► CAR lives with Peugeot’s hybrid sports car
► New 508 Sport Engineered on our fleet
► The new PHEV promises a lot – does it deliver?
This should be interesting. I remain a big fan of the recently departed 308 GTI hot hatch produced by Peugeot Sport, and I’ve also been impressed by the current 508. My new long-term test car basically rolls the two together – it’s a 508 produced by Peugeot Sport – and adds in a plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain. While I’ve tested EVs and plug-ins previously, I’ve never run one long-term.
Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered is the official mouthful, and it’s history’s most powerful Peugeot production car with 355bhp and 384lb ft. The chassis gets wider tracks front and rear, and a more focused suspension tune, plus there are 20-inch alloys wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres and 380mm brake discs with four-piston calipers at the front, so there’s plenty of driver-focused kit.
But plug-in hybrid tech means this high-performance car can officially run for 26 miles and hit up to 86mph with no exhaust emissions (though it won’t do both simultaneously), as well as return 138.9mpg and 46g/km CO2, meaning just £10 for the first year’s road tax.
The 508 PSE combines a 1.6-litre 197bhp petrol four-cylinder engine with a 108bhp electric motor on the front axle, and a 111bhp electric motor driving the rear axle for part-time all-wheel drive (as is usual, the combined peak is less than all the power sources simply added together). There’s an eight-speed auto gearbox, and the electric motors are juiced by an 11.8kWh lithium-ion battery.
You can get a saloon or the SW estate we’re running, which looks pleasingly sleek and has the same 530 litres of boot space as the non-hybrid car. The price is a punchy £55,795, but standard kit is strong with a 10-inch touchscreen, Focal audio, nappa and alcantara trim, and our car’s attractive Selinium Grey paint. There are no options on our test car, and very few available.
A plug-in suits me better than a full EV currently – I live in the rural East Midlands and do a lot of small trips interspersed with much longer runs. But I’m also suspicious that plug-in hybrids are better at reducing company car driver benefit-in-kind taxes (13 per cent for this car) than the actual CO2 emissions they purport to tackle, and I’m intrigued to see if the good work done by the battery on short trips might be undone by lugging the extra weight around when it’s depleted on longer trips. Open mind and all that, though, and I hope to be proved wrong.
By Ben Barry
Logbook: Peugeot 508 SW Sport Engineered
Performance 1598cc four-cylinder, twin e-motors, 355bhp, 5.2sec 0-62mph, 155mph
Efficiency 138.9mpg (official), n/a mpg (tested), 46g/km CO2
Energy cost n/a p per mile
Miles this month 0
Total miles 3762