When I met Peugeot design director Gilles Vidal at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, I immediately became a fan. He looked genuinely stylish, and he spoke (and moved) like he truly knew what he was doing. There was an undeniable air of aesthetic flair about him, and this visibly translated to his creations (chief of which was the all-new 3008 crossover at the time).
Less than a year and a half later, I see this—the second-generation 508 midsize sedan. Which only cements my impressions of the French automaker’s design boss.
Not to sound biased just because I personally met the guy who signed off on this car’s styling, but the new 508 strikes me as quite possibly the most attractive and sportiest-looking executive sedan anywhere in the world right now. Park the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata next to it and this 508 will blow them out of the water. Even the Mazda 6—previously my favorite car in this class in terms of exterior design—might appear tired beside the Peugeot.
Largely responsible for the more athletic and snazzier stance is the thoughtful alteration of the car’s physical dimensions. For one, the new model is a full 6cm lower than its predecessor. For another, it is 8cm shorter from bumper to bumper, giving it a semblance of compactness and tautness.
Inside, the 508 is even more impressive. The brand’s so-called i-Cockpit layout is even more refined here, with elements lifted directly from the Exalt concept car from 2014. These include the compact steering wheel, the 10-inch high-definition capacitive touchscreen display, and the heads-up display with a 12.3-inch digital screen. I particularly dig the elegant automatic shifter—it’s nothing like I’ve seen in any luxury vehicle before.
The all-new 508 has a pair of new gasoline engines (PureTech 180 S&S EAT8 and PureTech 225 S&S EAT8) and four diesel options (BlueHDi 130 S&S 6MT, BlueHDi 130 S&S EAT8, BlueHDi 160 S&S EAT8 and BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT8).
To me, however, the biggest news about this executive sedan is its sharp, head-turning design. Unfortunately, it might take a long while before we get this in our market. Peugeot Philippines so far has a history of belatedly bringing in new products. But when it does arrive, I have a feeling the car will be more than worth the wait.