Peugeot 508 1.6 THP 156
Saturday 16 July 2011
Top speed: 126mph
0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
Best for: Returning former Peugeot fans
Also worth considering? Citroën C5, Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia
With the arguable exception of Mercedes, Peugeot has the oldest and simplest system of model designations in the motor industry. This is how it has worked for more than 80 years. The first of three digits gives a rough indication of the size of a car – a one or a two at the beginning means a small car, five or six means a big one – while the final digit indicates model generation changes; the 305 was the direct replacement for the 304, for example. The middle digit is always a zero, or at least it was until a system of double zeroes was introduced for people carriers, such as the 3008, and 4x4s.
Not all of the number combinations get used. There was no 501, 502 or 503, for example, but Peugeot more than made up for that with the wonderful 504, introduced in 1968 and produced in the millions in saloon, estate, pick-up, coupé and convertible forms. Its unusual trapezoidal headlamps gave it a distinctive face that influenced the Peugeot look for the next 30 years. The 505 enjoyed similar popularity.
But Peugeot never made a 506 or a 507 to follow up on that success. Now the company has put that right with the introduction of the new 508 – the five tells us it's a big car, while the eight tells us it's a member of Peugeot's latest generation of models. But things have changed since Peugeot's Famous Fives ruled the roads, so despite its size, the 508 is offered mainly with small engines.
Don't worry, though, they're up to the job; the 1.6-litre THP petrol engine, for example, turns out 156 horsepower, which is only a little less than than the most powerful 505, fitted with a 2.9-litre V6, had in the Nineties.
The 508's space, comfort and dynamic qualities live up to the high standard set by its illustrious predecessors, and it's a handsome machine as well.
Little touches suggest that Peugeot has reconnected with some of the things that made it great in the past. Some, such as the tail-lights recalling those of the 504 Coupé, are superficial, while others are more fundamental; the fastest 2.2-litre diesel version has a different front suspension system to other 508s, an echo of the four different rear suspension layouts used in various versions of the 504, when Peugeot's near-legendary reputation for ride and handling was at its height.
Five, zero and eight may add up to unlucky 13 – but, for Peugeot, I think they spell success.
Life & Style blogs
Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
$375 'peasant dress' enrages the internet
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 1 Kylie Jenner challenge: Bizarre lip suction device inspired by Kardashian sister goes viral
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 4 Bruce Forsyth backs assisted dying campaign: 'If I had Alzheimer's or dementia I would do something about it'
- 5 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...