Jean Todt – the mastermind behind Michael Schumacher’s seven F1 drivers’ titles, seven Ferrari F1 manufacturers titles, four World Rally Championship titles, four Paris-Dakar Rally wins, two Le Mans 24-hour wins … Jean Todt is Mr Motorsport.
Some of you will associate the name with Ferrari, that is perhaps his most widely recognised role, but aside from being a successful rallying co-driver in his own right, or the President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (the FIA – motorsport’s governing body), he is also known for one of his earlier roles – the director of Peugeot (Peugeot Talbot as it was at the time) Sport.
Those rally championship wins? Peugeot. Paris-Dakar? Peugeot. Le Mans? Peugeot. In fact, there was a time that Peugeot dominated virtually every motorsport category that they entered. There’s a bit of motorsport pedigree right there.
It has to be countered that Peugeot did seem to lose their way for a time though, relying too much on the brand rather than the product, but once they recognised the problem, the big Pug engineering machine went to great lengths to put that right, and for quite a few years now, they’ve produced some fantastic vehicles.
In more recent times, it seems that they can’t put a foot wrong – every vehicle rolling off the production line looks fantastic, is well-engineered, and brings Peugeot right back to the top of the motoring charts. None more so than the 508.
Better yet, Peugeot Sport have recently been tasked with upgrading the 508 and 508 SW. The result is impressive.
The 508 and 508 SW PSE (Peugeot Sport Engineered) aren’t just cheap marketing ploys – adding a few badges here and there, a different colour scheme or two; this is almost a remodelled car, right down to the PSE designed graphics for the driver information screens.
And the ‘Sport’ label isn’t just aesthetics either – with 360 horsepower on tap (thanks to the combination of a PureTech 200 petrol engine, and an electric motor on each axle), and 520Nm of torque, acceleration is brisk, particularly in the mid-range: 50 – 75mph happens in just three seconds, and the 0 – 62mph sprint takes just 5.2 seconds, and let’s not forget that there’s four-wheel drive added in the mix either.
Perhaps the most difficult job of all landed at the feet of the stylists though – the 508 (and 508 SW) is one of Peugeot’s greatest designs to date (in our humble opinion), so improving that would be like asking da Vinci to make his greatest work a bit more ‘smiley’.
With that said, the designers at Peugeot Sport managed to pull it off – there’s definitely an air of sportiness, but it hasn’t gone over the top, and this is no race car wannabee: a new all-black grille, a widened track (to accommodate the PSE-specific 20-inch alloy wheels) gives it a ‘powerful and impressive’ posture, and there’s a few minor detailing touches that just add a subtle flair over the standard model.
There’s the usual raft of technology, some of it updated specifically for the PSE model (like the graphics on the driver’s information screen), but for the main part, the 508 (in all variants) is already well equipped.
Still, it’s worth knowing that you get the Pack City 2 (HD cameras positioned at the front and rear to make manoeuvring safe. They allow the front or rear views to be displayed on the touchscreen, as well as the top view showing the vehicle’s 360° environment), along with Night Vision (for optimised driving safety both at night and with reduced visibility, the infra-red camera of the NIGHT VISION system detects the presence of pedestrians or animals in front of the vehicle. The image is displayed in your field of vision on the instrument panel and a warning tone sounds).
There’s also Drive Assist Plus – which features adaptive cruise control technology which automatically adapts the vehicle speed to that of the one in front, to maintain a constant distance. It also includes Advanced Emergency Braking System, Front Collision Warning, Speed Limit Information including Extended Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keeping Assistance, High beam assist, Active Blind Spot Monitoring and Driver Attention Alert.
If you’d like to find out more about the new Peugeot Sport Engineered 508, why not get in touch with one of our friendly professionals, who’ll be happy to tell you everything you want to know.