Despite the 508 PSE being a performance model, the quality and usability of the interior feel crucial to rival traditional luxury brands such as Audi and BMW. Getting into it for the first time impresses: the cockpit is cosseting in the way one expects from higher-end cars, and the mix of leather and Alcantara, plus the layout, lends it a top-quality air.
At first glance, it feels, if not on a par with those brands, very, very close. The touchscreen also looks good; only time will tell whether that equates to a positive user experience.
It’s instantly intuitive to drive, with quick, accurate steering and unintimidating performance. It feels, in the first few miles, like an easy-to-live-with executive car with a bit of added va-va-voom and the benefit of electric-only range.
So far, I’m afraid my suburban living might tamper with how usable that electric range is, due to the charging network (or lack of), but while it will doubtless feature in these upcoming reports, it’s certainly not an issue specific to this PHEV.
The 508 PSE is a bold move for Peugeot. It’s exciting for us car fans to see a brand push forward with performance models when so many are shying away, but it also seems risky, especially when it pins itself against well-regarded rivals, such as the Volvo S60 T8 Polestar Engineered. The time on our fleet will allow us to consider how the PSE brand can fit into both everyday life and Peugeot’s future vision.