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Let's not beat about the bush, Peugeot is going to have its work cut out selling a non-premium brand saloon car into such an image-obsessed sector.
Sales of these type of cars have been hit hard thanks to the increasing popularity of SUVs, not to mention the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes offering premium badges for mainstream prices.
Many manufacturers have actually abandoned the sector altogether, but Peugeot isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet, deciding instead to reinvent its 508.
Peugeot is hoping that design might hold the key to success and has pretty much smashed it with the 508's dramatic, swoopy fastback silhouette and striking interior appointment.
Standout exterior details include frameless doors that help shave height off the roofline, full LED headlights and vertical opalescent LED daytime running lights, which look a bit like tears, or fangs, depending on your interpretation (or mood).
The interior, especially of the Allure model we drove, is also night and day different from its rather dowdy predecessor. On all trims, you get sophisticated-looking and solid-feeling piano keys to change heating, navigation and what you're listening to, and these are supplemented by rafts of tech-heavy visual touchscreen menus.
Also standard is Peugeot's rather odd driving position. The tiny sporty steering wheel may feel great and it's populated by logically laid out control buttons; however, you do need to position it very low down in your lap to see over it and, even then, it is difficult to see all the instruments.
Allure models represent the best value, and interior quality is very decent. All the plastics and trim in your eyeline look appealing and feel suitably squidgy, plus Allure models come with half-leather seats in light and dark colour schemes, and ambient lighting that illuminates all four footwells and the car's various cubbies, which are dotted around the cabin.
The latest iteration of Peugeot's i-Cockpit dashboard includes a digital instrument cluster and a 10in central touchscreen featuring sat-nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone technology. There are also four USB sockets in the car: two in the front and two in the rear.
One of the 508's closest rivals - one which Peugeot is proud to compete against - is the Volkswagen Arteon, which we are running in our long-term fleet at granitekitchen.
Although Peugeot is pushing for German quality and claims the 508 is a genuine competitor in this field, the truth is it's not quite there yet. That said, credit where it is due, it has seriously stepped up the quality of this car, just as it has with its 3008 and 5008 brothers.
Of course, style usually takes its toll on substance and the 508's swooping roofline does impact on headspace. Tall passengers will struggle in the front and back, and legroom in the rear isn't the best, either. At 487 litres, boot space is more in line with an Audi A5 Sportback than a leviathan like the Ford Mondeo.
On the road, the Peugeot is not quite as well resolved as many of its German rivals, especially in terms of ride quality, which is annoyingly fidgety around town. However, it is very quick to respond in corners and the dinky steering wheel helps you to feel like you are driving it Lewis Hamilton-style.
The 1.6-litre BlueHDi 180hp engine sounds sporty, accelerates quickly and is easily capable of maintaining a decent lick on twisting B-roads.
There's also a choice of two 1.6-litre Puretech petrol engines with 180hp and 220hp, while the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel generates 130hp. There are also two 2.0-litre diesel options with 160hp and 180hp. All engines come attached to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, except for the 1.5-litre diesel, which gets a six-speed manual but even this can be upgraded to the auto.
While the current focus for the French manufacturer is primarily on getting diesel CO2 figures as low as possible, by 2020, Peugeot also plans a hybrid version of the 508, which apparently will be able to cover up to 30 miles on electric power only.
There's no doubt the 508 is a serious improvement on its predecessor and while still not on a par with quality German rivals, if Peugeot get its pricing and specification right, it might just be in with a fighting chance.
Peugeot 508 2.0 180hp Allure
P11D £29,040 Est.
On sale August 2018
Fuel consumption TBC
CO2 (BIK band) 118g/km (28%)
BIK 20/40% a month £140/£280
Boot space487 litres
Engine size/power 1,598cc/181hp
Small sporty steering wheel, fun to drive, seriously improved interior.
Low ceiling, not much legroom in the rear, questionable ergonomics.