Peugeot508GTThe elegant Peugeot 508 GT SW estate
In sales we frequently look to the US for inspiration yet we ignore their approach to car buying where badge means much less than product value for money.
If that’s a message you sympathise with, then you can’t afford to ignore the French ‘premium’ car, the Peugeot 508 GT.
Because, here is a motor that takes on the mighty German brands head-to-head and delivers a package that will exceed your expectations of what makes an executive cruiser.
Stylish, in that standout Franco way, the 508 GT boasts a package that makes its £30,275 price tag seem like a real bargain.
That’s because the car comes with so much equipment as standard that it undercuts a similar-sized model from Munich by around £6k!
But before we get to the nitty-gritty, what’s it like to drive? With one of the most powerful 2.2-litre diesel plants in the sector, this big car boats 204 brake horsepower and sprints to 60mph in 8.4 seconds despite a sizeable kerb weight of 1,780kgs largely down to the generous amount of standard kit.
Yet that weight soon evaporates on the move and the generous 331ft-lbs of torque fires the big beast off the line and out of bends like a hot-hatch. Yet, fuel efficiency improvements means your service station visits will kept to a minimum thanks to a real-world economy of more than 40mpg in both city and fast motorway driving thanks in large part to a sector leading coefficient of drag of just 0.27 for the SW estate SI tested.
The chassis, too, is very capable at taking B-road corners at speed with good feel through the weighted steering and its drop-link dual wishbone front axle to enhance dynamic driving.
Yet this car is mostly about style, comfort and elegance and sheer quality and that’s evident in every area of the cabin, which oozes class and top-flight build standards. And, for the eco conscious, 85% of the car is recyclable and 95% totally biodegradable.
Naturally, for a big car you would expect a high degree of storage capacity and the SW comes with a generous 660-litres of luggage space swelling to a huge 1,865-litres with the passenger seats folded down. This could have been even more practical if the seats folded completely flat but this is a common failing on many new estate models.
And now it’s time to consider the 508 GT’s real USP, a standard equipment package that dwarfs that of most of its direct competitors. A special mention here goes to the superb in-car entertainment and communications suite, which allows once only setup full Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones including all your stored music files.
Other kit includes auto wipers, headlights and, especially useful for dark winter nights in the country lanes, auto-dip lamps that spot oncoming traffic to dip the headlights without the driver’s intervention. Full leather Nappa upholstery, 18-inch allow wheels, colour heads-up information display, sat-nav, auto stop/start, parking assist, keyless entry, electric and heated front seats and auto parking brake and hill assist are just some of the other standard features on the 508 GT.
Style, quality and sheer street presence seldom comes in such an affordable package and it would take a real brand victim not to include the 508 GT on his or her next company car list.
Engine: 2.2-litre HDi
Top Speed: 138mph
Bi ’Eck the Astra’s a little charmer!
Good things come in small packages and there’s an increasingly good argument to consider one of the more compact top-of-the-rangers rather than a full-blown executive car as your next company mule.
And that’s particularly true of the superb new Vauxhall Astra BiTurbo 2.0 CDTi 16v hatchback. Of course, spending just over £24k on a standard compact may seem hard to understand but only until you get to drive it.
Because, not only does this pocket-rocket breach the 60mph in just 7.8 seconds, it’s an oil-burner and is expected to return a claimed 55mpg of diesel in combined driving and a tax efficient C02 rating of just 134g/kms.
That said, on the test drive through the Manchester suburbs that I tried it on, I saw the urban figure of 45mpg as the standard norm, albeit with the occasional stab of the throttle to enjoy the car’s lively pick-up.
While being compact, the car drives and handles like a much bigger machine and drivers of executive craft will not be sacrificing anything in comfort and stability with the BiTurbo. Of course, with the lowered sports suspension, the ride is more sports than tour but then this is a sporting hatch!
Quality, too, is top notch and the list of standard equipment impressive boasting six airbags, air-com, CD, MP3 and auxiliary in-put sound system, 18-inch alloys and internal ambient lighting.
Overall, the Astra BiTurbo is a cracking little car that delivers big on fun and refinement.
Engine: 2.0-litre CDTi
Top Speed: 141mph
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