Peugeot is preparing its new 508 – the family car to replace the 407 and 607 next year. Although the name is not yet confirmed, we hear that the Peugeot 508 badge is most likely at its 2011 launch and the company pledges it will inject some interest and a clear proposition into a model line-up that’s been wayward ever since the elegant 406 ceased production.
Peugeot, which celebrates its bicentenary this year, recently launched a rebranding exercise to put more clear water between it and sister brand Citroën. Expect future Peugeots to be more distinctive in design and to rediscover their dynamic zest to Citroën’s comfort bias.
If the 508 achieves this, then we’ll know that it’s not just hot air emanating from Paris. Let’s hope they get this one right.
Peugeot 508: project codename W23
According to secret W23 paperwork seen by our sources in France, the saloon 508 arrives first, followed later in 2011 by the SW estate version. There had been a plan for a separate 607 semi-premium exec, but that was sensibly scrapped by new management at PSA.
Jean-Marc Gales, Peugeot’s newly appointed chief executive, admits today’s 407 and 607 fall between a rock and a hard place. ‘Today’s 407 doesn’t have sufficient rear space – the next one will,’ he promised.
Instead of flogging a dead horse with another 607, Peugeot will offer a high-spec 508 with big wheels, a high-performance engine and luxurious interior. Gales said: ‘This will bring customers to our brand with minimal risk.’
Peugeot 508: the design story
This new Mondeo rival was conceived under the watch of Jérôme Gallix, the short-lived Peugeot design chief who was summarily ousted by Jean-Pierre Ploué (now design overlord of both PSA brands). As such, the 508 risks being a halfway house between old Peugeot and the new breed.
The newcomer is 4730mm long, according to CAR’s sources, plonking it straight into the heartland of Passat/A4 family car/compact exec territory. Presumably why we've snapped it testing heavily camouflaged alongside the Audi in our spy pictures above. And the style? Word is that it’s 407-familiar, but pepped up with a few of the design flourishes seen on the recent SR1 concept car.
So expect a smaller, more recessed grille and bodywork characterised by new styling lines – the SR1’s party trick is scooped away metwalwork, sculpted to take away mass and bulk. Which can only be a good thing; recent Peugeots have felt heavy and stodgy and a change of wardrobe is a good way to address this.
Another Peugeot hybrid
The new Peugeot 508 will be the latest in a line of Peugeots to feature the HYbrid4 system due in 2011. We hear that means a diesel-electric powertrain, stop-start and the enticing promise of 200bhp and 110g/km of CO2.
The hybrid will be positioned near the top of the 508 range, but conventional power will naturally provide the bulk of sales. Popular diesel models will span 110bhp, 150bhp, 170bhp and – in V6 turbodiesel guise – 240bhp outputs, but big petrol engines will be pared back. We hear only 1.8- and 2.0-litre unleaded versions are planned.
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