Peugeot's CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato says "If you drive this car, you'll buy it". Quite a claim. The hardware certainly looks promising here. There's a proper multi-link rear suspension set-up and a strong crop of engines from which buyers can choose. The previous generation 508 was launched here with an all-diesel line-up, but a lot's changed since then and today, a car in this class needs strong petrol provision too - which it gets in this case courtesy of a couple of 1.6-litre turbo petrol units, developing either 179bhp or 221bhp. There's also a 129bhp 1.5-litre diesel and 161bhp and 174bhp 2.0 diesels. Only the 1.5 diesel gets a six-speed manual gearbox; the others must be ordered with an eight-speed automatic. For the future, Peugeot's promising part-electrification, but that's apparently some way off.
At the wheel, you're positioned in front of a further improved version of Peugeot's i-Cockpit dashboard layout, which as usual, sees you looking over the rim of the steering wheel at the instrument dials, rather than conventionally through it. And as usual, the leather-stitched tiller in question is a small, grippy thing which gives you the illusion of greater interaction with the car. Or maybe it won't be an illusion. Higher-spec models are fitted out with adaptive damping. And all variants get the usual drive modes system, which adapts steering, throttle and gear change timings to the way you want to drive.