Peugeot has unveiled an exciting, hybrid-powered performance version of the 508.
But sadly there are no guarantees it is coming here.
Price could be the problem.
At present the most expensive model Peugeot sells in Australia is the current 1.6-litre 508 Sportwagon priced from $59,490 before on-road costs.
The top of the line, diesel-powered 5008 GT SUV comes a close second at $58,990, again before on-roads.
The new 508 Sport Engineered, launched this week in France, would cost that and more, with Tesla-like performance and and the additional expense of a hybrid powertrain.
Essentially, it’s powered by the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit as the current model, but with the addition of two 80kW electric motors, mounted front and back, providing all-wheel drive and delivering a 0-100km/h time of just 5.2 seconds.
It begs the question, however, just how much are Aussies prepared to pay for a Peugeot and how many would they sell at the price.
That folks, is called the business case.
There comes a tipping point where prospective buyers will drop off in favour of more fancied brands, perhaps Lexus or Volvo?
To put this in perspective, so far this year Peugeot has sold about 1400 cars in Australia, 630 of them the 3008 SUV — 508 has accounted for just 129 sales.
Peugeot sales are down almost 15 per cent across the board.
Apart from plugging the virtual launch of the Peugeot Sport Engineered, Peugeot Australia is not saying much.
It has however revealed it is looking only at the Fastback version of the car and probably in a single specification level.
“Peugeot Australia is actively exploring local viability but is currently unconfirmed at this stage,” spokesman Daniel Khan said.
The launch of the 508 Sport also also marks the introduction of the company’s new performance division, Peugeot Sport Engineered.
And it heralds a return to the World Endurance Championship in the Le Mans Hypercar category from 2022.
Peugeot Sport Engineered, we’re told, represents a new type of “responsible performance” — a new way of thinking, building electrified machines with the power to create new sensations and driving experiences.
The signature of this new family, three Kryptonite claws, draws inspiration from the brand’s heritage with rear lights inspired by the 504 Coupé.
“Peugeot is paving the way for a new era in which the kilowatt is king, providing unprecedented power and torque for Peugeot’s production vehicles.
“Peugeot is guided by its heritage, passion and expertise, with a team of engineers and test drivers continually learning to master new technologies and conquer new territories.”
508 Sport comes as a Fastback and Sportwagon and is the most powerful production car ever built by the company.
The powertrain produces 265kW of power and 520Nm of torque, with the ability to deliver almost instantaneous acceleration.
The dash from 0-100km/h takes a claimed 5.2 seconds, 80-120km/h in 3.0 seconds and it has an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
Peugeot has dubbed this “Neo” performance because it is able to achieve new, high levels of performance while using just 2.03L/100km of fuel and generating just 46g/km of CO2 (WLTP).
A plug-in hybrid, the 508 Sport can be recharged in less than seven hours using a standard power point, or in less than two hours with a 7kW wall box.
Electric: 100 per cent electric power up to 140km/h with a range of 42km
Comfort: Hybrid mode with softer suspension settings for “high comfort” driving
Hybrid: Automatically switches between petrol or electric power depending on the circumstances for optimised fuel efficiency
Sport: Delivers maximum power of 265kW for ultimate performance. In Sport mode, the interface incorporates a digital engine sound system, amplifying the exhaust note. It also changes steering, suspension and accelerator pedal mapping. The petrol engine ensures the battery is charged for maximum power at all times
4WD: Provides maximum traction for slippery conditions