Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered review

Published: 23 Aug 2022
Bold, interesting and expensive. It's a niche but exotic alternative to the norm

Good stuff

Intriguing looks and tech allied to fun handling

Bad stuff

Pricey. It needs charging to get the best out of it


What is it?

It’s the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered – we’ll call it the PSE from now on – and it’s the first Peugeot performance car to launch in several years, to coincide with Peugeot’s return to Le Mans in 2022. It’s also, unlike almost every single one that’s gone before it, demonstrably not a hot hatchback.

What we have instead is a sports saloon (or Fastback in Peugeot parlance, as we ran as a long termer) and estate (or SW) with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The marketeers cite two key rivals: the Audi S4 and BMW M340i. Cars which aren’t hybrids, and ones which they hope the PSE will mercilessly take down in fleet sales, where the unrealistically low official CO2 claims of this 508 (41g/km) ensure a 12 per cent BIK rate and therefore seriously competitive monthly costs.

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Believe it or not, but this is Peugeot’s most powerful production car ever. A 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, in similar tune to when it appeared in the 208 GTI hot hatch, combines with a pair of electric motors – one for each axle – for peaks of 355bhp and 384lb ft. It's all hooked up to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, good for 0-62mph in 5.2secs and a 155mph top speed (electronically limited, just like its German foes).

So yes, it’s 4WD, but the rear wheels are only driven by a 113bhp motor. On start-up, the car defaults into electric-only where it’s mostly RWD and you’re promised up to 26 miles of emission-free driving. But the power split is otherwise front-biased, with the ratio varying with how hard you drive and which of the PSE’s numerous driving modes you’re in. Head over to the driving tab for the full lowdown.


To account for the big power jump, there are numerous tweaks. The suspension sits 4mm lower than a standard 508 as well as being 50 per cent stiffer and allied to three-stage adjustable damping. The tracks are wider (up 24mm at the front, 12mm rear) and you’ve massive 380mm Alcon brakes tucked behind mock-carbon 20in alloys wrapped in serious Michelin tyres. Peugeot’s done a proper job on it.

How to tell one apart from a stock 508? Its more assertive stance and aesthetic. Just look at those little winglets sprouting all along its sills. Then there’s the PSE badging – three acid-green slashes which Peugeot calls ‘kryptonite claws’, and which we’ll call ‘more than a bit reminiscent of a certain energy drink logo’. It’s certainly a looker, attracting plenty of attention in our time with it.

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Well, it’s comfortably the most expensive car Peugeot’s ever sold new, which means as a private buyer we suspect you’ll have to be quite brave. And especially keen to buck the trend. 

Prices start at £54,665 (the estate is £56,465) – or around £950 a month on typical private leasing terms – we’d forgive the ‘Depreciating French Luxe Hall of Fame’ curators for clearing it a space between the Citroen C6 and Renault Vel Satis. But Peugeot’s sensibly describing it as a halo product, one to provide a philosophical link with the 9XE Le Mans car while familiarising us with a new performance badge that we’ll likely see slapped on electric hot hatches before too long. Full details over on the buying tab.

What's the verdict?

Bold, interesting and expensive. It's a niche but exotic alternative to the norm

Peugeot describes the 508 PSE as a ‘halo’ car, which is industry speak for saying it’s more about creating buzz than bolstering profit margins. We don’t expect to see many of these around, but we’ll salute anyone we do see driving one.

A French saloon with a price tag this chunky will always be niche, but if you’re brave enough to give it a go you’ll be getting a car that’s attractive to look at, intriguing to behold and fun to drive if you can tolerate a busy ride. Does that sound like you? Send us a link to the classified ad when you decide to sell yours on…

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