Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered launched: 4WD hybrid is brand’s most powerful ever

Published: 24 September 2020

► New sporty 508 is a 355bhp hybrid
► Available as a fastback or estate
► 0-62mph in just 5.2s, but under 50g/km CO2

Peugeot’s legendary GTI performance division may be on ice for now, but aiming to prove that the French brand is still capable of producing a sporty machine is the new 508 Sport Engineered. Previewed first in concept form last year, the production model sticks very close to the promises made back then.

Taking the already extremely attractive 508 as a base, it’s added plenty of ferocity with a dark makeover and bright highlights, as well as widening the track for a squatter stance.

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I never knew dark grey and bright green worked so well together…

Nor did we, but get used to it – bright green would appear to be the signature colour of Peugeot’s new Sport Engineered models, just as blue is signature for its hybrid and electric ranges.

2020 Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered - front three quarter

Better yet, the colour is called Kryptonite, which appeals to the child in all of us. The remainder of the exterior can be specified in three monochrome shades – Perla Nera Black, Pearl White, or Selenium Grey pictured here.

Kryptonite highlights show up in the front air intakes, on the decorative C-pillar panel and the brake calipers. The interior, meanwhile, is lavishly decked out with more highlights plus Kryptonite stitching.

Other visual improvements include that bold front apron plus 20-inch wheels.

What’s under the bonnet?

The 1.6-litre PureTech petrol engine makes an appearance here, as it does in the standard 508 PHEV. It’s uprated from 177bhp to 197bhp.

Peugeot 508 Hybrid review

It will be paired with an electric motor on each axle – 109bhp on the front axle and 111bhp on the rear – providing, additional power for maximum performance, the ability to run as a pure electric vehicle for short periods and four-wheel drive for improved traction.

2020 Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered - tracking

Total system output is a not-inconsiderable 355bhp and 384lb ft, making this the most powerful production car Peugeot’s ever made. It’ll manage 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and head onwards to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

Thanks to the electrical trickery, running costs should be very palatable. An official CO2 figure of just 46g/km should keep tax bills low, while in EV mode the 508 Sport Engineered can cover up to 26 miles at speeds of up to 86mph. The combined, albeit meaningless WLTP fuel economy figure is 139mpg.

Charging up the battery pack will take less than seven hours on a domestic socket, Peugeot says, and less than two hours using a 32-amp wall box.

Any other performance additions?

As mentioned, the track has been widened – by 24mm at the front and 12mm at the rear, which should aid stability. At each corner you’ll find 20-inch alloys shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, and stopping power is provided by uprated brakes – 380mm in diameter at the front with four-piston calipers, likely essential if the 508 Sport Engineered is as heavy as most performance hybrid models.

2020 Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered - detail

Peugeot’s fitted adjustable dampers and paired them with five driving modes. Electric prioritises the electric motor – provided there’s charge available. Hybrid mode shuffles the power delivery between engine or electric motor depending on the conditions, while Comfort lightens the steering and softens the dampers.

Sport mode unlocks the full 355bhp on offer as well as firming the suspension and weighting up the steering. It also maps the throttle for greater response and charges up the battery, ensuring maximum power at all times.

There’s also a 4WD mode for slippery conditions.

What’s it like inside?

Peugeot’s lowered the driver’s seat so you’ll feel even more ensconced in the 508’s interior. As always, there’s Peugeot’s i-Cockpit dashboard setup – pairing high-set dials with a shrunken steering wheel.

2020 Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered - interior

There’s no hiding this car’s flagship status with its equipment – it’s loaded to the gunnels with night vision, adaptive cruise with stop-and-go and a premium Focal audio system. Sports seats are upholstered in a mixture of leather, mesh and Alcantara.

Cleverly, the batteries and electric motors are packaged to not encroach on boot or rear seat volumes.

How much and when can I have one?

The current range-topping 508 Hybrid starts at £40,645 for a fastback, so expect the Sport Engineered model to sell for quite a bit more.

The 508 Sport Engineered will arrive in dealserhips in the first half of 2021, and is expected to be followed by future models following the same template.

By Tom Wiltshire

Bauer Automotive staff writer; enjoys Peugeots, naturally-aspirated diesels, column shifts and steel wheels