the order of the day with a delightful dash and Peugeot's i-Cockpit design, featuring its multi-mode instrument panel, stealing the show.
The tactile flat-bottomed steering wheel is set low so you look over it to the instrument binnacle and a decent driving position is easy to achieve.
A 10-inch colour touchscreen display takes centre stage providing access to the car's many goodies which include sat nav - but there are also a bank of piano key shortcuts which make navigation of the many functions much quicker.
Thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto it is simple to hook up you smartphone to the car and there is also a charging plate fitted. Bluetooth and a digital radio are also included and this car came with the optional Â£400 Focal Hi-Fi system which sounds great. A hi-tech night vision system - the first of its kind in this sector of the market - is also available at Â£1,300.
There is plenty of room for four adults with adequate headroom in the back despite the coupe styling, while three can be accommodated in the rear with a modest squeeze.
The boot easily swallows their luggage in the 487 litres available with the rear seats in place, expanding to 1,537 when they are folded - access provided here by a handy Â£400 smart electric tailgate option.
The engine line-up is strong with the 130bhp, 1.5-litre oil burner under the bonnet of this 508 proving there is a place for diesel technology in a modern motoring world.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is slick but for those seeking a more sporty performance paddle shifters and a multi-mode drive system are fitted.
The engine/gearbox partnership propels the 508 to 62mph from a standing start in 10 seconds on its way to a top speed of 129mph while also being easy on the juice achieving an average figure of 57.6mpg under the new WLTP fuel testing regime while emissions are low at 101g/km.
The handling is sharp and the ride irons out the majority of the canyons and peaks that pass for roads these days.