Here’s the new Peugeot 508 in full, now officially released after a low res set of images emerged online. It’s a fantastic looking big sedan, for this writer at least, and Peugeot is calling it “the radical saloon”. The French carmaker is aiming high with this one.

“Following the success of our latest major launches and our SUV offensive with the 2008, 3008 and 5008, we needed a vision for the large Peugeot saloon that would continue to shake up the market with a vehicle that rivals the best. And in D-segment cars, we’re competing with the world’s greatest automakers. More than ever, the new 508 embodies the ambition we’ve been stating for several years already – to make Peugeot the top high-end generalist automotive brand,” declared CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato.

The D-segment sedan isn’t a very hot one now, no thanks to everyone buying SUVs, and Peugeot acknowledges this. It was against this backdrop that the designers stated their clear aim: to move away from the conventional booted four-door shape and towards a five-door “fastback coupe-saloon”. The new 508’s design is inspired by recent Peugeot concepts such as the Exalt and Instinct. The i-Cockpit seen here is taken directly from the Exalt concept.

A handsome car starts with good proportions, and the new 508 is shorter (4.75m vs 4.83m) and lower than before (just below 1.4m vs 1.46m). The 2.79m wheelbase is shorter by 2.4cm, which means that most of the reduction went into the overhangs. Wheels are from 16 to 19 inches.

The aggressive front end features LED headlamps, distinctive vertical LED DRLs that frame the face and Peugeot’s latest grille with chrome chequerboard motif. A unique element is the 508 badge on the bonnet, above the lion logo, as seen on the 504 from the 1970s. Peugeot says that the horizontal bonnet has been lowered as much as possible.

Adding to the car’s sleekness are frameless doors and the deletion of the roof aerial (now silk-screened). The 508’s fine behind sports 3D LED tail lamps in the marque’s signature claw motif, framed in a glossy black horizontal strip.

There’s also a nicely hidden tailgate. Yes, there’s a tailgate in place of a regular saloon boot, which means access to the 487 litre boot (1,537 litres max) is easy. The 508 is technically a five-door then, which explains the frequent mentions of the Audi A5 Sportback in the press release.

Inside, the new 508 features the latest version of the Peugeot i-Cockpit, which consists of a compact steering wheel, a 10-inch capacitive touch-screen in 8:3 format, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel that Peugeot calls head-up display. The HUD has six different display modes and a new Night Vision system.

The latter uses an infra-red camera and detects living beings in front of the vehicle at night time or in low-visibility conditions. The system ensures detection within a 200-250m range, beyond the headlights’ scope.

The new 508 also offers i-Cockpit Amplify. With the choice of two completely customisable ambiences – Boost and Relax – it involves sight (ambient lighting intensity and screen colour), hearing (musical ambience settings), and touch (via multi-point seat-massage programmes). The i-Cockpit Amplify feature also controls the car’s driving performance (driving-mode selector has ECO, Sport, Comfort, Normal modes) and suspension, if the car is equipped with active damping.

Interior highlights include seats with the AGR (Aktion für Gesunder Rücken) label and optional eight-pocket pneumatic massage system with five massage programmes, a wide-opening panoramic sunroof and a Focal sound system. Full-grain or Nappa leather, Alcantara and real wood are among the trim options.

Space wise, the A5 Sportback is again the benchmark. Front and rear headroom is comparable to Audi’s, but there’s 5 cm more front elbowroom and 3 cm more rear legroom, although both cars share the same overall length, Peugeot says.

The 508 sits on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, which translates to weight savings (70 kg less on average) and better fuel efficiency, safety and performance.

Also introduced are a new body-welding technique (structural adhesives provide greater rigidity and durability), a damper front cradle, a multi-link rear axle linked to active damping (standard on GT and all petrol engines), recalibrated electric steering, and a new eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

For engines, the big Pug will be offered with new-generation Euro 6.c PureTech and Blue HDi engines (with extended SCR technology) for best-in-class CO2 emission levels. The engines take into account new technical provisions and the WLTP procedure, which is more real-world than traditional lab tests.

There are two petrol 1.6L PureTech engines to replace the Prince/THP units of old – the PureTech 180 and the PureTech 225 for the range-topping GT. The four diesel options are based on the 1.5L and 2.0L BlueHDi engines. They are the base BlueHDi 130 six-speed manual, BlueHDi 130, BlueHDi 160 and BlueHDi 180.

All the engines have auto stop-start and are paired to the EAT8 eight-speed automatic, except for the base diesel MT. Peugeot says that a plug-in hybrid petrol drivetrain is in the works and will be available for the 508 in late 2019.

The French-made 508 will make its debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next month and will go on sale from September this year.