Peugeot shows off 508 saloon and estate

Peugeot has released more photographs of its new large 508 saloon and estate. The design of the new car, which will be shown in the metal for the first time at the forthcoming Paris Mondiale d'Automobile, was foreshadowed by the SR1 and "5 by Peugeot" design studies seen at other recent motor shows.

Peugeot has only recently revived the "5" line of badges for its passenger cars with the 5008 seven-seat people-carrier, and there hasn't been a mainstream "5" saloon since the 505 was discontinued without a direct successor in 1993, a few years after the launch of the 405 and 605. That was a curious decision given the enormous popularity of the 505 and the 504 before it – a bit like BMW abandoning the 3-Series and relying on the top end of the 1-Series range and the cheaper versions of the 5-Series to fill the gap.

Peugeot may be hoping that the 508 will help it to recover some of the cachet it enjoyed when the 504 and 505 were at their height. The French company's apparently sure-fire recipe for success in those days was to make its own dampers – often considered the secret behind Peugeots' fine ride and handling – and get the Italian design house Pininfarina to do the styling.

Since the glory days of hot models like the Peugeot 205, though, Peugeot has been going through a bit of a thin patch with stodgy designs such as the 307, although the 5008 and RCZ coupé have recently provided some very welcome evidence of a return to form, a trend which the 508's clean lines appear to continue – the real test, though, as ever, will be how the new car behaves on the road.

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