In-depth reviews

Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid performance, top speed & engine

Its weight hampers outright performance, but the 508 SW Hybrid drives well and has composed handling

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, engine & drive rating

3.5 out of 5

0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
8.3s155mphFront222bhp

The 508 SW Hybrid is an enjoyable car to drive, much like other cars in the range. For some, the driving environment will take some getting used to – Peugeot’s use of a high-set instrument cluster and small, low-set wheel works better for some than it does others, but the 508 at least lets you sit low and there’s quite a sporty feel, although not at the expense of comfort. A high degree of power assistance compensates for the diminutive size of the steering wheel.

Like the saloon, you can choose how you want to drive the SW Hybrid, thanks to different driving modes. You can prioritise efficiency or performance, hold the car’s electric capacity for when it’s needed (if you know you’ll be driving into a city centre later, for instance), or drive the car in pure-electric mode for 33-39 miles. Naturally, it’s at its smoothest and quietest like this, and still has an 84mph top speed in this mode.

Peugeot 508 SW Hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The combined efforts of engine and motor draw decent performance from the SW body, pulling it from rest to 62mph in 8.3 seconds and running into an electronic limiter at 155mph. A 300kg weight penalty means some of its stablemates are quicker, but with 222bhp on offer from the combined efforts of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol and an electric motor, it’s still brisk through the gears. The eight-speed automatic gearbox itself isn’t the smoothest on the market but does the job, and the electric motor’s assistance means it picks up quickly even at low revs.

Handling

The SW Hybrid drives very similarly to its fastback counterpart. Ride quality is smooth, there’s good grip in corners and the handling is predictable and confidence-inspiring, with that small steering wheel making more sense on the move. It encourages you to take a darty, go-kart like approach to twisty roads, but the suspension can't always keep up with rapid changes of direction.

With a fair amount of weight to lug around, the big Peugeot is not exactly a sports car, but then that’s not really what the car is about. More relevant is its comfortable long-distance capabilities, easygoing nature in town and confidence-inspiring grip on more demanding roads.

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