8 August 2019

Peugeot 508 GT Car Review

Peugeot’s new 508 GT Fastback is certainly a looker, with a silhouette and, we’re told, a few design flourishes to remind fond former 504 owners of what they’re missing.

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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019
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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019
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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019
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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019
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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019
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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019
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Peugeot 508 GT Fastback 2019

Our first impressions are of a car which should cost considerably more than this one. The clue that this is as much a mass market car as any sedan can be in a market dominated by utes and SUVs comes under the bonnet.

At lower or everyday rpm it’s easy to forget this engine is smaller than traditionally associated with GTs. It’s a 1.6-litre turbo four, matched to an eight-speed auto transmission.

And in this iteration, it’s a goody. It appears in other Peugeots, but not tuned to these power levels. In ‘normal’ mode it gets along so acceptably you’ll rarely be reminded of its relatively modest capacity. And assisted by this efficient auto transmission it picks up perceptibly in sport – but it’s there, and at higher speeds, that you are aware there’s been a powerplant compromise, not least when you clock the speed with which thirst accelerates along with speed. We’d stick to ‘normal’ – it’ll suit most buyers, and save you money at the pump. Our average, achieved with very little open-roading and via many changes to engine mode, was considerably higher than the 5.7l/100km claim, though that started to drop quite rapidly when we cruised down the motorway, in ‘normal’ mode, to return the car.

‘Normal’ was also our preference for the suspension. You can change it to Comfort (aka super-plush) or Sport, which does firm it up, but given the overall package is best when driven real-world driving style rather than Formula-1-wannabe, you’ll soon forget Sport exists, though you might still hit ‘boost’ mode on that computer screen, instead of ‘relax’, We’re told that also changes the car dynamics – as well as altering the cabin lighting and instrument look, and the vigour of the seat massager.

Seat massager? Yep, and there are five different modes. Our fave was wave, and it was almost permanently set during our drive time.

And that’s just one example of the ‘cut above’ provisions this car is packed with. The wipers incorporate the windscreen jets – think Mercedes. The front seat’s range of electrically powered adjustment almost guarantees comfort. The wide array of safety systems include a Lane Keep function which doesn’t just keep you between the white lines, it holds you in the same position in relation to them as you were when you set it. It will select a suitable park and steer into it automatically, turn cornering lights on when turns are tight, and boasts a 10-speaker sound system.

And there’s that Night Vision, a cost option designed to spot pedestrians well outside the range of your headlights. Our tester tried it, but in winter conditions round a semi rural home, not a single night-time pedestrian was out and about when needed.

With families moving almost en masse to SUVs, distributors selling conventional passenger vehicles need to work a bit harder to make them more attractive, to lure in those buyers seeking something more.

So Peugeot NZ imports just one 508 variant, this GT, and loads it with spec – there are very few cost options. Four of them were fitted to this car – the Ultimate Red paint ($750), the night vision ($3500), the opening sunroof ($2500) and the leather seats ($3000). That took this $55,990 car up to $65,740… Given the standard seats still get heating and massaging, you might want to think twice about spending the extra. We’d check it out in standard black or blue, drop the other additions, and enjoy the value this car then delivers.

If you want to carry child seats in the back you may need to confirm they’ll get through the rear doors, given the swooping roofline associated with the ‘fastback’ moniker.  

Those who want a genuinely blood-pumping pulse-racing GT or sports car will be disappointed with this car, as it’s not blisteringly quick (i.e. it’s not at its best if you drive like a hooligan). But if you’re seeking style, fit and finish which looks and feels a cut above, which has modern tech oozing from every crevice, and yet is a comfy and capable everyday driver – a sprightly sheep in wolf’s clothing, if you like – this could be you.

Being a Peugeot it has Euro cachet yet sidesteps all the preconceptions about German brands, and equally sidesteps many of the quirks which have compromised past French ones.

It competes against the likes of the imminent Mazda6 Takami and the Euro-sourced Holden Commodore, and arguably hurls a more affordable gauntlet at entry-level cars in the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-class stables.

Peugeot is a niche brand here these days – it’ll be interesting to see if the 508 GT can reach enough potential buyers at this price point to make its mark.

At a glance


Peugeot 508 GT


1.6-litre petrol


From $55,990 ($65,740 as tested) 

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

169kW at 5500rpm and 300Nm at 2500rpm


Eight-speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity

1600kg braked


2WD front

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

487 litres (1537 litres with rear seats folded)

Safety systems

  • Advanced lane departure warning
  • Front Collision Warning
  • Active Blind Spot Detection
  • Front and rear park sensors, reversing camera and Park Assist
  • Night vision assist (option)
  • Highway Assist, adaptive Cruise with stop/go traffic function
  • Advanced Driver Attention Alert
  • Trailer stability control
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