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Lion's pride: Peugeot 508 PSE vs BMW and Volvo rivals


This is less of a problem for the Volvo, which keeps the extra weight of the battery between the axles, the cells running up the spine of the car in the transmission tunnel.

Even so, the ever so slightly stolid Volvo proves to be the least dynamic here. Those keep-fit dampers do a great job of controlling vertical movements when hustling hard, but the light steering is aloof and slow, the V60 proving lazier and vaguer in its actions. It’s not that the Volvo isn’t capable or grippy, just that it’s rather one-dimensional in its delivery and, in stark contrast to its rivals, offers few rewards when you push harder.

So it’s the wooden spoon for the Volvo, but that’s probably too harsh a verdict because the stylish and sybaritic (jarring ride aside) Swede is still a quick and capable fast family wagon. Given the price, the fancy dampers and the Polestar expertise, we would expect more of the V60, but in the end it simply lacks dynamic sparkle, or a solid sense of what it’s attempting to be.

Separating the BMW and Peugeot is harder. On paper, the less costly and more instantly engaging 3 Series makes the most sense, although in Peugeot-matching spec as tested it was a similar £55,000. In an increasingly electrified world it’s a smart choice, feeling little different from its more traditional siblings.

However, 2030 is a little way off yet, and unless you’re a company car user, there are equally talented, traditionally powered Touring alternatives that cost quite a bit less.

The thick end off £55,000 is a big ask for a Peugeot, even a very attractive one. Yet there’s something beguiling about the PSE, and its chassis in particular, that makes it difficult to resist. It’s not without flaws, but it’s a plug-in with personality and also represents a welcome and long-awaited return of the truly desirable fast Peugeot. Vive la difference, as they say in France.

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