car tests


March 17, 2022

PSE – the new GTi?

Peugeot has brought many legendary sporty models to the market, but few have been added in recent years. The Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered changes that. Can he turn the tide and is PSE the new GTi? set out by car in search of the answer.

In the long brand history, Peugeot has introduced many sporty models. Some of them have even reached legendary status, such as the Peugeot 205 GTi. In addition to such hot hatchbacks, Peugeot also sometimes offered sports versions of larger middle class cars. The Peugeot 505 GTi for example, or later the Peugeot 405 Mi 16 and T16. In recent years it has been fairly quiet with sporty Peugeot models, but fortunately that has changed.

The Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered

Meet the Peugeot 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered, which we will refer to as 508 PSE from now on. PSE is Peugeot ‘s new sporty label and the 508 is the first model to bear the letters. PSE will only introduce “ plugged cars ” and the 508 is no exception. The Peugeot 508 PSE is a plug-in hybrid.

Peugeot 508 PSE performance

Let’s take a look at the numbers. The basis of the powertrain is a 1.6-litre PureTech petrol engine with an output of 147 kW (200 hp). This drives the front wheels, supported by an electric motor. On the rear axle is another electric motor, which is slightly more powerful and, depending on the driving mode, provides four-wheel drive. The system power is a solid 265 kW (360 hp). This makes it the most powerful production model that Peugeot has ever introduced.

Even more figures: the 100 km/h is reached in just 5.2 seconds and the intermediate sprint from 80 to 120 km/h takes three seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h ‘in the German way’. In that respect, the Peugeot 508 PSE has nothing to be ashamed of.

Consumption Peugeot 508 PSE

Despite this, fuel consumption is still nice and economical thanks to the plug-in hybrid powertrain. In theory, a consumption of 1 in 50 is feasible and the car can drive 42 kilometers fully electrically. Of course, in practice this depends entirely on your driving behavior and how often you charge the battery properly.

Peugeot i-Cockpit

Nice, those numbers, but how does the car drive? We take a seat in the driver’s seat and look out over the Peugeot i-Cockpit. We quickly find an ideal seating position and exactly as Peugeot has conceived it, the counters are neatly placed above the steering wheel. This way you don’t have to take your eyes off the road for too long to read it, while an expensive head-up display is unnecessary. An ideal ‘compromise’ in that regard.

In order not to block the view of the counters, the steering wheel is quite small. In a family car like the Peugeot 5008 , we found such a small steering wheel not ideal, but in the Peugeot 508 PSE it comes into its own. With a little imagination, it’s like taking a seat in a race car. Okay, time to hit the road.

On the road with the Peugeot 508 PSE

The Peugeot 508 PSE has no fewer than five driving modes: Electric, Comfort, Hybrid, Sport and 4WD. The accompanying features speak for themselves: fully electric driving until the power is used up, the most comfortable setting possible, Hybrid is actually the ‘normal’ mode, Sport for maximum performance and 4WD for optimal grip, for example on wet roads. We naturally choose Sports.

In Sport you not only have the maximum power (provided the battery is charged of course, otherwise the electric motors cannot participate), but the rest is also fully geared to sporting performance. The chassis is a bit harder and the steering a bit heavier.

Takes some getting used to, but then…

This control requires some getting used to at first. It feels a bit artificial around the middle position, especially in Sport mode. As if the steering is deliberately made heavier instead of the regular power steering being scaled back. Also, just like with a game steering wheel, that weighting seems to be mainly in the steering column instead of in the steering system in the front.

On the highway and in similar situations, the lighter steering of the other driving modes is therefore preferred. If we look for a nice, winding road, our objections disappear. When it’s time for sporty cornering, the 508 PSE still offers fine steering with (in Sport mode) just the right heaviness. If it gets really twisty, the steering wheel asks quite a lot of revolutions, but you can live with that.

Always ready for action

The car also hangs very nicely on the accelerator. Thanks to the electric motors, the car always reacts directly to your input. If the petrol engine is actually just not in the right gear for an intermediate acceleration, that is no problem at all. We have therefore left the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel in peace. By the time the input from the petrol engine is also required, the automatic transmission has already engaged the correct gear.

The Peugeot 508 PSE doesn’t offer the light-heartedness of old GTi’s and it goes too far to say that the car becomes an extension of yourself. Still, it comes pretty close. With the fast ‘throttle reactions’ and the tight handling, you can really have fun behind the wheel of the Peugeot 508 PSE. The car does have a slightly understeered character, although it may well have been reinforced by the damp conditions in the test week. The weather was unfortunately as gray as the Peugeot, the photo shoot was during one of the few sunny moments.

Sporty sound experience?

One more point of feedback: the sound experience lags slightly behind the performance. The sound of the engine is not bad in itself, but it remains the sound of an ordinary four-cylinder. It may also come to the fore in such a sporty version.

Price and equipment Peugeot 508 PSE

The price tag of the Peugeot 508 PSE is unfortunately firm, because it starts at 70,870 euros . For comparison, the regular plug-in hybrid version (with 165 kW (225 hp)) is available from 42,820 euros. On the other hand, the 508 PSE is standard equipped with almost all options that are available for a 508. The only thing that you can tick extra are the panoramic roof and a more powerful on-board charger.

There is also a choice of three body colors for the PSE: white, black or the non-metallic gray of our test car. That is the color we would choose. It makes the Peugeot 508 PSE extra distinctive compared to the ‘normal’ versions and it also just looks very good on him. Finally, the 508 PSE is not only available as a Berline, but also as a SW.

Is PSE the new GTi?

When we think of the letters ‘GTi’ we mainly think of light-footed cars, with the Peugeot 205 GTi as the highlight. By current standards, even the mentioned 505 and 405 can still be called light-footed. The 508 PSE just isn’t. Still, PSE is the new GTi when you look at positioning. It is actually just Peugeot’s new sports label and the 508 PSE is really capable of sporty performance and fun steering. So we also hope for more PSE versions. A car like the Peugeot (e-)208 actually just asks for it. So, is PSE the new GTi? Yes and no, but in a few years’ time we might say ‘yes’ wholeheartedly.