TEST – As a preview, Le Figaro has slipped behind the wheel of pre-production models of the next Peugeot 308. A conclusive experience.

It is a sign that does not deceive. AT?? The test of the street, around Mulhouse, where it will be produced and where the first test of development prototypes led us, the new 308 arouses enthusiastic reactions. It must be said that Peugeot has given itself the means to achieve its ambitions, greatly modifying the group’s EMP2 platform to approximate the morphology of the German references in the segment.

Plunging nose, long hood, like that of sports cars, windshield more inclined and drawn back by 100 mm, elongated silhouette of 110 mm including 55 mm at the level of the wheelbase, lower roof of 20 mm and marked shoulder: the new compact Franche-Comté sedan unapologetically invites itself into the big leagues, that of the German premium players.

Under exacerbated features that have an air of already-seen and an hypertrophied grille which inaugurates the new emblem of the brand, still in the effigy of the lion, the 308 gains in presence and Elegance. On this last point, the SW station wagon version that we have already been able to discover raises the debate even more. We can never regret enough that these lines, which have reached a beautiful maturity, do not express themselves through the silhouette of a coupe. The low volumes would no longer justify the investment.

While waiting for its arrival in dealerships, next October, the 308 makes a strong impression on the road and some motorists do not hesitate to let us pass to observe the stern and the light signature. Original, this one is based on three oblique red lines designed as so many claws. As at Ferrari, which has represented, for sixty years, a source of inspiration for Peugeot design, the GT versions are even entitled to the lion’s head badge on the front fenders. . AT?? On arrival, the designers’ work is compensated by an aerodynamic Cx of 0.28, in line with the 308’s mission to carry the bulk of the reduction efforts. ???? carbon footprint of the French brands of the Stellantis group.

Not content to show off the brand’s new logo, the 308 inaugurates a new two-part dashboard. The sight of the cockpit immediately evokes the standing of the best Germans and the efforts that Peugeot says it has made to match the benchmarks do indeed seem to be paying off. Signature of the brand, the small flat flywheel is still present and it is combined with digital instrumentation resting on a 10-inch panel. It is customizable and switches to 3D with the two highest finishes (GT and GT Pack). Once again, the dated typography tempers the modernism of the facilities.

In the center, the standard 10-inch touchscreen is oriented towards the driver and positioned lower than the instrument cluster so that it is within easy reach. It appears to float in the dashboard, creating bevelled areas that complicate the whole. Navigation in the screen appears simplified thanks to the presence of customizable shortcut keys. Likewise, pressing three fingers on the screen brings up the application wall. Plenty of storage has been fitted and, with the models fitted with the 8-speed automatic transmission, there is immense space in the central tunnel.

The driving position can, by the play of the settings, be lower than on the previous model, but certain gauges will be obliged to modify their usual settings. The instrumentation will be obscured if the seat is adjusted in the low position and the steering wheel in the high position. Roominess progresses naturally, especially in the rear, but the trunk volume decreases slightly to 412 liters due to the lowering of the engine line. roof. On the equipment side, the 308 is full of electronic driving aids technologies. It can quickly become overwhelming.

For this first test, Peugeot has reserved a complete program for us. We’re starting with the 225 hp plug-in hybrid version, a first for the 308. Ã ?? Like the 508 Hybrid, it combines the 180 hp 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine with a 110 hp electric machine. First observation: the energy exchanges are perfectly transparent and the bursts of the regenerative braking have been almost annihilated. By its performance and its electric autonomy of nearly 60 km which allows it to be approved for 27 g of CO2 (1.2 l / 100 km), the 225 hp establishes the Reference of the range. But it will be necessary to adapt to a high weight (1,633 kg) and a volume of trunk amputated from the double bottom (51 liters) in order to tidy up the heart. mode 2 charging cable supplied as standard. As an option it will be possible to access the 7.4 kW charger.

We were also thrilled with a test loop behind the wheel of the 130 hp petrol version. Descending from the plug-in hybrid, it feels like driving a very light and a little more agile car. Pleasant to handle, the six-speed manual gearbox suffers from a long staging however. The increase in multiplication serves consumption, announced at 5.5 l / 100 km. Either way, the 308 has shifted the focus towards comfort, without sacrificing efficiency. The suspension is more careful, sometimes at the cost of amplified body movements on a bumpy road.

Confused, could Peugeot have found the martingale? Building on the 2008 and 3008 SUVs, after an exciting first contact, the new 308 sedan appears well-equipped to shake up the German market benchmarks.

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Ref: https://www.lefigaro.fr