High-performance sedans used to be a thing in the early '90s. Do you remember the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 and Subaru Legacy RS? Sadly, there isn't a significant market for hot performance executive sedans these days.
Despite that, manufacturers are still giving it a shot, and the latest one is Peugeot. They just released their latest sports sedan, the 508 Peugeot Sport Engineered, also known as the 508 PSE. Not only is it a high-performance sedan, but it's a sports plug-in hybrid, too.
One look at the stats, you could say it's impressive. According to Peugeot, their green performance sedan does the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in just 5.2 seconds. The top speed is governed at 250 km/h. It may be slower off the line than cars like the BMW M340i xDrive and Mercedes-AMG C43, but the electric motors help propel the 508 PSE from 80 to 120 km/h in just three seconds. That makes this French saloon faster than the Germans. Did we mention the 508 PSE is also available as a station wagon?
So, how does it deliver that performance? The 508 PSE uses a 1.6-liter turbo engine that makes 200 PS and 300 Nm of torque. Those figures already sound good, but a pair of electric motors dials up the performance even higher. The motor at the front makes 81 kW, while the one at the back puts out 83 kW. With the engine and electric drive system working together, the 508 PSE puts out 360 PS and 520 Nm of torque.
Keeping the 508 PSE on the road is its all-wheel-drive system. The gas engine sends power to the front and the rear electric motor charge up the back wheels. There are several chassis upgrades to go along with it, too. It has adaptive suspension with three modes, a wider track at the front and rear, massive brakes on each corner, and a set of 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires.
But here's what's interesting about the 508 PSE. Despite having 360 PS and acceleration figures that can give sports cars a scare, Peugeot claims it's frugal on fuel. According to the manufacturer, this sedan can get up to 49 kilometers per liter. Not only that, but the automaker also says it can go as far as 42 kilometers on electric power.
The odds of the 508 PSE landing here are slim. We don't even get the standard 508 here, so we're not counting on the PSE's local debut. Still, it's good to see manufacturers adding a dose of adrenaline to their executive sedans. Peugeot doing this to the 508 is like Honda making an Accord Type R, or Toyota building a GR Camry. On second thought, maybe Toyota and Honda should to that to their mid-sized sedans.
The launch of the 508 PSE also coincided with the 210th anniversary of the Peugeot brand; a company that started out making all kinds of other great products (which they still do) before even making the change to drive.